But I’m only one person!

by

“Fearless Fundraising” is a series on church and non-profit fundraising by Charles LaFond, a consultant, spiritual companion and master potter living on a farm in New Mexico. Charles is the author of many books including Fearless Church Fundraising, Fearless Major Gifts: Inspiring Meaning-making and now, Note to Self. For hundreds of free model documents, videos and Icons for use in fundraising go to fearlesschurchfundraising.com 

 

 

I know.  I know.  You are ALREADY busy.  How can you possibly do all that seminary trained you to do and then, on top of that, raise money, untrained and without any new hours of the day?  I know. But here is the thing.  What good is all the organizing of ministry if you cannot fund it? And what about the “ministry” of helping people to give their money away?

 

If you are a one-priest-shop with a part-time admin who does a bit of everything…what do you do with four hours a week (pretty much the bare minimum for the most basic fundraising for a $100,000-$200,000 mission budget.)?

 

Well, here is a suggested schedule for a whole year at just four hours each week (ie: Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday morning from 9:00am -1:00 pm with no other interruptions except pastoral calls). (Read Deep Work by Cal Newport for more on Deep Work.)

 

September

  • Launch your annual pledge campaign for pledges for the next fiscal year (January – December) having planned it in March. You want people to pledge PRIOR to the year they pay over 12 months otherwise, the gifts will be smaller.
  • Have an event which kicks off the pledge season and spend 4 months getting people to attend it. Have pledge cards and a brief summary of why an investment in this ministry has a good return to the donor and for mission. If you do not have a good return (a good “why”) then consider a new position.
  • Set a meeting next week with a major donor or prospect. This week spend an hour with a major donor or prospect.
  • Write five thank you notes by hand.

 

October

  • Call and ask for a pledge of 25% of your past (top) donors (it takes an hour to call thirty) and ask three others to call the other 75 %.
  • Send a letter to all donors and prospects (everyone on your mailing list) telling them about the power of the ministry there and why it is so valuable to give. Tell them about early successes in pledges.  Invite them to the victory celebration of mission for all donors on the Sunday two weeks prior to Thanksgiving.
  • Plan the November Mission Celebration event to end the campaign.
  • Set a meeting next week with a major donor or prospect. This week spend an hour with a major donor or prospect.
  • Write five thank you notes by hand.

 

November

  • Call all non-donors and use volunteers to call the ones you cannot call. Remind them of the up-coming Mission Celebration which will end the campaign to fund next-year’s mission. Tell them you are planning to see them unless they call to decline.
  • Finalize event plans and call any of last year’s pledgers and as them to please re-pledge.
  • Collect this current year’s pledges and write hand-written thank you notes mentioning the amount due.
  • Send thank you letters each week for any new pledges. Call donors who increase their pledge to thank them.

 

December

  • Send all thank you notes and also all official letters thanking pledgers for their pledges. Set up reminders for you to send out quarterly letters (not statements) which remind pledgers what they have pledged, paid and have yet to pay on their pledges. Be sure to place I each hand-written letter the amount pledged so that the donor knows that the clergy knows what the pledge is.
  • Collect the final payments on this year’s pledges before next year’s payments begin.
  • Send an annual report (can be a brief, bulleted letter) which explains what amazing things you have accomplished with their money this year 9actual numbers of measurable things such as numbers of baptisms, funerals, hospital visits, pastoral visits, classes, new members, special events, liturgies, etc.)
  • Enjoy Christmas. But also, send a year-end letter in early December asking if they would like to make a special year-end gift on top of their annual pledge.

 

January

  • Set four meetings this month with a major donor or prospect. This week spend an hour each with four major donors or prospects.
  • Write ten thank you notes by hand.
  • Get some rest.

 

February

  • Start planning the next September launch of the annual pledge campaign. Assemble the special committee on Pledging/Launch event.
  • Evaluate the last pledge campaign to see how it went and what can be learned. Provide a report to the Vestry or Bishop’s Committee with the objectives you had for the last campaign and what measurable outcomes show about successes and failures.
  • Host a focus group to discuss next year’s campaign themes and events to get feedback on your ideas and to harvest others.
  • Set a meeting next week with a major donor or prospect. This week spend an hour with a major donor or prospect.

 

March

  • Plan your annual pledge campaign in earnest. Draft the letter (300 words or no more than 600).  Draft the event plan for the kick-off, set goals, engage learnings from last year.
  • Send your collections letter to pledgers wishing to be reminded quarterly.
  • Set a meeting this month with three major donors or prospects. This month, spend an hour with a major donor or prospect.
  • Write five thank you notes by hand.

 

April

  • Set a meeting this month with three major donors or prospects. This month, spend an hour with a major donor or prospect.
  • Write five thank you notes by hand.
  • Manage Easter.
  • May
  • Set a meeting this month with six major donors or prospects. This month, spend an hour with each major donor or prospect. This is your last chance before the summer vacation schedule hits and major gifts/planned gifts visits slow down.
  • Write five thank you notes by hand.

 

June

  • Send Quarterly collections letters (they should look like thank-you letters) reminding donors of their second quarter pledge payments and thanking them for the mission so far funded. Tell them about recent accomplishments.
  • Assemble 20 note-writers to write hand-written thank-you notes (10-20 notes each) thanking all pledgers/givers.
  • Set a meeting this month with 2 major donors or prospects. This month, spend an hour with 2 major donor or prospect.
  • Write five thank you notes by hand.

 

July

  • Use the summer to prepare for the fall annual pledge campaign. Draft final materials,
  • Draft thank you letters for the pledge campaign next fall.
  • Get materials needed for the fall campaign printed.
  • Start planning the recruitment of people to attend the September kick-off of the annual pledge campaign.

 

August

  • Set a meeting this month with 2 major donors or prospects. This month, spend an hour with 2 major donor or prospect.
  • Write five thank you notes by hand.
  • Get the September collection letters drafted and prepared early since September will be a busy month.

 

Evaluate, pray and …repeat…

 


 

For more details on implementing effective fundraising in your congregation check out my book

Fearless Church Fundraising: The Practical and Spiritual Approach to Stewardship

For help with major gift visits;

Fearless Major Fundraising: Inspiring Meaning-Making

And for free model documents and training materials go to

www.fearlesschurchfundraising.com 

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