The Fear of Fundraising
Whenever we ask our missionaries, “What was your biggest hesitation to joining our team?” the answer is always fundraising. Even though they knew they were called by God to this ministry and saw others living joyfully as fully-funded missionaries, for some reason, there was still so much fear around the reality of fundraising.
That’s my story too. And still is from time. Even though I have donors supporting and fueling this work of God, there are still times when I give into fear and fail to invite others into this mission. Fundraising is counter-cultural and can become surrounded by lies, which is how the fear creeps in. What helps me in these moments, where I’m wavering between cowardice and courage, is to remember what fundraising truly is and why God has called me to it.
Let’s speak truth into some common lies surrounding fundraising.
Myth: Fundraising is Begging
This is the biggest stumbling block, believing that anyone who asks for money is begging. One spiritual writer boldly combatted this lie, saying that “fundraising is precisely the opposite of begging.” Why? Begging is asking for help in a helpless situation. There is nothing helpless about support raising. God has empowered this mission, and God is never helpless.
What helps me in these moments, where I’m wavering between cowardice and courage, is to remember what fundraising truly is and why God has called me to it.
When you meet with a potential supporter, this is the invitation you’re offering: “God wants to send me to change lives. Will you make this possible by your prayers and financial support?” Nothing about that is begging. You are asking people to invest in you and the mission God is calling you on. It’s not a handout, it’s a partnership that brings about the kingdom of God.
Myth: People Won’t Support Me Being a Missionary
Being a missionary goes against most career advice we receive as teenagers. So, our loved ones can often be very critical of us taking this path. Sometimes, their response can be very disheartening, so much so, that you might think no one will ever support your mission.
However, without fail, once our missionaries begin fundraising, they meet countless people who have great enthusiasm for what God is calling them to. People want to support the mission. God called you, and He will call them. Here’s what one of our missionaries had to say about this realization:
“The reality was people were excited for me to be a missionary. They knew I was called to it-especially when they saw my face full of joy for the mission. People’s generosity changed my perspective. People want to help.”
You are asking people to invest in you and the mission God is calling you on. It’s not a handout, it’s a partnership that brings about the kingdom of God.
Myth: Fundraising is Unprofessional
Artists, writers, musicians, inventors, innovators, athletes, Olympians, missionaries—some would say these careers are a waste of money or of a degree. But in all of these cases, someone is pursuing their passion to make the world a better and more beautiful place to live.
If you’re a missionary, you’re responding to a call from God, to live His vision for your life, greater than anything you could dream up on your own. That call should not be refused. Also, labeling fundraising as “unprofessional” could not be further from the truth.
Support raising required me to be more professional than I ever had before in my life. I had to set a budget for myself and stick to it. I had to call people and set up meetings. In every appointment, I had to advocate for the work God was doing in my ministry and articulate why partnering with this mission was worthwhile. Responding to God’s call and communicating a vision worth investing in is anything but unprofessional.
Myth: I’m Going to be Poor
Often, there’s an idea that missionaries won’t fundraise enough to meet their needs, or that they won’t have money to do anything enjoyable, that they’re doomed to sit at home and eat ramen. Not true. God takes care of His own. He wants to provide for you.
God takes fundraising, something that can be scary, intimidating, and feel like such a burden, and He makes it into a ministry all its own.
As a missionary, you are carrying out His mission. He is going to bring you what you need. Around the Ablaze office we have a motto that says God wants His ministers to thrive in ministry, not just to survive. Our missionaries set a budget for their monthly expenses, and then they fundraise to meet that amount. Each missionary seeks out the people God is calling to make this mission a reality, and He provides.
Myth: This is Impossible
Nothing is impossible for God. The Lord has done amazing things in situations that seemed completely hopeless. He is faithful. It’s His work. He can bring it to completion. Yes, support raising is going to be hard, but it’s not impossible. And the best part is, God takes fundraising, something that can be scary, intimidating, and feel like such a burden, and He makes it into a ministry all its own. You’ll have opportunities to trust Him like never before. You’ll talk about your faith with people you would never have been able to otherwise. He will use your personal support raising to transform you and to transform the lives of those you meet with. Oh, it’s possible all right. More than possible. It’s a blessing.
If you would like to hear one Ablaze missionary’s personal testimony about fundraising then please read Praise God for Fundraising!