It’s Ok to call on your top donors for financial help.
But first, check in to see how they are doing.
There have been conversations among church leaders about asking donors to help churches financially during this crisis. Many leaders are feeling that it’s not a good time because everyone has been impacted in some way by COVID.
I’ve heard from some that it seems insensitive to ask for financial help from our largest donors. Through this pandemic we must remember, we are all going through the same storm, but we’re all in different boats. We should not project how we may think our donors will respond, or what position they are in to continue to give to our causes and to our churches.
It’s important to make the contact to the donor and let them determine if the timing is right for them to support our ministries. I’ve outlined a few steps to help you connect with the financial leaders within your congregation and make the ask.
Make an assessment and plan
Now is the time to reach out and connect with your top donors.
Use Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc. to connect with your donors. If video conferencing isn’t comfortable for some people on your contact list, pick up the phone and give them a call.
Phone calls and videoconferencing are preferred ways to communicate with a prospective donor. However, if you have a difficult time contacting donors by phone, send an email, but make it very personal. Use language such as this. “I hope you are all doing well in these difficult times.”
Prepare talking points for your call.
If the door is open, let the person know what your church is doing. TELL YOUR STORY!!! KNOW YOUR STORY! Share a testimony and an impact story. How have you been making a difference? Share some successes.
Not every phone call will end in an ask. If it doesn’t seem like an appropriate time to discuss a gift to the church, thank them for their time and let them know you’ll be back in touch with them soon to check in on them and their family.
Strengthening your relationships with the donors of your church will help to keep the church in the forefront of the donor. Presenting the church’s goals, impact stories of how it serves others, and the mission of your church will help connect the ministries with the donor. During the pandemic, people will be thinking mainly about hospitals, frontline workers, and basic needs. By telling your stories and connecting with your donors, you are reminding them of the needs of the church, the people you serve and those you are connecting with to spread the Good News.
In times of uncertainty, people strengthen their relationship with the church. Now is a perfect time to reach out to parishioners for a variety of reasons. An additional gift of financial support is just one of the many possible outcomes that will come from a conversation that starts with simple words of kindness and compassion. It’s all about building relationships.
For questions or more information, contact Sheri Meister, president/ CEO of the Dakotas United Methodist Foundation
Supporting materials by:
Brian Bonde – Advanced Certified Fundraising, LLC
Joe Park – Horizons Stewardship
The Chronical of Philanthropy