A couple of years ago, while working on a capital campaign for a center, I made a commitment to walk in the center’s Walk for Life. Because I don’t live in the city where the center operates, I set up a personal fundraising page through MinistrySync, which took all of five minutes.
That evening I posted a link to my page on Facebook and met my goal within hours.
Today’s donors want giving to be quick and easy, so why don’t we help? For those of us who are involved in fundraising, we can use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to casually mention from time to time, “If you are interested in supporting the ministry where I serve, here is the link.” Then of course, we post the link!
We don’t have to wait for a Walk or any other event to ask our friends to kick in a gift. They already believe in us, so some will want to go the next step and support our work.
We can link to our donor page and if we use this method, ask friends to mention their connection to us so we can track gifts. For instance, “When you give, add the comment, ‘Kirk sent me!’
Or, we can use a funding page such as You Save Babies (more on that HERE!).
Set a Goal
“Would you mind giving?” is not nearly as powerful as, “I’m looking to raise $1,250 for . . .” A goal, and updating friends every few days, gives friends more connection and the ability to say, “I helped Kirk accomplish his mission.”
Give a Reason
“Support my work” is nice, but, “I want to raise $1250 so that this ministry can . . .” is better.
Start with a Gift
Asking is more effective when people see themselves as joining, instead of starting a process. Consider what we wish to be an average gift and make that gift to start the process: “I chipped in $25; please join me with a gift of any size.”
Giving needs to be simple today because fewer and fewer of us are willing to sit down and write a check. Let’s continue to look for ways to connect our friends to our work—as quickly as they can click a mouse.
Click here for more of this month's Advancement Trends in the Life Community.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Local pro-life pregnancy help organizations have a new way to grow the support of their community, with the launch of YouSaveBabies.com, a web platform that connects donors with the life-saving work of pregnancy centers, pregnancy medical clinics, maternity homes and nonprofit adoption agencies.
Launched by Heartbeat International, the world’s largest network of pregnancy help, YouSaveBabies enables groups and individuals to promote and raise funds for the life-saving outreach of their choice.
Ideas for starting a fundraiser—which can be promoted via social media channels—include races and other personal goals, birthdays, in memory of loved ones, or as a way to coalesce the support of local church groups around a local pregnancy center. Starting a fundraiser is as simple as selecting an organization and filling out a brief fundraising form. All donations—less credit card transaction fees—go directly to the organization of choice.
“We’re confident YouSaveBabies will play a vital role in what Heartbeat International is most committed to doing—advancing life-affirming pregnancy help at the local level,” Heartbeat International president Jor-El Godsey said. “Pregnancy help organizations are rescuing lives and helping to build strong families every single day. Donors and other supporters are invigorated to see that, and YouSaveBabies is a great way for them to connect.”
The giving platform utilizes FundEasy, web software by Ministry Sync that has helped faith-based nonprofits raise over $35 million since its rollout in 2010. Individual pregnancy help organizations can choose to embed a YouSaveBabies giving badge on their donor websites to raise awareness for newly unveiled platform.
Heartbeat International affiliates in the U.S. and those available through Heartbeat International’s 24-7 contact center Option Line (1-800-712-HELP, OptionLine.org) are automatically listed in the YouSaveBabies network, which includes over 2,000 pregnancy help locations.
“This is a great step forward for our friends on the local level, and it’s another way we can work together to build a culture where no woman ever feels so alone or coerced that she feels abortion is her only choice,” Godsey said. “Pregnancy help provides compassionate support and real choice, and these life-saving organizations have a new friend in YouSaveBabies.”
About Heartbeat International Heartbeat International is the first network of pro-life pregnancy help organizations founded in the U.S. (1971), and the largest network in the world. With 2,000 affiliated pregnancy help locations—including pregnancy help medical clinics (with ultrasound), resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies—Heartbeat serves on all six inhabited continents to provide alternatives to abortion.
by Ducia Hamm
What would bring 62 diverse individuals from a variety of pregnancy help organizations, hailing from 26 states, Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas together at the offices of Heartbeat International in Columbus, Ohio? Without a doubt–that would be Heartbeat International's Pregnancy Help Institute.
One pregnancy help leader summed up her experience as, “a great boot camp and leadership training that helps ensure our future success.”
Pregnancy Help Institute consists of three separate learning tracks: New Directors, Development and Leadership. This year, attendees were able to take advantage of unique opportunities that included a tour of the offices of both Heartbeat International and our 24/7 pregnancy helpline, Option Line.
Each day of the weeklong event started out with a gathering for prayer, devotion and fellowship centered on God’s Word before everyone headed off to their respective training tracks.
At the New Directors training, 48 new executive directors, each with less than three years’ experience in their position, received in-depth training designed just for them. Using the DIRECT Well Manual as their textbook, these new directors were able to benefit from Heartbeat International leaders Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D. and Jor-El Godsey along with Senior Director of Ministry Services Betty McDowell and several of Heartbeat International's expereienced staff members.
In addition, participants gained firsthand instruction on navigating the HeartbeatServices.org website while learning the benefits that OptionLine offers to life-affirming organizations.
“Being a new director is a complex position and a role that involves many facets,” one director told us. “This training gave a comprehensive overview of many of these facets that would be valuable for [new] directors”.
The Development track, an intimate group of six leaders jumped in with both feet on a path toward building strong funding plans for the future.
“With this size, we have a lot of free-wheeling discussion and the opportunity to address a lot of situations,” Kirk Walden, Heartbeat International’s Advancement Specialist and the track’s instructor, said. “And because we had development directors and executive directors from varying-sized organizations, we touched on a little bit of everything and were able to zero in on a lot of individual needs and challenges.”
The Development track addressed everything from a biblical perspective on fundraising to finding and building eight revenue streams that, while relationships stay strong, never run dry.
“Raising funds is about connecting in a meaningful way with those who care about our work, and then providing ways for these friends to do what they want to do—which is to support our work,” Kirk said. “It’s not complicated, but there is a process to all of this.
“The goal of the track is to not only identify how to be successful in building support, but to make sure each person who attends can say, ‘Hey, we can do this.’ I want everyone to walk away with practical tools and plan that works for them individually. That’s the important thing.”
Woven throughout the Leadership track were concepts developed by Built to Lead, an executive coaching program that has trained CEOs, presidents, and ministry leaders nationwide. Kitty Allen and John Rue from Built to Lead guided the group through “The 12 Essentials of Personal Excellence©”.
One of the attendees, Heartbeat International's own Tony Gruber, was part of the Leadership track.
“The class-time was informative, inspiring, and helpful,” Tony said. “I especially appreciated the homework reading assignments. What struck me the most was the high caliber of leadership in pregnancy help organizations and the opportunity that the Institute offered to meet leaders from around the country.”
Wondering whether you should attend the Pregnancy Help Institute in 2016? Check out this endorsement:
"I am leaving this week feeling encouraged, empowered and confident to continute to do the work the Lord has called me to do."
Sound like something you want to say next year? Bookmark this page and we'll see you then!
by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
It's not a stretch to say that Nehemiah was an expert fundraiser. We just don't think of him in this way, because his heart for God and his people, and his passion for the project of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem takes precedence in our minds.
Quick note: What if those we approach regarding funding viewed us first as having a heart for God and his people? And what if another of the key characteristics they see in us is our passion for the mission we serve? Aren't these worthy attributes for us to pursue? To that end, what if those we ask see our role in development as secondary (or "thirdondary," to make up a new word)?
Actually, it is Nehemiah's heart and his passion that made him a great fundraiser. In keeping with this, he built on this foundation with two more sterling traits. First, he was a man of prayer.
When he first heard the news regarding Jerusalem's wall, Nehemiah broke down in tears (Neh. 1:4). His next step? Prayer. In his narrative (Neh. 1:5-2:2), Nehemiah notes that this time of prayer lasted about four months. After this time, he was prepared when King Artaxerxes asked, "Why is your face sad though you are not sick?"
Because he had spent months in prayer, when the king asked of Nehemiah's need, he had a ready answer. Though he was scared, Nehemiah asked with clarity and conviction. Oh, and he asked big, too.
Nehemiah didn't just ask for a few days off to go see about a wall. His time in prayer had given him a clear picture of exactly what would be needed to complete his project. In just a short audience with the king, Nehemiah asked for:
A good development plan is a specific one. And that plan also includes all that is needed to complete a project.
An example of this in a pregnancy help ministry might be if we are asking for an ultrasound machine to commit to a medical model. If we are in this situation, asking for the machine is only a portion of the project.
Are we also asking for funds for training, staffing, renovation, insurance and materials? And almost always forgotten, are we also asking for the funds to properly market our new initiative in the community (after all, what good is an ultrasound machine if we are not letting people know of our new service)?
Let's pray. Then, let's clearly ask for all we need to complete a project. This model is as old as the Old Testament's Nehemiah. And, it works.
Click here for more of this month's Advancement TLC.
We can speak with clarity and conviction regarding a need of our organization, and our potential financial partner may be excited about giving to our work. This in itself however, does not mean we will ever receive a gift, unless we do one more thing:
Clearly state how to give.
"Oh, we do that," someone might tell me. The evidence however, tells me something different. The truth is, one possible reason for financial challenges is because we do not clearly say, "This is how to give to us."
The Apostle Paul wrote a tremendous fundraising letter in II Cor. 8-9. Read those two chapters and you will find how to state a case for support with clarity. But he also knew to clarify how to give. Read I Cor. 16:1-3 and we will find a perfect, simply stated "how to" from Paul:
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, the no collections be made when I come. And when I arrive, whomever you may approve, I shall send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem. (NASB)
Paul outlines where the gift will be used, when the gift will be collected, the amount one should consider ("as he may prosper"), and how to deliver the gift. All in just a few sentences.
One area where we can fall short is on reminding donors of pledges. After a fundraising dinner, does your organization put a letter in the mail within one week of the event, thanking guests for making a commitment and also stating the details of that commitment? In my experience, less than 50 per cent of pregnancy help organizations do this.
Another area? Read our communications (newsletters, e-blasts) for the previous year. How many times have we reminded potential donors of exactly how to give? We will place an envelope and a response device in with a newsletter, but it is important that we also tell readers (at least once a year) why the envelope is included.
"How to give" seems obvious. Yet, Paul took the time to make sure and lay out the process in his first letter to the Corinthian church. We can, too.
Special Note: See this month's CEO Commentary for an example.
CEO CommentaryAdvancement Trends in the Life Community offers you this article to place in an e-blast or newsletter. Feel free to use this as your own, no attribution is necessary for this article:
Our newsletters and online communications often tell you of our latest projects and initiatives at (Name of Organization), and many times we will ask you to join us financially.
Every once in a while however, it is important that we communicate to you exactly how you can support this vital work—and be a key part of our team, from a financial standpoint.
If you would like to give a financial gift, here are three ways you can do so:
OnlineOur financial partners' site is (web address here). Here, you can make a one-time gift or join us as a monthly financial partner.
Write a checkEnclosed with this newsletter is an envelope for your convenience. Place the check in the envelope and if you would like to make yours an ongoing, monthly gift, write "monthly" on the "for" section of the check.
Give a gift of stockYour appreciated stock may be a gift that also brings large tax savings. Call (name) at 000-0000 at our office and she will help you with this type of gift, or call our broker, (name) at (name of brokerage firm and phone number), and she will provide you with our account information.
Our financial partners provide the foundation for the amazing growth we are seeing at (name of organization). Your gifts are making a difference in saving lives, and changing lives; every day.
Note: You may want to add wills, trusts, events and more. These are just three "starter" avenues of giving to be placed in our communications.
Click here to download this CEO Commentary as a word document.
Each month Advancement Trends in the Life Community brings to you a "thank you letter" that you can send to your donors. March's letter is below:
Dear Barney & Betty,
The Apostle Paul makes an interesting statement as he closes out his letter to the Philippians, thanking the church at Philippi for being the only church to make a contribution to his work. In thanking the church, he writes, "Not that I seek the gift itself, but the profit which increases to your account."
A dynamic takes place when we give; a transaction whereby our "account" grows as we give toward those endeavors which honor God. I don't pretend to understand the intricacies of this account of which Paul writes, but we don't have to.
What we do know is that as we give, we see spiritual increase in our lives. We may not be able to see or touch it, but it is real.
So often when we thank you for a gift, I want to point out where your gift is going and how it will assist those we see. This is important, certainly.
Yet, I never want to forget that your gift shows me that you want to grow spiritually, too. So as we say "thank you," I also want to echo Paul's words and seek "the profit which increases to your account."
Thank you. Your gift makes a tremendous difference in this work, and I am just as thrilled to see the treasure you are placing in your "account" grow as well.
Click here to download this thank you letter as a word document.
How many of us have sat down and begun penning ideas for the future of our ministry or organization, dreaming big dreams of what we could do if we just had more funding? I know I have, many times.
I've sketched out additional rooms, even a new building. At other times I scribbled down notes on new initiatives, created a list of new staff members and more.
The challenge for me—and perhaps for you—is in the "getting there" part of the equation. As an executive director, investing millions of hypothetical dollars in the future of our ministry was easy. Finding those funds; well, that was the hard part.
As we launch into 2015, let's throw out a realistic way to at least begin our journey toward a bright, fully funded future for our ministries: An endowment.
We might say, "Endowments are for hospitals, colleges, universities—big organizations. Not for us." We would be quite incorrect.
Endowments are for all of us, and an endowment is a terrific way to build up a funding stream for our basic needs so we can stretch our organizations into new initiatives, new and improved facilities and other places God is leading us.
In short, an endowment is a fund whereby only the interest earned or a pre-determined amount is spent each year for our organization's overall budget or for a specific area of ministry.
C'mon, dream with me for just a second. Let's take off our "realism" hat and ask, "Wouldn't it be nice if our basic budget was funded by an endowment and every dollar raised could go toward something new to better reach and serve those we see?"
Maybe it's just me, but I think this would be great. While I realize that creating an endowment of this size for any ministry would be quite a reach in the realism department, it is possible to start building an endowment today that, over time, could fund a growing portion of our work. And one day, who knows where that might lead?
We will only know how far we can go once we get started. And if we don't already have an endowment, the time to start is always "now."
In this issue of Advancement Trends in the Life Community, let's take a good look at this funding mechanism. As we do, we might find a path to a bright future for our ministry.
Click here for more of this month's Advancement Trends in the Life Community.
Making the case for an endowment begins with not only knowing what an endowment is, but also understanding what it is not.
For instance, an endowment is not our Rainy Day Fund. Every ministry needs to have some cash on hand for times when giving slows, so that the work goes on and staff is paid. Experts tell us that having 3-6 months of cash on hand—just in case—is a good number.
Also, our endowment is not our savings fund for a future project. If our board of directors is wanting to set aside funds for a new initiative, a building fund, or to invest in a new staff member, this would be separate from an endowment.
With an endowment, we build a principle amount and either withdraw interest earned (some or all—this can be a board decision made annually), or a specific amount (Ex.: "We will withdraw $5,000 per year for budget purposes, unless endowment gifts are under the withdrawal amount.") on a pre-determined basis.
We can be flexible with endowment withdrawals, based on need. Or, we can let the endowment grow for a period of time, with no withdrawals.
Overall, our goal with our endowment is to continue to grow its principle so that more and more of our basic ministry needs are met with these funds.
Endowments can be general (for the overall budget) or specific (an endowment for our medical arm, for instance). We can also have multiple endowments. As an example, should a donor family want clients to receive Bibles, an endowment can be created (a minimum amount for an endowment should be established by the ministry; perhaps $10,000 is a starting point).
With multiple endowments, a donor may ask, "How can I give toward your abstinence program?" and we would be able to respond, "We can direct a portion of your gift toward today's need, and set aside a percentage of your gift in our Abstinence Initiative Endowment." This allows us to be more creative in building our resources; but more important, allows donors to be more involved in where their gifts go and how they are used.
Every ministry needs its Rainy Day Fund, and when new ideas arise, Capital Funds can get us started toward funding these ideas. In addition however, Endowments make sense and as we will see elsewhere in this issue, help us raise more funding.
Endowments are not only a good idea for our ministries as we look to the future, they are also a strong avenue toward attracting donor interest and support today.
First, endowments allow donors to see their gifts (to the endowment) as more permanent. Knowing that a gift is not going into the ministry account only to be spent within days is attractive to certain donors; especially those who can give major gifts.
Second, simply having an endowment tells our financial partners we are in this for the long haul. This long-term outlook gives us more credibility and lends itself to more gifts.
Third, as an endowment begins funding (even small) portions of the organization, we can communicate this to our donors. They are more likely to respond to our future requests because they see their gifts as funding "bigger" aspects of the ministry.
Finally, keep in mind that endowments are a particular niche for—as we mentioned above—certain donors. They are attracted by the concept of saving for the future, and of a "permanent" fund that keeps their gifts mostly intact—giving those gifts longevity.
As an example, when your author became an executive director I noticed we had almost no memorial or honorarium gifts. To spark interest in this type of giving, we created our "Commemorative Fund" whereby all gifts went into an account where only the interest earned would be used for the ministry.
Immediately, after implementing this idea (and the fact that we placed memorial gifts and gifts in honor of the living on our response devices), these gifts soared. Our fund grew into the tens of thousands of dollars over a few years, after receiving just $25 in the year before changing our approach.
An endowment then, is not only a way to fund the future; it can also be an avenue to reach donors in a new—and for many, a more attractive—way.
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