The Ultimate Fundraising Power Tool

The Ultimate Fundraising Power Tool

I was reading a home improvement magazine recently and noticed an article, “Ten Basic Tools for Every Homeowner.” What do you have in that special drawer in the kitchen to help you do-it-yourself? First, you must have a hammer; not that a hammer will fix every problem, but sometimes it just feels good to pound on something that’s not working.

Don’t forget screwdrivers, pliers, an adjustable wrench, and a tape measure. If you’re going to hang your art piece, it helps to have a nifty electronic sensor to find the studs in the wall. A utility knife is another essential tool that will either solve your problem or make a bigger one.

I was somewhat disappointed not to find any power tools listed in the article. Maybe it’s my go-to, but I feel like they at least should have included a cordless drill for installing face plates on electrical outlets.

While you might be able to take care of all your minor household repairs with a few hand tools, when it comes to raising money for your organization, there is one ultimate fundraising power tool that you must have:


This solicitation power tool effectively tells your story to a potential donor. Here are 8 key elements to consider when writing your first fundraising power tool:

(1) The gift proposal must be professional but doesn’t need to be fancy. Colorful printed and digital brochures can be compelling, but they don’t raise money; they educate.

(2) Tell your ministry story — where you have been, where you are, and where you are going.

(3) Be optimistic, easy to remember, and brief.

(4) Communicate clearly what the donor’s investment will accomplish.

(5) Include information that will reach your donor’s mind and touch your donor’s heart.

(6) Share a story of how your ministry has met a need.

(7) Express a sense of urgency to complete the project.

(8) Describe your project and outline a simple budget for each phase of the campaign.


An effective way of communicating the range and size of gifts you need is to include a suggested “Stewardship Profile.” Showing the summary budget and scale of gifts quickly conveys the scope and needs of your project. Major donors will scan your list to identify how they might be involved.

Here is an example:


Purchase Land   $1,500,000
Building addition   6,000,000
New Program   1,000,000
Annual Fund for 3 years   1,500,000
Total   10,000,000


Proposed Scale of Gifts for the Campaign

Giving Units   Gift Amount   Total
1   $1,000,000   $1,000,000
2   750,000   1,500,000
3   500,000   1,500,000
6   250,000   1,500,000
15   100,000   1,500,000
20   50,000   1,000,000
40   25,000   1,000,000
40   10,000   400,000
60   5,000   300,000
80   2,500   200,000
100   1,000   100,000
Numerous other gifts …        
Total       $10,000,000


The final tool in an effective gift proposal is the call to action. Ask your donors to help your ministry in 4 ways:

(1) “Would you pray for the success of our campaign?” As a ministry leader, you understand the necessity of prayer. Enlist your donors for their prayer support.

(2) “Would you consider a generous, sacrificial gift to this project?” Ask this question to get them thinking how they might get involved, but come back and expand upon it, after you ask the next questions.

(3) “Would you consider volunteering your time as a ‘friend-raiser’ by introducing your friends to our ministry?” Some of your greatest opportunities could come by networking with your current donors. Remember: proposals don’t raise money, people do.

(4) “Would you consider remembering our ministry in your estate plans?” Be gracious but ask boldly. You do not have bequests because you do not ask.

The last page of your leadership proposal has one purpose — to request a specific amount for the campaign.

Ask them, “Based on the need presented and your appreciation of our ministry, would you prayerfully consider a gift of $1,000,000?” Ask for a specific amount. Major donors anticipate an “ask.” They want to know what you want.

The leadership proposal is the ultimate fundraising power tool that will help you focus your conversation on why you are meeting with the donor in the first place — to ask for their financial support. If you add this power tool to your fundraising toolbox, you will become a master craftsman as you build your ministry.


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.


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