Ministry Fundraising

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Ministry Fundraising

For many YWAMers as we grow in responsibility in the mission we add more items to our list in which we need to see financial support. We develop like this:

  1. Personal support, funds for training (all YWAMers).
  2. Support for projects (Team members).
  3. Income for ministries needed (Ministry leaders).
  4. Income for general base needs (Base leaders level).
  5. Income for National leadership teams and National projects (National Leader).
  6. Income for International projects (International project leader).

Currently we see little ability to raise support for GLT level and Transnational level. Normally the income needed here is sourced from lower down in the mission, often as a required percentage of with Base and National "Tithe" funds.

Income Activities

An objective outsider might say that they could class the activities YWAM does in the mission in the following ways:

  • Income generating ministry (i.e. DTS and other schools, conferences). In other words ministries that pay for themselves.
  • Non-Income generating ministry (i.e. direct evangelism, administration!, leadership, staff training).
  • Hybrid ministry (i.e. Hospitality that accepts gifts from guests but doesn't charge - or isn't a hotel!, Mercy Ministries rarely charge clients but are often very fund-able from people who agree with the aims).
  • Selling services and products (i.e. Renting rooms and space to staff and ministries, conference facilities, equipment hire, bookshops, publishing ministries). Some items here fall loosely under our Business As Missions guidelines.
  • Donation based ministries: do we have any?
  • Loss making ministries: we have these but sometimes it is important to have them! Profit is not our bottom line!

Leader's Abilities

For many leaders as they develop they are able to grow their own personal support base but as they gain more and more responsibility they have an increased need to meet the financial needs of the ministries under their oversight. However, leaders often do not have the skill or knowledge of how to meet those needs and often seek funding from the same sets of supporters (or "Constituencies"). This is difficult for leaders and leads to a conflict of interest (Which need is more important the personal one or the ministry one).

This is where leaders need help. Many of the same relational principles apply but developing a broader constituency is an important part in the fundraising. As is the link to communication.

There is very little YWAM knowledge or help available here. We need to pool what we can here. Individuals have developed a lot of expertise.

Ways of getting money:

  1. Donations from general public.
  2. Donations from individuals (regular or one-off).
  3. Legacies.
  4. Giving from trusts.
  5. Corporate giving.
  6. Sales.
  7. Training.
  8. Rents.
  9. Fees for trips.

Ministry Fundraising

  • Fundraising is always relational and not impersonal. Not technique but truth. Face to face is the very best.
  • For YWAMers ministry and personal fundraising can be a double burden. Probably there are two different pools of donors, personal then ministry. There may be some overlap. Do YWAMers fear donor fatigue because they have to ask the personal pool to fund ministry?
  • Many YWAM teams and center do not have a pool of donors for the ministry and need to develop one.

How to Develop a Ministry Donor Base

  • Start communicating frequently and well. Lots of stories and relevant information for donors.
  • Work out what you want to raise.
  • Be very specific about the projects - make sure it will cost what you say. Make sure you can finish if you start. Don't be vague. Be very precise.
  • Is the project relevant to the donors - would they be interested in sponsoring it? Is it on track and relevant to your goals?
  • How can you explain the project in emotional terms that donors can identify with?
  • Finding donors and soliciting them...
  • Several visits.
  • Final ask.

You need to show clearly where and why a donors money can be spent to make an important difference with in the donor's interests.

Rule of Thirds

Rule of thirds[1]:

  • 1/3 of your gifts will come from 10 donors (And one donor will give 10% of the whole).
  • 1/3 of your gifts will come from 100 donors.
  • 1/3 of your gifts will come from all the other donors.

Thus a gift table could be made

Gift table for a $1,000,000 programme
Gift Amount Number of Gifts Total
100,000 1 100,000
50,000 2 100,000
25,000 4 100,000
10,000 20 200,000
2,000 150 300,000
Under 1,000 many 200,000

Brian Sloan once said that when you have the top thirds in place a public appeal for smaller donations goes very well. I think this is where the "10 euro's a month" appeals come in. But if you start there you will only raise about 1/3 of what you need! (This is this authors experience recently!)

Kevin Colyer took a look at the donations for the Alternatives ministry of YWAM Brussels and made a gift table from it:

  • 31 donors in total.
  • First third: 2 donors. One contributed 20% of total the other 12%.
  • Second third: 4 donors.
  • Final third: 25 donors. 7 smallest donors each contribute <1% of total given. Thus 1/4 of all donors produce 7% and another 1/4 produce 50%!

Areas to Work on

  1. Communication.
    • Good and clear and regular.
  2. Relational asking.
  3. Donor care.
    • Understanding donors.
    • Thanking donors quickly and personally (doing this well can lead to future gifts).
    • Explaining how gifts are used.
    • Communicating what giving was each year.
  4. Fundraising improvement.
    • Measure your performance (varied metric - not total volume - long term donors etc.)
    • Mystery shopper!

Misc Ideas

  • Do we know why our supporters give? Have we ever asked them? What information might this offer us?
  • Fundraisers should be givers. Good principle. It gives integrity. Also helps to say "I put X of my own money in this. I think it is good".


Books related to Ministry Fundraising

Title Book Author(s) ISBN
Relationship Fundraising:
A Donor-based Approach To The Business Of Raising Money
Ken Burnett ISBN 0787960896
The Zen Of Fundraising:
89 Timeless Ideas To Strengthen And Develop Your Donor Relationships
Ken Burnett ISBN 0787983144
The Complete Fundraising Handbook Sam Clarke and Michael Norton ISBN 090716465X
Questions And Phases Of Modern Missions... Frank Field Ellinwood ISBN 1275658938
Story Of Faith Missions:
From Hudson Taylor To Present Day Africa
Klaus Fiedler ISBN 1870345185
Who Really Sends The Missionary Michael C. Griffiths ISBN 0802494986
Get Your Church Involved In Missions! Michael C. Griffiths ISBN 9971837846
Fundraising Realities Every Board Member Must Face:
Revised Edition: A 1-Hour Crash Course On Raising Major Gifts For Nonprofit Organizations
David Landsdown ISBN 9781889102320

How to Buy a Base

This ought to become a page, and probably ought to be called "How to buy a YWAM centre" rather than base.

Fundraising Project Proposal

Some notes on a talk about How to Write a Project Proposal for Fundraising

Creative Fundraising Ideas

Fundraising can be more than asking for money ...

Sources, notes and/or references
  1. Landsdown, pg35