Thoughts from a serial fundraiser: When is it ok to ask for money?

The first time I ever stood in front of a group or an individual and asked for money, I felt ashamed.  I felt as if I was begging someone to do something they shouldn’t have to do.  I felt like a panhandler.

In 2006, I asked my family and friends to give so that I could start a church.  I felt ashamed, but something crazy happened–> we started a church!

In 2010, I asked my family and friends to give money to start another church.  This might have been a silly thing to ask, after all, they had already given me money to start a church.  Only this time it was different.  I felt as if God had put a vision of a church on my heart that needed to be started.  So I asked and people gave.  And our church has led hundreds of people to Jesus in America and Peru.  We’ve seen God do great things because people give.

Each year I ask people to give towards the vision of our church and towards me personally as I go on mission trips.  I’ve learned the secret to fundraising is to have something that is truly worth giving to.  Instead of just asking for money, I now understand that I am really asking people to join me on a journey.

Fundraising is an opportunity. When someone gives towards a mission trip, they are going on a mission with me.  When someone gives towards the vision of our church, they are building the church with us.  God has given some people a spiritual gift for generosity.  They have money and love using it to further God’s vision.  If I don’t invite them to give with me or come on this journey with me, then they’ll never be able to do what God has called them to do.  And if they aren’t called to give, then I should respect and accept that too.

I’m not sure there has been one worthwhile ministry endeavor that I have accomplished in which someone didn’t join in with me financially.  We win together.  I succeed only when people join in my journey and vice versa.

So here is the short answer:

Never ask people for money, always invite people on a mission!

Many people are called to give to different things, but I’ll never be ashamed again to invite people to give towards something I am passionate about and I’ll never get offended if someone asks me to give to something that they are passionate about.  The only thing that truly offends me when people ask me to give towards something that they aren’t willing to give towards; something that they aren’t passionate about.  That is truly a shame.

For me, I am so thankful for the many people that have invested in God’s mission by investing in me!

 

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