Tips for connecting with large donors

When missionaries or MST members connect with potential large donors such as foundations, businesses or church mission committees, here are some tips to keep in mind:
  1. Pray! Bathe your meeting with prayer. God is opening a door of opportunity so be open and expectant for what He wants to do in this time. Realize that God may have another outcome in mind than your goal. For example, maybe God will open up the door for you to share the gospel or pray with the person. Do not be so focused on finances that you miss God’s purpose for the open door.

  2. Begin by sharing your vision/mission in a succinct manner, using the aid of visual pieces such as brochures, flyers, posters, photos, PowerPoint slides or DVDs. Then allow time for them to ask you questions. Follow-up your presentation with a clear invitation for financial response. Be specific in how you would like them to help. For example, if asking for monthly pledged support, suggest a specific amount. If the missionary and MST member present together, the missionary could share the vision and the MST member can follow up with the invitation to respond.

  3. No matter what the response, thank the person or group for their time.

  4. In a follow-up connection, mention another way they can help you. Ask if they would give you the names of two other people they know who may be interested in your unique vision (e.g., AIDS work, international students, orphans, etc.). Don’t ask for these names at the same time you ask for finances because it would appear you are giving them a choice and they may just give names and not money. It is key to ask for names of those who share your vision, not just people who they know who have money. The person with a shared vision may have less money but give more or regularly because they share a passion for what you are doing.

  5. Some persons who represent a foundation, mission committee, etc. cannot give for reasons beyond their control but would feel good about referring you to other potential financial partners. They feel like they helped even if they cannot give.

  6. Ask permission to use the name of the person who gave you the new contacts. Sometimes a person will give you names but prefer that you not use their name. Assure them that you will respect this. Even though you cannot use their name, you have gained by learning about new people or foundations who share your vision.

  7. Remember that it is all about relationship! If they decide to support you they become your ministry partner and should not be seen as simply a “money source.” Meet with them when possible, give them updates, invite them to visit you and get to know them as people.