Support-raising 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 to raise financial support–which we’ve been on for fourteen 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 dies.
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?
To be clear, do not use this technique word-for-word in your support raising. 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 while you’re raising support. Weird questions and fears will bubble to the surface as this process stirs them up. Because the goal? It’s far from just money.
Maybe you’re just dipping your big toe in the 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 standing before a landscaping bed of river rock. Beneath it, someone’s placed checks 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 checks you need.
Getting the drift? God knows exactly where your funding will come from. Your rejections (assuming you’re not being a jerk?) aren’t really about you as much as they’re God getting the right people on your team.
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.
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 post, He Said/She Said. You Say? “Is there any way other than begging for financial support?” And make sure you circle on back for Friday’s post, The Fix: What Might Be Broken in Your Fundraising.
What Not to Do When Raising Financial Support, from SaturatetheWorld.com
Fundraising coach Jenn Fortner provides this amazing infographic with 22 Expert Tips on Fundraising Straight From Missionary Geniuses. But check out her entire site, stuffed with practical tips like
- 9 Common Mistakes in Raising Support
- Fantastic resources for support raising
- Quick Tips for the Appointment, Part I and Part II
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, which can really demystify this process and help you get a great start, minimizing discouragement.