How do you feel about hearing the word “no”? Most of us hate it. But what I have found through the years is that even though we hate it, “no” can be one of the best words for growth in our ministries.

Think about this, hearing “no” from someone only means that nothing has changed. And, when we are not afraid to hear the word “no”, we are willing to ask. And, when we ask, although we still hear “no”, sometimes, we hear also hear “yes”. And, one unexpected “yes”, can change everything.

Let me challenge you to add something to your routine, begin asking for referrals whenever you meet with people, particularly existing donors. Remember, everyone is connected in some way. Either through friends, family, work, or social ties, everyone is connected. But, while YOU are not connected to everybody, somebody is! We need to establish asking as a habit; letting go of our fear of “no” and anticipating the excitement of “yes”.

Here are some examples of how you can word your request:

  • “Who do you know that is capable of making a gift of $10,000 or more?”

  • ·“As we seek planned gifts, persons with no apparent heirs are often looking for charitable causes. Do you know of anyone who fits that description?”

  • “To realize our long-term vision, it’s imperative that we build friendships with those persons who can make sizable gifts. We need your help in identifying anyone you know who could help make that happen.”

I can promise you a few things when you begin using these questions. First, you will hear “no”. You might hear it more than you want to, but you are going to see that the more you practice, the easier it will become to ask. The other thing that I can promise you is that you will start hearing some “yesses” as well. And because of those “yesses” you will expand your ministry and involve even more people in your work as your borders grow.

Is your vision important for Christ’s Kingdom? If it is, be bold and start by asking those around you about major donors within their circles of influence. “No” changes nothing, but “yes”, “yes” can change everything.