Fundraising: What Are Churches Looking For?

I thought I’d share a little of what I’ve learned about fundraising, hoping it might help other church planters. So here’s the first post…

With deciding who to support, churches take a very logical route. They’re going to ask questions, and you need to have good answers. Here’s some of what they’re looking for:

1. Something that guarantees results. They want to know that their money won’t be wasted on you. To this end, it helps to have dates on a calendar. Most churches want to know: When will you start producing results? Saying, “We’re not sure when our first service will be” isn’t going to help you get yeses.

2. Someone who is proven. They say past performance is the best indicator of future performance, and that’s usually true. So it helps if you have something to point to, “Look what I did. I’ve accomplished that already.”

3. Someone who has a good plan. Your plan may take a back seat to what you’ve actually done in the past, but it’s still going to be looked at. If you ask for money but have no plan, well, what exactly am I giving my money to? People have made fun of the 31 page strategic plan that I developed for our church plant in Las Vegas but not only was it a good process for me to get all those thoughts on paper, it’s also helped me in fundraising.

4. Someone they have a connect with. It’s very difficult to get total strangers to support you. If I don’t know you, why should I give to you? One thing that’s surprised me in fundraising this time is that getting financial support from my closest friends in ministry has been more difficult than I would have imagined. It seems like I’ve had the best luck with people I kind of know.

So, that’s churches, what are individuals looking for? That’s next time.