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Fundraising Lie #4: “I can move on from fundraising.”

July 23, 2012

Fundraising is a huge challenge for every church planter.  This is part 4 of a 4-part series about different lies we tell ourselves when it comes to fundraising. (Read part 1 here.  Read part 2 here.  Read part 3 here.)

LIE #4: I can move on from fundraising.

Middle school boys are some of the most unique creatures on earth.  They stink, they look and talk funny, they are insecure, and do they ever need Jesus!  I personally refer to middle school ministry as “purgatory,” where you must pay for your sins.

My youth minister used to say that to keep the attention of teenage boys you just had to talk about 2 things: sex or bodily functions.  If you talked about either of those things you’d keep a teenage boy’s attention forever; leave those topics and lose his attention.

And it was in middle school that the fart joke became funny.  By “the fart joke” I mean, “anything at all related to, sounding like, or smelling like a gas leaving your body.”  Pretended someone had farted, making fart noises, using a whoopee cushion, and anything related to farting was hilarious in middle school.

But in high school some of the jokes got old, so I thought, “I need to move on from this fart humor; that’s middle school stuff.”  But when I went to college, you know what was always funny—or at least so stupid that it became funny?  Fart humor.  When I was out of college you know what my buddies and I thought was funny?  Fart humor.

I know I’m grossing all the ladies out, so for all the females let me pull you in on a little secret: all males think farts are funny for the entire lives.  They never “move on” from this.  I’m convinced that when me and my buddies are in the nursing home someone will let one rip and we’ll all crack up.

And fundraising is just like fart jokes.

Yes, I did just type that sentence.

I did not like fundraising.  God blessed our efforts so that we were very successful at it, but it’s not something I cherished doing.  So once we had completed the fundraising for our church plant I breathed a big sigh of relief and thanked God that was over.

Boy was I wrong.  Because then I wanted to hire more staff….more fundraising.

Then I wanted to buy a cool portable baptistry…more fundraising.

Then I wanted our church to move into a permanent facility from our movie theatre…more fundraising.

Then I wanted us to have a live webcast that wasn’t in the budget…more fundraising.

In retrospect this seems perfectly clear that fundraising would be a never-ending job.  And although the common wisdom says to keep fundraising, the common practice is to do it, complete it, and stop it.  The contrarian church planter knows that fundraising is ongoing.

I got 2 letters last month asking for funds for new churches.  The first explained why they needed the funds: several supporters had dropped off, their offerings were low, and so they needed more money.  They did add that they’ve baptized several dozen people in the last year.

The second later told success story after success story, and it had actual names and stories listed.  So as I read that letter it wasn’t a “give to us or we’re out of business” kind of appeal. It was more of them wanting me to relate to and know the people they were ministering to.  What motivates me to give isn’t the need or a blanket statement of success; it’s a story.

So every month we send our supporters a letter that tells the story of 1 person they’ve impacted.  It puts a name and puts emotion with where their dollars are going.  And over and over they tell us the stories are why they keep giving.

How have you learned to continually, creatively fundraise?

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