Grow Your Ministry With These Blogs

If you want to improve performance of your ministry in fundraising, increase ministry growth toward a big vision or lead your organization with confidence, these articles can accelerate your journey.  Advocace consultants, researchers and editors post counsel, advice and direction to help Christian ministries grow.  See for yourself by clicking on these articles—a part of Advocace's commitment to pro bono encouragement and education of Christian ministry leaders.


 

How to Identify and Recruit Great Fundraisers

On a flight to Portland recently I happened upon an article in BusinessWeek magazine about Portland resident Dan McLaughlin. McLaughlin, having never picked up a golf club somehow talked Nike into sponsoring him as a professional golfer. He decided to become a golf pro after reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, which posits that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become a master at any skill. Recently he passed his 2,000th hour of practice, and he’s now shooting in the mid-90s. Not quite PGA material, but he remains convinced that if he sticks to the “Dan Plan” he will get his... Read more...

Don't Let the Pressure of Fundraising Cripple You

Let’s say you’re a new Development Director. The Executive Director of the Board says you must raise $150,000 in your first year. That amount will cover the cost of bringing you on and will give the ministry a good return on investment. “Wow!” you might think. "It's a little intimidating, but also exciting." You imagine meeting that goal and all the good it would do for your place on the team and for the organization’s mission. You are focused and ready to get started. In the beginning you make a lot of calls, but don’t get many answers. In fact, in the first few days alone you have called fifteen... Read more...

Want to know why storytelling motivates donors to action?

Good storytelling motivates people to action. Facts, figures, graphs and charts showing the good you do may seem logical, but just doesn’t work. Why Storytelling Motivates People to Action Dr. Paul Zak of Claremont Graduate University studies how people are moved to action through storytelling. His research shows oxytocin (a chemical released by our brain), motivates us to cooperate with other people. It also enhances our sense of empathy, so we can experience other people’s emotions. Dr. Zak found that character-driven stories cause oxytocin to be released into the bloodstream. How Storytelling... Read more...

This Is Why It's Important to Set Donor Expectations Up Front

[Originally published on dickerson-bakker.com on April 21, 2016 and repurposed for advocace.com.] Babe Ruth was a failure. It wasn’t unusual for him to strike out. In fact, he struck out 1,330 times in his career. His lifetime batting average of .342 meant he didn’t hit the ball nearly 66% of the time he came up to bat. How does someone who misses the mark 66% of the time become as legendary as Babe Ruth? To the uninitiated, a .342 batting average sounds low. In order to be impressed, you would need to know that Babe Ruth’s .342 average is tied for the ninth best batting average of all time... Read more...

Are You Fishing for Donors in the Right Spot with the Right Lures?

Every fisherman knows you can’t catch every kind of fish with the same kind of lure and in the same spot on a lake. He needs to decide what kind of fish he wants to catch and use the lures that work best for them. And he searches for the best “fishing hole.” Searching for donors to fund your ministry is no different. You need to identify those people you think are most likely to support your ministry. You need to assess what channels of communication they use most often. You need to discover ways to make your cause as appealing as possible to them. In short, in today’s competitive fundraising... Read more...

10 Better Ways to “Check In” on Your Donors

[Originally posted on dickerson-bakker.com on March 4, 2019 and repurposed for advocace.com.] Did you know that major donors do not want to be checked in on? It’s true. They don’t need to be checked on either. But what’s interesting is that I commonly run into Major Gift Officers that say, “Yeah, I’m going to call on this donor and I’m just “checking in”. That’s not what they want though. So, here are 10 better ways to “check in” on your donors… Read more...

How to Have Peace & Assurance in Your Capital Campaign Work

“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” Isaiah 32:17 Recently, I was feeling unsettled with all that has been on my plate. Looking to the scripture for direction, Isaiah 32:17 stirred my heart. I was pondering this scripture in Isaiah, over and over. You may read it and think, what does this have to do with capital campaigns? It has a lot to do with capital campaigns, and, for that matter, anything that your work, in Christ, is producing. Let me explain. Peace in Your Capital Campaign Work Look at what the work of righteousness... Read more...

How to Improve Fundraising for a Nonprofit Organization – Part 1: The Players

When discussing ways to improve an organization’s fundraising efficiencies or capacities, we often begin by looking at items dealing with procedures, processes or policies. But that’s not the best starting point when trying to improve your organization’s funding support. You need to start with the human equation. Very recently I’ve had quite a few questions coming in from ministries wanting to know who they need to hire to either completely turn things around, or to take the fundraising department to the next level. Unfortunately, what I believe I’m hearing too often is: “Jeff, where can I find... Read more...

How You Stifle Growth by Putting People in Boxes

The other day someone said to me, “You see the glass half empty.” The comment kind of startled me, I certainly wasn’t expecting it and it was not helpful to the conversation. Honestly, I didn't know how to react. It made me wonder why he would say that? Certainly, there is a time for self-reflection and consideration of how others see us. However, I see this trend of putting people in boxes more and more often. Because it’s easier to put people in boxes with blanket statements that offer little value, we fall short of truly investing in them. As leaders, it’s important to be careful with our words... Read more...