I’m sure you want to start your fundraising strong in the New Year but, as the weeks pass, you find yourself too busy with other tasks and then fall behind. Eventually, you lose motivation.
Falling behind with my fundraising has happened to me, and it’s why I don’t bother setting funding targets anymore—at least not the usual way. When I think of raising funds for a Catholic charity, school, parish, diocese, religious order, or lay apostolate, I know some missions are just too important to entrust to a faulty fundraising approach.
Instead, I use a proven fundraising approach which structures itself around the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. That way, I protect myself from the many pitfalls and failings of typical fundraising.
This approach has taken me years to develop, and I’ve seen it work not only in my activities but also in the campaigns of countless Catholic causes with whom I’ve shared it.
Some people will say that the best way to raise funds is to plan a capital campaign and frantically tell everyone you know to donate. But that method is way too time-consuming, fatiguing, and probably a lot of you work, wouldn’t you agree?
We’re talking about the things that matter most: your mission. Why would you run around aimlessly in the hope of finding donors and, at a much faster speed, burn yourself out? Instead of losing steam, you just need to use a method that actually works.
What Your Day Should Look Like as a Fundraiser
An effective fundraising method must factor in what you do in your day-to-day. In fact, it’s that simple. If you focus on the right tasks during your day, you set yourself up to raise funds.
Your day must factor at least five tasks which parallel the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
1. Start with prayer. Unless you begin your fundraising with prayer, you are sure to fall off track. Your intentions should be focused on asking God for the ability to keep your eyes and ears open to the resources and people God is placing before you.
2. Respond to day-to-day contacts. Use Email, letters, and phone calls to respond to people you’ve been in touch with over the past week and month. You must always remember that donations come from the hands of other people.
3. Build awareness about your mission. Leverage your social media, website, and email to build visibility. I frequently say that you must have people’s attention and trust before they will say ‘yes’ to a donation request. Keep spreading the message of your work.
4. Ask for donations. Reflect on how the Catechism teaches us that the first movement of a petition is asking forgiveness. What is it that you truly are asking for forgiveness? That you are bothering someone with your request, or that you aren’t the best charity and that you are still learning the ropes.
5. Follow-up with outstanding decisions. Checking back with the people you’ve spoken with about a donation is 90% of getting the donation. You have to follow-up.
Getting Better with Your Daily Fundraising
I suggest spending at least two hours a day completing all of these tasks. If you cannot find that much time, start with whatever you have available. Then add more time each week.
I got into the habit of doing these five actions and saw a big difference in my fundraising results. I was much more focused, and in just a few weeks, I uncovered the many opportunities God was placing before me. It was quite incredible. I hadn’t seen all the blessings God was giving to me before, but then I was more self-aware of all the people and opportunities.
My approach before was to run and chase money and people. Now, my approach was focused on God, recognizing the gifts and people he placed before me and acting on them. There was now much more collaboration with God’s will and mine when it came to fundraising. My morale was much higher too. I was joyful when speaking with donors and prospects. They saw this and were even happier to make donations.
How You Can Improve Your Fundraising Today
Life’s too short for typical fundraising approaches which almost guarantee you failure. The good news is that you can shortcut the heartache, stop counting on luck, and finally succeed. Better yet, you can spend more time doing what you want to do: saving more lives and souls.
I recommend you follow this day-to-day approach which and immediately move your fundraising in the right direction. You can also start by using this simple pray, pray, pray, ask method to move you in the right direction.
Pray – Take time to reflect on what your average fundraising day looks like. Read Genesis 29:20 and reflect on the patience of Jacob. In our modern times, we get anxious and want everything now. Take time to be patient and attentive to what is happening around you and whom God is placing in your life. How observant are you?
Pray – Reflect on when you can find 2 hours a day to do these tasks. Once you find the time, mark it in your diary. What gets put in your calendar usually gets done. If you don’t have 2 hours, start with whatever time you can make, mark that time in your diary, and move forward. Then, over time, try to increase your time dedicated to fundraising.
Pray – Start each of your fundraising days with prayer. You can use the daily readings or a reflection of a saint. Imagine yourself being aware of all the gifts that the Holy Spirit will provide for you that day, and see yourself recognizing them.
Ask – Go forward and take action with each task. Then, make sure to ask those people that God is placing in your life. Follow-up with the people whom you are waiting for a response. Most importantly, speak to the new people God places in your life.
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