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6 Ways Missionaries Can Raise More Support Beyond Their Church

Updated: May 27

Hand with a heart in it with the copy "6 Ways Missionaries Can Expand Their Fundraising Beyond Their Church"
To raise more support, missionaries must expand their fundraising beyond their sending organization.

When you need to raise more support, changing the world can seem easy compared to missionary fundraising!

Missionaries have visionary dreams of making a difference in the world, but getting the money they need is a challenge.


This often happens when they and the organizations that send them out know little about missionary fundraising. When this happens the missionary's mission and beneficiaries suffer.


The only way to raise more support you need for your mission is to expand your fundraising beyond your home church.

Raising money in your home church where they already know, like, and trust you can happen organically. Expanding your fundraising beyond that requires some know-how and intentional effort.


Here are six ways you can expand your fundraising beyond your church.


1. Be a voice amplifier - Tell Stories

Visionaries serve as amplifiers for marginalized voices. A large part of our visionary journey involves mastering the art of storytelling. This call motivates visionaries to tell stories that amplify their donors’ and beneficiary’s voices. When we tell their stories with integrity they are elevated to our platform where we give them a microphone to ensure their voice is heard. This helps us understand, learn, and see the world through their eyes. 


When we tell their stories, we amplify their voice in the lives of those who normally wouldn’t hear it.


This sounds easy but is actually a little harder to do. Most missionaries talk exclusively about what they need, and what they are called to do. This actually hurts their fundraising.


You will get more attention and money when you stop talking about what you and your organization's need and start talking about what your beneficiaries need. This may sound small, but it is a monumental shift in presentation.


When you have opportunities to share, talk about your beneficiary’s:

  • Wants and desires

  • Needs

  • Frustrations

  • Feelings

  • Struggles

  • Aspirations

  • Fears


It's sad but missionaries have a reputation for giving boring presentations. When you stop talking so much about yourself, your organization, and your work, you change that.


This is the first step in the Minor Touches Major Impact Fundraising Method that I teach in my book Visionary Fundraising, and Fundraising Accelerator. This kind of storytelling is so attention-getting, and rare, that it motivates the world to join you with their time, talent, and treasure.


2. Have a compelling vision

Most missionaries talk about what they do and what they do is not compelling.


What you do in your mission is likely boring. However, what you hope to achieve is compelling.

I teach this all the time and I am amazed at the fundraisers who can't hear what I am saying, but think they do.


IF you can hear this, you will take a big step towards leaning into your visionary capacity.


For example, one of my favorite charities is the Alzheimer’s Association. They raise millions of dollars. They raise a lot of money because of their compelling vision. But their compelling vision is not what they do.


What the Alzheimer's Association does:

  • Research

  • Advocacy

  • Produce information to help patients


What they do is boring. But what they hope to achieve is compelling.


What the Alzheimer's Association hopes to achieve (their vision):


A World Without Alzheimer's & Dementia


The Alzheimer’s Association’s amazing fundraising campaigns focus on some aspect of a world without Alzheimer’s. While their mission is not exciting and captivating, their compelling vision is.


Fundraising around what you do will get small donations, but fundraising for what you hope to achieve is highly impactful and generates significant involvement.


Your vision must be compelling, and ambitious, and may even seem unattainable. It will be a dream statement that vividly describes the world as it would be if your daily, weekly, and monthly activities totally cure the problem.


In Visionary Fundraising, I give lots of examples of compelling vision statements.


3. Establish your platform

Your platform is the thing you stand up on to be heard.

In today’s digital world, this is a website. Without your own website potential donors will not consider you legitimate. A simple website that outlines your compelling vision and how you intend to achieve it gives you legitimacy.


Instead of just using social media, you must have your own website or blog. This place is just for sharing about you and your mission work. It’s open all the time, so people can learn about what you do even when you’re asleep. Making a website or blog is pretty easy these days.


Missionaries who do not have the legitimacy provided by an excellent website suffer the curse of relying on small tips instead of larger gifts.


4. Make your donor’s journey easy

Before a person gives, they may introduce themselves and want to know more. They may introduce themselves in person, or through your website with a “join our mailing list” button. When potential donors introduce themselves with their name and email, this is significant. You must be ready with an email series that introduces them to you, the problem you solve, and an invitation to get involved. The importance of this well thought out email series cannot be overstated.


5. Give your donor a problem they can solve

Make sure people can easily join your giving community.


If your organization is average, sixty-five percent of the donors who land on your giving page will leave without leaving a gift.

People want to help you but you must make it easy. In fundraising, we call this “friction.” You must remove all friction from your automated giving page.


Never just ask people to give money to your organization. This is far less effective than giving people a problem they can solve. How do you do this? Think about your beneficiary. What does it cost, specifically, to serve them for:

  • One day?

  • One week?

  • One month?

  • Three months?

  • Six months?

  • One year?

Now give your donor the opportunity to solve your beneficiary's problem for a day, or a week, a month, or even a year! Giving your donor a problem they can solve gets you more money than just asking donors to give to your organization.


6. Fundraise with a team

Having a group of volunteers to help with fundraising can make a big difference. They can help spread the word and get more donations. It’s hard to do it all by yourself, especially if you’re in a different country.


One is always too small a number to achieve significance. Fundraising alone keeps your budget small. Seek out folks who know, like, and trust you, and ask them to join your fundraising team. Some will say yes!


Also consider joining a community of fundraisers who learn together and commit to helping each other. I lead such a group in the Visionary Fundraising Accelerator. Check it out.


7. Ask boldly

The number one reason people don't give to your vision is that no one has asked them.


There are two things we hesitate to talk about in our culture: sex and money. Both are powerful, alluring, and seductive. This hesitancy to talk about money will keep a lot of your beneficiaries from being helped.


You can change that!


For the sake of transforming lives, you must ask boldly!


You will ask in many ways:

  • Print

  • While it is worth noting that digital giving has seen a significant increase in recent years, off-line channels like traditional mail still generate more than 80% of direct marketing revenue for nonprofits.

  • Fundraisers who omit old-fashioned print materials are leaving a lot of money on the table.

  • Electronically

  • On your website

  • On social media

  • Face-to-face

  • Major-gifts

  • I devote a whole chapter to this in Visionary Fundraising. Visionaries understand the value of small gifts, they just love major gifts more. Major gifts allow for greater impact. When you develop a major gifts program, you are working smarter, not harder.

  • When individuals make a large gift to a person or cause, it is almost always because they were personally asked face-to-face.




P.S. Know a missionary who struggles with their fundraising? Pass this post on to them.


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