Raising financial support can mess with your head.
Yes, it can feel a little…naked. Yes, it can be awkward and revealing and exhausting.
But would you believe us if we said it’s actually a tremendous gift–and not just to you?
When I was trained in raising financial support–which we’ve been on for sixteen years, in which time we’ve added four kids to our posse–there was a passage that stuck with me. Someone pointed out the story of a widow in 1 Kings 17.
You’ve probably heard it, about this woman in famine who’s going to go home and use her last flour, her last oil, to make some bread for her and her son. Then they’re going to go home, she says, and die.
Sometimes I wonder about Elijah’s manners–but he actually asks the widow, a stranger, to first make a cake for him, then make one for her and her son. He makes her an odd promise that ends up coming true: Keep making cakes for both of us. The bread and the oil won’t run out until the famine’s over.
Get this: God uses the widow’s support of Elijah to keep her alive in famine.
Is Money the Goal in Raising financial support?
To be clear, do not use Elijah’s technique word-for-word in raising financial support (if you know people dying of hunger, perhaps take some Chik-fil-A or a Hungry Man dinner rather than your support-raising binder?).
I don’t know that “bake me bread and you’ll never run out of flour as long as I’m overseas” is the exact takeaway. But don’t miss this: Your fundraising ain’t just about you.
Over and over in the Bible, we see this theme of givers being blessed. God wants to do something in both sides of things in the journey that takes you overseas. Weird questions and fears will bubble to the surface as this process stirs them up.
Because the goal of raising financial support? It’s far from just money.
Maybe you’re just dipping your big toe in this frigid support-raising water to see if the goosebumps involved in raising support could, as you suspect, drive you away, arms pinwheeling.
Or maybe your knuckles are grazing the ground after duking it out for this dream of going overseas–which you were pretty durn sure was from God, but now is feeling kind of hazy and hard.
Flipping Over the Rocks
Imagine yourself before a bed of river rock. Beneath it, someone’s placed red swipes of paint totaling the monthly amounts you’ll need to finally go overseas; to do this vital work so many people need (remember Paul’s vision [Acts 16:9] of the Macedonian crying out to come help them?).
All you have to do is to turn over the rocks to find the right paint strokes you need. Some of the big rocks you’ve counted on yield nothing. Other small rocks feature much larger marks than you could have ever anticipated. Some are clustered together. Some are spaced out, and you’re turning over 23 blank rocks in between those that spread a smile on your face.
Getting the drift? God knows exactly where your funding will come from. Um, assuming you’re not being socially awkward, your rejections aren’t really about you as much as they’re God getting the right people on your team.
Raising Financial support: The Articles
These articles may not make this path easy. But they may make it easier–and eliminate some of the pitfalls.
First, don’t miss Go. Serve. Love’s own posts on raising financial support:
- He Said/She Said. You Say? “Is there any way other than begging for financial support?“
- The Fix: What Might Be Broken in Your Fundraising
- “Is Support-Raising More Efficient if I Present to a Large Group?”
- Raising Support: 2 Commandments of Sharing Budget Needs
External Articles on Raising Financial Support
- Fully Funding Your Ministry: 5 Keys to Personal Support Raising (FREE ebook!)
- Global Frontier Missions on Raising Financial Support
- Some of Cru’s thoughts on myths–and truths–about fundraising
- 5 Smart Ways Missionaries Can Raise and Increase Financial Support
- From InterVarsity: The Biblical Basis for Raising Support
- From YWAM: How to Increase Your Support Income
- FAQ’s on raising financial support from The Impact Movement
And we love this one from OMF: An Introvert’s Guide to Support Raising. (We know you’re out there.)
Entire Sites on Raising Financial Support
Fundraising coach Jenn Fortner provides this amazing infographic with 22 Expert Tips on Fundraising Straight From Missionary Geniuses. But check out her entire site (on “fundraising made relational”). It’s stuffed with practical tips like
SupportRaisingSolutions.org also offers a wealth of encouragement and wisdom, whether you feel really new…or really worn out. They’ve got posts like
- Six Pillars to an Effective Presentation and
- basic articles on getting started helping demystify this process and help you get a great start, minimizing discouragement.
What Not to Do in Raising Financial Support
You knew this part would be coming too, right? How might you be self-sabotaging (and without a clue you’re doing it)?
- 9 Common Mistakes in Raising Support
- 11 Ways to Sabotage Missionary Support Raising
But hey: Do not let fear get the last word.
Like the Israelites going into the Promised Land, if God’s got you going overseas, he also has the means.
He knows what financial “territory” he’s earmarked as yours, but you must go and take it.
You must be strong and courageous and not depart from God’s commands. And you’ve gotta trust he’ll do his part so you step off that 757 at just the right time.