We’re proud to announce the newest member of our Neon One Certified Partner Integration network – TntWare! Their dynamic DonorHub platform allows ministries and missionaries to manage their stewardship and outreach efforts while bringing in the fundraising data from NeonCRM. Today we’re hearing from TntWare founder Troy Wolbrink about how to overcome fear in making an ask.
Missionaries are by nature people who like to listen to others. We want to hear what people are experiencing and what makes them tick. We revel in quiet conversation. Creating a connection between ourselves and the individual or group of folks who we have come in contact with is what we do best. We want to give a piece of ourselves to them in order to make that connection. This makes the fundraising process a bit tricky to reconcile. Asking for money? Can’t someone else do that?
I wanted to share some tips to help you overcome your own trepidation around asking for gifts. Even if your everyday work isn’t with missionaries and ministries like mine is, these tips will still be helpful!
Overcoming the root of your fear
The core issue with asking for money is the feeling that while our mission is worthy of support, that we aren’t the best vessel for that ask. Surely someone with a professional background in fundraising would be much better than we are.
Yet as Neon One consultant Marc A. Pitman correctly points out, “Fundraising has been around for a very long time. Even biblical heroes like Moses, David, Hezekiah, Nehemiah, Jesus, and Paul asked people to financially support God’s work.”
Doing God’s work doesn’t automatically preclude us from obtaining support for that work from others. In fact, Marc points out several passages that showcase the comfort we should have in receiving gifts in order to spread our mission.
You are worthy of support. Overcoming that primary fear is the first step toward becoming a powerful emissary for your work.
Craft a powerful story
One of the most effective ways to make an ask is to tell a personal story connected to your mission. Being able to write and speak from the heart comes naturally to missionaries, so that talent should extend out to your interactions with donors.
The skills that you’ve internalized around listening to others, establishing empathy, and exposing vulnerability are actually some of the most powerful tools that fundraisers can have. It is okay to tell potential donors that you aren’t a professional fundraiser and that this is a bit scary for you.
So make a connection with the potential donor by telling your story. Articulate why your work speaks to you personally, why it gets you out of bed every morning and drives you. Make the connection between your work and the donor. Give them ways to put themselves in your shoes. Take those connections you make and extend that into making your ask in a natural and meaningful way.
Know your audience
The ability to make an ask is most fueled by personal connections, so telling your own story isn’t enough. Try to learn about the donor themselves. Ask questions about their familiarity with your work. Understand before going into a meeting whether they’ve given before. Most of all, keep in mind key facts about who they are as a person.
Before heading into a meeting or phone call, try to ensure you’ve received the most up to date information about your potential donors from your database. Software like DonorHub is designed for missionaries but can directly interface with a robust donor management system like NeonCRM, but even if you’re using Excel spreadsheets it’s important to ensure your information is up to date.
According to a recent Giving USA report on religious giving, people who are religiously affiliated are more likely to make a charitable donation of any kind, whether to a religious congregation or to another type of charitable organization. Sixty-two percent of religious households give to charity of any kind. Compare that with 46 percent of households with no religious affiliation.
So lean into that statistical probability and feel confident that your ask can be successful. Furthermore, let the same faith that gives you courage to reach the world to help you overcome your fear and ask others to fund your work.