22 Nov Overcoming Fundraising F.U.D.
“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” (Ephesians 6:19-20)
Fundraising has a lot in common with evangelism. Christ died for us while we were still sinners and offers eternal forgiveness to all who repent and believe. Your fundraising message pales in comparison to the good news but both evangelism and fundraising require a willing person to share a wonderful story with someone and invite them to respond. An evangelist asks if a person would like to trust Christ; a fundraiser asks if a person would prayerfully consider a generous gift. Both need courage to overcome Fundraising F.U.D. —Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.
Even the Apostle Paul struggled with the fear of sharing the Gospel. He asked the Ephesian believers to pray he would “fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel” (v.19), “and declare it fearlessly” (v. 20). He had plenty of reasons to fear—multiple times he was imprisoned, beaten, and chased out of town (see 2 Cor. 11:23-27). Yet, he overcame his fear. As fundraisers, our anxieties seem trivial compared to Paul’s trials, but our hearts still may race when we ask for a gift. We fear we might damage our friendship, offend our donors, or mess up the gift opportunity. However, your only risk is your donor might say “no.”
Paul desired, “whenever I speak, words may be given me.” In our evangelism efforts we want to say just the right words the Spirit will use to prompt a response. Your fundraising prayer is the same. Ask the Spirit to help you “know what to say and how to say it” (see Matt. 10:19-20). Uncertainty kicks in when we worry a donor might ask something we can’t answer. Script your pitch and practice your responses to potential questions. Preparation will boost your confidence. Speak about your mission with passion and conviction so everyone who hears will believe.
Paul adds an interesting phrase to his prayer request, “as I should” (v. 20). Paul knew beyond a doubt he was called to preach the good news of forgiveness of sins (see Acts 26:16-18). But he still had to remind himself of his responsibilities. Perhaps you don’t think fundraising is your responsibility. You may question whether asking is biblical. Maybe you don’t think face-to-face solicitation works or are skeptical your donors will respond positively. Whatever your doubts, they will freeze you to inaction if you give into your fears. Paul’s solution to his fear, uncertainty, and doubt was prayer and action.
Think about this: Henry Nouwen asks, “Are we willing to be converted from our fear of asking, our anxiety about being rejected or feeling humiliated, our depression when someone says, ‘No, I’m not going to get involved in your project’? When we have gained the freedom to ask without fear, to love fundraising as a form of ministry, then fundraising will be good for our spiritual life.”
Response: Father, forgive me for my fears, uncertainties, and doubts. Help me focus on your strengths, not my weaknesses.
A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri J. M. Nouwen
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.