You must know your mission!
Knowing Who You are as a Ministry
It is essential to match the values of the individual donor with the values of your organization. What values of the donor are consistent with the values and the mission of the ministry? The donor’s values shouldn’t shape the mission of the ministry, of course — but donors do want a strong connection between their values and yours. Make clear not just the practical parameters of your project, but the values that drive your project.
On the other hand, you must also make clear the practical parameters of the project. It helps a donor to have a sense of the tangible. To clarify the practicalities of the project, including as many specifics as possible regarding the timetable, the budget, etc., makes it easier for a donor to understand the need. And it creates a proper sense of ownership in the mind of the donor. It inspires his partnership, through his prayers and his giving.
We also recommend you include the normal fundraising administration costs as part of the overall project costs. Be forthcoming with donors about fundraising costs.
What does development success depend on? A number of principles, but perhaps most importantly a certain three.
#1. First and foremost, following the call of God. What has God called you to do? What is your organization’s mission? Your entire team — including the “development people” — must share a passion for that mission. You need a team of people with one heart.
#2. It’s also crucial that your ministry be committed to operating on biblical principles: integrity, fairness, paying bills on time, and a refusal to over-extend credit in the name of doing more for God. The finances are available to do all that God is calling you to do as you work in accordance with these principles of Scripture. (It’s wise, too, to establish a public image of moderation without sacrificing quality — rather than the extreme of either lavishness or poverty.)
#3. Third, it’s important to properly understand the development process, which includes investing enough capital in people, in training, to succeed, and then committing to the process so it has time to work.
These three fundamentals sound simple enough, yet in many ministries we find that only the first — responding to the call of God to some specific service or ministry in His name — is alive and well.
* Like what you just read and want to learn more? Check out, More Than Money: The Truth About High-Capacity Givers.