You need money for ministry or business and you have no idea how to start your fundraising. Today, I will share with you three steps that increased my funding by a minimum of 46% in less than three months. The first two months were spent researching and failing, so you can accomplish these three steps in less than a month and see better results.
- Live Your Vision. Too many people focus on the needs and the solution rather than the impact of the vision. Your vision is too small, guaranteed. You need to get some time with God and ask him to clearly define the vision of your ministry or business and how to communicate it. My experience started with a strategic assessment that outlined Aroma’s Vision and Mission. We answered questions like, “If Aroma’s the hero, what’s the villain?” We spent time praying. We came up with a lot of conceptual stuff like “creating spaces where people belong, believe and become.” But we finally ended on the good old mantra: Smell, Become and Spread The Aroma. You have to first cast your vision to yourself. Make sure you are 100% on board with the preferred future you’re trying to see realized.
- Make a Plan. Order the people and organizations that will listen into categories based on geography and inclination. Geography is about location. Inclination is about giving capacity and initial desire to give. An individual can probably give between $20 and $100 per month. A church might be able to sponsor $200 per month. An investor might look to get a return on a $20,000 investment. They all want to have something to believe in. Many people who donate and invest are buying into your vision because of a specific point. It might be the style of ministry you have or it might simply be because they know you. Find out why they’re passionate, and show how you relate to that. Prioritize your plan based on the amount of time you have, dollars you need, and other factors. Find out when individuals are available and when organizations make decisions. Sculpt an outline for a plan based on what you discover through these. I was able to zero in on 10 churches and a little over 30 individuals that would at least consider. I was in a church a week for 12 weeks and had several phone calls during the week. I created materials (prayer cards, email signups, products to give away) that were Aroma and O’Dell branded.
- Land the Plane. Develop stories that communicate the impact you’re making. Good stories share context, action and result. Good stories, like Sticky Ideas, are simple, unexpected, concrete, credible and emotional. Good stories talk about real people. Good stories help the listener to relate. Have at least 10 good stories, but repeatedly share 2-3 so that you get really good at them. Each sharing time should 1) cast your vision, 2) share stories, and 3) land the plane. Landing the plane is the most crucial thing you can do. It’s why the majority of my fundraising success happened in the last two weeks of my fundraising period. Landing the plane is going into each situation with a manageable chunk of your BHAG to unpack and specifically ask. The first few churches I went to heard that we had a need. Most Sunday’s no one signed on board with us. The last church we went to heard that we were looking for 5 people to partner with us for $50 per month. We left that Sunday with commitments from 4 people for $50/m and received an email the next day from the 5th person. That evening, I got on email and Facebook telling people we were within a few hundred dollars of our goal and we had 5 more people sign on. You have to be specific about the amount you ask for and specific in following up. Let them know you’re excited for them to be a full partner and you’ll be in touch by a certain time to see how God’s leading them.
If you will live from vision, make a plan, and land the plane, I promise that you’ll see drastic improvements in the work you’re doing. My final bonus piece of advice is this: Get someone who will walk with you in this. For me, it was Tailored Fundraising. I highly recommend them.
If I had written “4 High Impact Steps to Fundraising Success,” what would the last one be?