Several years ago Pflugerville Community Church, a small, middle-class church of 300 members, raised $25,000 in a single Christmas Eve offering. They ended up raising enough to build a home in the Colonias along the Texas-Mexico Border.
The southern border of Texas runs 1,248 miles across and is lined with neighborhoods called “Colonias.” These communities resemble a third world country. According to the Secretary of State of Texas, there are more then 2,294 Colonias.
The residents who occupy these Colonias construct their homes little by little, and, due to the level of poverty, can often take decades to complete. Buckner International, a local organization in the Rio Grande Valley, had a vision to provide hope for the residents through a Family Hope Center.
Through this organization, families can earn points towards a new home by taking classes and learning different skills. Once a family can earn enough points for a three-bedroom home valued at $25,000, Buckner International does the rest by collecting donations and assembling a team of volunteers to start the build.
The ability for residents to earn a home and have a local resource in the Family Hope Center is what ignited a passion in a small, middle-class church in Pflugerville, Texas.
Most leaders dread raising money. Many have been through hundreds of fundraisers yielding disappointing results. It’s not that fundraising is bad, it’s a matter of how can we maximize giving, while maximizing our impact. Raising large amounts of money isn’t always about the size of the church or the wealth of the community; it’s often about the audacity of the leadership. Audacious leaders do the following when raising money:
Find The Right Cause
The key component to finding the right cause is saying no. Most causes are great and life changing, but not all causes fit the vision and direction of your specific organization. Don’t spread your organization thin by being a financial partner for a multitude of ministries; rather consolidate your vision to make a greater impact. It is important to remember that your church or ministry doesn’t have to do it all. God speaks different visions into different faith communities. We are all part of the Body of Christ. Do the function that you were created to do.
Cast A Clear Vision
Make sure your people know why they are giving and where they are giving. Making the why stick is the hardest part. Why should someone write a large check to one specific need over another? “Because you told me so,” is not going to be good enough reason when it comes to large audacious requests. Create a video, invite the organization to communicate to your people directly and always follow-up after the project is done. Share stories and personal testimonies. The “follow-up” sets you up for future success in casting a clear vision.
Take A Risk
Consolidating the ministries you financially give to and ridding your organization of unnecessary fundraisers will leave one option: Take a risk. Building projects, new ministry initiatives, and a multitude of other pressing needs in each church exist; however, pressing the pause button on many of those issues and taking a huge leap of faith can yield great impact for and through your organization.
Whether you’re the leader of a mega church or a small rural church. You will have members with different interests. I would keep the door open for those individuals to serve and give to those organizations, as they feel led. As the leader, you want to consolidate the organizations your ministry gives to. This is done effectively by finding the right causes, casting a clear vision, and taking a risk.
Asking people for money can be one of the hardest things leaders do. When God gives you a mission, though, you must move forward with it. I want to encourage you to push through the discomfort and allow God to prove faithful to you through His people.