20 Nov Overcoming the F.U.D. Factor
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 is like evangelism. The gospel is the greatest story ever told. Christ died for us while we were still sinners and offers eternal forgiveness to all who repent. Your fundraising message pales in comparison, but the foundation for all aspects of your ministry spring from the good news of the gospel. Both evangelism and fundraising require a willing person to share a wonderful story with someone else and ask if that person would like to respond.
Asking is the primary similarity. An evangelist asks if a person would like to trust Christ; a fundraiser asks if a person would prayerfully consider a gift. Both the evangelist and the fundraiser must overcome the F.U.D. Factor—Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.
Fear. Even the Apostle Paul struggled with the fear of sharing the Gospel. He asked the Ephesian believers to pray that 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, flogged, whipped, beaten, and stoned (see 2 Cor. 11:23-27). Yet, he persevered. As fundraisers, we have it easy in comparison, but our hearts race when asking for a gift. Our greatest fear is personal rejection.
Uncertainty. Paul desired that “whenever I speak, words may be given me.” In your evangelism efforts you also desire to speak just the right words the Spirit can use to prompt a response. Your fundraising prayer is the same. You need the Spirit’s help to “know what to say and how to say it” (Matt. 10:19-20). F.U.D. kicks in when we worry that a donor might ask a question that we can’t answer. Asking is risky. Some people might respond negatively. Many ministry leaders don’t want to face the uncertainties of asking so they avoid it at all costs.
Doubt. Paul adds an interesting phrase to his prayer request, “as I should” (v. 20). Paul knew beyond a doubt that 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 doubt that your job includes fundraising. Or perhaps you doubt that asking is biblical, or that face-to-face solicitation is the right strategy, or that your donors will respond positively. Whatever your doubts, they will freeze you to inaction if you give in to your fears.
Paul’s solution to his fear, uncertainty, and doubt was prayer. And not just his prayers, he solicited likeminded friends to join him in prayer. Who can you recruit this week to pray that you will overcome your F.U.D. about asking your ministry partners for generous gifts?
Response: Father, forgive me for my fears, uncertainties, and doubts. Help me focus on your strengths, not my weaknesses.
Think about this: If fundraising is like evangelism. Imagine how joyful you will be when your donor says, “Yes!”
Have a Spirit-led fundraising week,
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 two books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising and Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for At the Center magazine and Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.