Training Fundraising Volunteers

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).

Paul encouraged the Philippian believers to follow his example. Yes, he taught them through his writing and preaching, but his best sermon was his life. Learning fundraising is similar. You can read great books, watch helpful videos, and attend inspiring workshops, but the best training happens in the field talking with donors. Some people catch fundraising immediately, but most require some coaching. If you are responsible for training your staff or volunteers, consider this 5-step approach:

 1. I do. You watch. We talk. Fundraising training is like evangelism training. You can memorize all the verses and know how to lead someone to Christ but watching someone else share the Gospel lights a fire in your heart. Take your staff and volunteers with you on donor calls. Show them what you say and how you say it. Debrief after each donor visit to hear their impressions.

2. I do. You help. We talk. The next step is to include your staff member or volunteer in the donor conversation. Perhaps they can share part of the ministry story or their testimony of why they got involved in your mission. As the lead, you can guide the conversation and make the ask. Debrief and ask what they would have done differently.

3. You do. I help. We talk. Now things get interesting. Your team member takes the lead while you assist. They can walk the donor through a gift proposal and even make the ask. You are there to keep the conversation on track and ask for the gift, if needed. Debrief and share your observations for improvement.

4. You do. I watch. We talk. You’ve almost passed the baton. On this call your team member again takes the lead in the conversation. Before the meeting map out the conversation to determine outcomes and anticipate any problems. You are there to encourage and pray. Debrief. Encourage your team member and give them guidance as they step out on their own.

5. You do. Someone else watches. This is the final stage. Assign someone else to accompany your staff member or volunteer on a donor visit. It helps to have another perspective as you continue to evaluate your team members’ effectiveness. At this point, your staff and volunteers should be equipped to effectively share your mission and vision and boldly ask for a gift.

Fundraising training isn’t “one and done.” There is always something new to learn. Keep encouraging your team. Keep praying. Keep asking.

Response: Father, thank you for my staff and volunteers. I pray for your wisdom to train each one to successfully engage our donors and boldly ask for financial support.

Think About This: Fundraising is caught, not taught. If you’re not personally raising money, it’s tough to motivate others. Help your team members get a quick win to build their confidence and enthusiasm.

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.

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