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Fearless Fundraising: Make like the bees

Fearless Fundraising: Make like the bees

I find myself at a convent by the seaside in Connecticut on retreat.  Much of the day is spent watching the bumble bees, a favorite summer pastime of mine.  They go from flower to flower collecting pollen and nectar. They are attracted by the colors and shapes of the flowers.  My life in New Hampshire as a bee-keeper reminds me that yellow and light blue are the two colors most vivid to the nearly color-blind bees.  A pale yellow (often the color painted on bee hive boxes) is a real draw.  The bees see the pale yellow and, as they say, “make a bee-line” for it.


God shimmers from everything in the cosmos and is within everything in the cosmos.  No exceptions. And like our bee friends, we humans have attractions.  We see or hear or taste or feel or see or sense something and we lean in, want, like.


Jesus walked so much because it was his way of attracting people to His work and to His God.  People flocked to see him.  They heard him speak authentic words and they were attracted.  Jesus now speaks from within all of us if we can but discern the words. We are Jesus-suitcases on legs. Even when Jesus wanted some “me time” it was hard won because Jesus attracts.


Nothing much has changed.  There remain birds and bees.  There remain walking pastors who attract pilgrims and followers.  There remains the attractions we all have within us, many of which were planted by a God wanting us to win at hide and seek. We shimmer with Jesus.


The single most powerful tool (other than deserving the money you seek to raise) in church fundraising, is the peer-to-peer messaging which is at the core of the “Ministry Minute” technology of the annual pledge campaign.  “Ministry minutes” are short, 500-word statements of what in fundraising we call “case-for-support” or, in other words, the answer to the donor’s questions:

  1. Why should I pledge to this mission?
  2. Why should I pledge now?
  3. Why do you believe you deserve my investment of philanthropy when there are so many other charities in which I could invest?


The answer to these questions will, if you do the work well, be covered by the speakers of ministry minutes in the 5-8 weeks of weekly speakers.  Instead of speaking about why people should pledge, the ministry minute speaker speaks about what they love about their church.  Do that in every service, over 5-8 weeks with compelling, gifted, authentic speakers and your congregation will realize how much they too love their church and so, will want to fund its mission.


Like the bee gathering pollen and nectar, the recruitment and training of the ministry minute speakers and the coaching of their 500-word scripts and their training in public speaking is summer work.  Do it now, while there is no pressure from Fall schedules and the panic of an immediate and unfolding pledge campaign.  Recruit your speakers away from the immediate pressure of the speech, and figure out what message each one has in their soul.  Help your lay people to write and help them to practice.


Like the bumble bee, you will be glad of your summer work when autumn sets in.


Check here for more documents to help you plan and manage a Ministry Minute program in your church and many more resources as well.


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