The other day I sat down with a pastor who had an incredible dream for his church. He’s an awesome dude. Talented. Smart. Successful. He had some great ideas. And he was passionate about them. But over tomato soup and blackened fish (which was delicious, by the way), he told me all the reasons why he couldn’t ask people for money:
“It’s not my gifting. I’m scared it will make people mad. I’m not wired to ask for donations.”
As he talked, one thought kept running through my mind: As great as this guy is, if he keeps making excuses, he’s going to stay broke.
He made a lot of deposits into his vision by explaining his ideas, articulating how his ideas would help people, and dreaming up the results. But he also made a lot of withdrawals from his vision by making excuses for why he wouldn’t ask people for money.
Unfortunately, when you make more withdrawals than deposits, you end up with a broke vision.
I see this a lot when it comes to leading a church in the area of raising money—pastors who rob their vision of momentum. They aren’t bad people. They aren’t negative people. They’re great people (like the guy I met for that delicious blackened fish). And many of their excuses are valid.
But as long as churches allow their excuses to stand in the way of raising money, they will remain broke.
When we started Rocket Donations, we wanted to help pastors and church leaders fast-forward the way they communicate with their congregation about money. And we wanted to combine that with intuitive, easy-to-use technology.
Basically, we wanted to take away the excuses and do most of the work for you!
As we talk with pastors who have churches they want to fund, there are excuses we hear more than others. Here are eight of the most common:
I don’t know where to start.
This is an example of a valid excuse. When I ventured into raising money for the first time, I didn’t know where to start either. But not knowing where to start shouldn’t stop you from figuring out where to start. Don’t stop because you don’t know. That will most definitely keep your church broke.
I’m not gifted to do this.
Listen, not many people are “gifted” at asking other people for money. There may be people out there who are better at it than you, but that’s probably because they’ve practiced. They’ve discovered what works for them, and they’ve done it over and over. Oh yeah, and they’ve refused to give up.
I’m not good with all the technology stuff.
This statement comes from people who don’t like, or aren’t familiar with, things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogging, or other social media resources. The truth is, people were successful at raising money long before social media came along. There are other ways.
Or, here’s another idea: learn something new! Get online. Give it a shot. You’re not going to hurt yourself or blow something up.
When it comes to digital giving in your church, don’t just look for a software that provides digital giving. Look for a software that emphasizes recurring donations. It should be clear. It should be present. It should be the default.
I tried it, and it didn’t work.
This is like saying you put your pinkie toe in the water, it was too cold, so you refuse to ever get in the water again. So, you tried to sell Krispy Kreme donuts one weekend and you didn’t hit your fundraising goal. It’s not a reason to quit. Here’s what I know—there are very few ideas that people won’t fund. If you have the right plan in place, it’s almost impossible to fail.
Most people who fail at raising money do so because their method is flawed, not their idea. When a toddler is learning to walk and he or she falls down and hits the floor, it’s not the floor’s fault. It’s their method of walking and balancing. But toddlers will fall, flip, hit the wall, bump their heads, skin their knees until they get the hang of it. You and I can learn a lot from them. We need to become “until” people. We need to commit to trying until it’s done. We need to keep asking until the money is raised.
People will get mad at me.
I have a lot to say about this, but I’ll give my short response: the people who get mad at you for raising money are not the right people to care about. I’m not saying you shouldn’t care about them as people. I’m saying you should care more about your dream than what they think of you.
You have to get over your fear of rejection. I bet you’re grateful for other people who got over it. Think of all the hospitals, schools, programs, and non-profits that exist because people asked for money. And those people are no different from you. They were probably worried that they’d come across as annoying or greedy. But they believed enough in their vision to confront their fears and get over it. You must do the same.
What if I lose Twitter followers?
Or Facebook friends? Or Instagram likes? This may sound insane to some of you, but it holds a lot of people back from asking for money. Your friends don’t want to hear about your dream forever, but they do want to hear about it for a season.
I don’t have time.
Have you ever put together a piece of furniture the wrong way? After you lost your temper, you finally decided to read the instructions for the first time. Once you saw the proper steps to assemble the piece you thought, Ahhhhhh! Now, that makes a lot more sense! If only I had read the instructions the first time, I would’ve saved myself a lot of time.
Raising money is similar. Most people who don’t do it right make it complicated. As a general rule, things that are more complicated take up more time. When you do it correctly—or simply—you’ll be amazed at how much time it saves.
I’m not being fully supported.
Every time you blame someone else, you absolve yourself of responsibility. That is the exact opposite of what I want you to do. I want you to see raising the money as your responsibility. So the lack of support from your congregation, the board, elders, donors, staff, social media, etc.—it shouldn’t ruin your day or your dreams. Why? Because it’s not their responsibility, it’s not their dream, it’s yours.
Excuses, at the end of the day, are all based on one thing—fear. Fear of people. Fear of rejection. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure.
But that fear is based on emotion, not reality.
Because of the way we’ve seen certain people raise money, we’ve convinced ourselves that it has to be awkward. That simply isn’t true.
Your fears will exist. And some of your excuses will be valid. But you have to move anyway. You have to do something. Or you will stay broke.
The guy I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter . . . at the end of our lunch he looked at me and said, “Man, I feel like you just gave me a swift kick in the gut.” Because I did. He was standing on a rug of excuses and I pulled it out from under him. All he could do was stand up, dust himself off, and get moving.
Don’t quit! Take action!