Tuesday, December 16, 2014

College Ministry and Fund Raising

Just before I was officially elected to serve in my first Campus Ministry position many years ago, I said, "Will I have to raise money, because I don't think I would be very good at it". The person who would be my supervisor told me no.

Seven years later I was one of five people making up an executive committee charged with raising one million dollars for a College Ministry endowment for Arkansas. Some years after that, as our staff began to be cut due to funding changes, I knew I had to either cut our ministry back or raise some salary money for staff. A few years after that, I was helping to lead the campaign to build a larger Baptist Center on campus.

My mentor and boss meant it when he said I would not have to raise money.....that was then....the times, they changed quickly. if you are thinking you were called to ministry, not fund raising...get over it. First of all, people no longer give their money blindly to one Christian entity. They now want to decide where it is going and if it is being used well. We can lament that change or simply move on. Secondly, College Ministry is receiving cuts in funding either for budgets or staff or both.

We can try to do more with less, cut back our ministries.....or, realize we need to raise funds. Here are some different thoughts and ideas.

1. End of the Year Giving is huge!

Most of us in ministry don't know the concept of Christmas bonuses or year end profit sharing. There are people who literally receive thousands of dollars in the last few days of the year. Some even receive a check the afternoon of December 31 and they don't know what it will be until it reaches their hand. Many of them in the next few moments write checks to different causes in which they believe and then either mail or hand deliver them. Does it even occur to them to consider your ministry? Are they aware of your needs? Are you available on December 31?

2. People like to give to provide things they appreciate or use.

Providing a list of things needed allows people to pick something that they want to provide for you. Someone may know how important their copier is...so, they like giving you the money to buy a copier. Or, listing the cost of different needed items allows someone to pick an item and give that amount.

3. Provide a list of Possible Ministry Projects and Their Cost.

Outreach Cookout - $500; Scholarships to retreat for Internationals - $300; Speaker for Fall Retreat - $1,000.

4. Would you be ONE of ONE Hundred?

I once picked 99 people out of our Alumni list and sent them a letter asking them to be 1 of 100 to give $25 for a project I needed to fund. I gave the first $25. Almost all of them did and a few gave more which took care of the few who did not.

No; you don't want people running and hiding when they see you coming. But, you have a worthy cause and there are right times and right ways to help fund it. Or, you can always just cut back!

Oh yeah...send a handwritten thank you note and provide the needed Tax information for them!

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