Dress for Fundraising Success

“Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. ‘I cannot go in these,’ he said to Saul, ‘because I am not used to them.’ So he took them off.” (1 Samuel 17:38-39)

Are you ready to face your fundraising giants? David wasn’t dressed for the occasion, so Saul outfitted him with his own tunic, coat of armor, helmet, and sword. The gear was too heavy and restricting. David removed it to face Goliath with only a sling and five smooth stones. You know the rest of the story. David’s strategy offers five valuable insights.

Embrace Your Strengths.

Saul’s approach to battle was straightlaced and he expected David to fight the same way. Business coach Dan Miller observes, “I see people hide behind their long resumes, fancy credentials, work history and false sense of entitlement – and then are dismayed when someone comes along with a great smile, little work history but a lot of enthusiasm and grabs the best opportunities.” David didn’t emulate Saul’s military prowess but relied on his own skills. Learn best practices from others but use your unique personality. Don’t fight in someone else’s armor.

Keep it simple.

David’s simple sling and stones proved to be more effective than Saul’s heavy armor. In fundraising, complex campaigns and convoluted messages can overwhelm potential donors. Focus on clear, concise communication to highlight your ministry’s impact. Know your story so well you can share the right message to connect with your individual donor’s interests. The better you communicate your why, the more people will join your cause.

Prepare diligently.

David’s victory wasn’t a fluke. His lion and bear experiences prepared him to fight Goliath mano a mano. Personal face-to-face fundraising is the most effective strategy for every ministry. Learn to identify, cultivate, and solicit your key donors one-on-one. As you practice your asking skills on lions and bears, God will prepare you for your Goliath.

Pray and act courageously.

David didn’t rely on his human efforts but on God. “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty” (1 Sam. 17:45). Fear kept all the Israelites trembling in their sandals and fear keeps many ministry leaders from asking. Fundraising isn’t a fight with your donors; it’s a spiritual battle which can only be won through prayer and courageous faith. Be brave and ask.

Ignore the Naysayers.

Before David could face Goliath, he had to face his skeptical brothers (see 1 Sam. 17:28-29). Others will question your motives and strategy by saying, “We’ve never done it this way before,” or “We should just pray and not ask for gifts.” Be like Tim Tebow, “I can’t control the naysayers. I can control my attitude and work ethic and determination.”

Think About This:
Fundraising is spiritual warfare. Before every donor conversation, put on the armor of light—especially Ephesians 6:18, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”

Father, help me effectively aim for my donors’ heads and hearts.

Ron Haas has served the Lord as a pastor, the vice president of advancement of a Bible college, a Christian foundation director, a board member and a fundraising consultant. He’s authored three books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising, Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving, and Keep on Asking – Bold, Spirit-Led Fundraising. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for  Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.

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