I get the opportunity to work with a lot of faith-based organizations. I love helping them get excited about raising money and showing them that others in the Bible did too.
But I'm amazed by a persistent cop-out so common among Christian causes, I'm adding it to my "Fundraising Myths" category.
The cop out is: this ministry is so important, God will fund it. Or more to the point:
If we build it, God will fund it
It sounds wonderful and faith filled, doesn't it? And there's even Scripture about God supplying our every need to back it up. But listen to this fundraising education from Paul in Chapter 9 from his 2nd letter to the Corinthians:
So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
As it is written:
“They have scattered abroad their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
In another place, I talk about this being a letter to encouraged a lapsed pledge. Today, look at the agricultural metaphor Paul uses: sowing and reaping.
Sowing and reaping takes work
A farmer can't just create a field and then say, "We're trusting God to bring in the harvest." While I'm sure he prays for God's provision, the farmer still needs to
- prepare the field for seed,
- sow the seed,
- tend to the seed (weed, fertilize, etc)
- then harvest it at the right time (which maybe different depending on what is being grown)
Farming takes work. So does funding your ministry.
You need to research your cause and your prospects, engage them and get to know them, and you have to ask them for money. Even after that, you have to tend to the relationship by expressing your love and gratitude, showing donors you see them as whole people, not mere ATMs.
I'd encourage you that if God called you to the ministry you're doing, or to the minisitry you are on the board of, then He's called and equipped you to fund it too.
We're His hands and feet
Don't worry, many others have done it before you. I wrote and article on stories of fundraising in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. It's also now a 6-day reading plan at YouVersion.com.
People need the work that you're doing. And that work deserves to be funded. But funding takes work too. Working for funding is a crucial part of your ministry. And like so much of ministry, God is pleased to do it through us.
Yes it takes prayer, belief, and trust in God's provision. But it takes focused hard work too.