The Four C’s of Communicating Your Support Needs

March 2, 2011

Missionaries, support raising

The effectiveness of ministry partner discovery (MPD) will make or break a ministry.  Don’t let poor fund-raising be an ominous shadow over the ministry God has called you to.

When I was in banking, I hated talking with customers about insufficient funds charges.  Returning their checks because there was not enough money in their checking account was an embarrassment to the customer.

Missionaries with insufficient funds cannot continue their ministries.  I’ve been there and done that.  I had not been the best fundraiser, but we made it for 14 years, until economic crisis and a lack of vision exposed my fragile fund-raising foundation.  I too was embarrassed.

That’s why I’ve come up with the four C’s of mentioning support needs:

clear, concise, comprehensive, and call to action.

Clear

Clear communication is essential to effective MPD.  Tell the world what your vision is, what the Lord has called you to.  Be simple.  Don’t say too much, rather say just enough.

Concise

Like with this blog post, keep your presentation concise.  Give the facts.   Only tell them what is essential but use a story or an illustration from your life or ministry to keep it interesting.

Comprehensive

The presentation of your ministry needs to be comprehensive.  Concise does not mean shallow.  People will partner with ministries who show over a period of time that they know what they are doing.

I was always amazed that people I had known for years began to support us after five or ten years of our ministry.  I think they must have had doubts about us in the beginning, but they saw something good in our ministry or our presentation of it year after year that finally encouraged them to jump on board.

Keep it short but tell them where they can find more information*.  Have a portfolio, a website, a blog, a brochure where they can find the details.  You’ve taken the time to envision, strategize, and begin to implement a fantastic ministry.  Now take the time and effort to communicate it effectively.

Call to Action

Give your friends a call to action to support you.  Some ministries fall short by simply sharing – take the next step of asking.

Whatever your personality or philosophy of MPD is, people need to know what is that you are asking them to do.  James told people in need “you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2).  You can give a hard ask or a soft ask, but whatever you do – ask.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Will you support our church-planting ministry to the Gypsies of Macedonia?
  • Is your church interested in supporting our ministry?
  • We desperately need your prayers – will you pray for us?
  • Can I send you more information about our ministry?
  • When you go to my website you will see the history of the Gypsies trek from India, learn about the political tensions of Macedonia’s declaration of independence from Yugoslavia, and find all the details on supporting our ministry.  What else do you need from me or would you find helpful?

Similarly, what is the one very next thing that you want the person to do next?

  • send in a check
  • go to a website
  • contact Finance
  • pray
  • talk with his or her spouse about partnering with you
  • make a phone call to a friend who would be interested in your ministry

In all of your materials and in every presentation, make it obvious what you want them to do NEXT.  Don’t leave it ambiguous or hanging in the air.

Communication that is clear, concise, comprehensive, and that gives a call to action is a vital step in your overall ministry.  Use these four C’s and you’ll have an MPD experience that feels like a sunset feluca ride on the Nile River.

Okay, now I’m getting excited.  I need to begin raising support again so I can implement my own principles!  Happy sailing!

*Click it for my Four Firm Foundations in Fund-raising

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