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Realizing Your Ministry Dreams...7 Steps to Raising a Million Dollars or More

September 21, 2012

Proven steps to raising significant donations for your ministry
by Brian Kluth, Pastor, Speaker and Author
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At a fundraising training seminar, I asked ministry leaders, "What would you do with an extra $100,000 at your ministry?" The participants listed the items they would buy or programs they would implement. Then I asked them to make a list for an additional $ 500,000 and, finally an extra $1,000,000. We discovered everyone had dreams they weren't pursuing because they felt they wouldn't have the money.

We then discussed ways their ministry could raise the funds if the projects would enhance the ministry.

Over a number of years, several hundred ministry leaders attended development workshops sponsored by their professional association. There was always a recurring theme that came from ministry leaders across the nation. Christian leaders have a secret wish list.

The dreams have barely been acknowledged because there is a fear that money is unavailable for the dreams to become reality. It is as if God doesn't have enough resources to meet the needs. God isn't short on money. There certainly is no shortage of needs in the lives of people. But we must begin to dare to dream dreams that are in keeping with God's will.

Once these dreams have been fleshed out and are embraced by Christian leaders, staff and board, they are ready to be tested with the constituency to see if they have validity. The final proof of this, of course, is in whether or not the constituency will financially support the dream.

Support for the dream is usually related to fundraising methodology. Ministry leaders often need additional training to properly implement the fundraising plan.

If you have been reluctant to dream dreams and put these in writing because you are either continually battling red ink or you have grown comfortable with black ink, I would encourage you to consider this article as a challenge to get a glimpse of what God may have for your ministry.

STEP ONE: OPEN YOUR EYES to the needs of people. Most Christian leaders enter the ministry because they are sensitive to the needs of people and want to provide some answers for those needs. There comes a time when the battle of the budget or the comfort of the traditional tempts all of us to maintain the status quo.

The Scripture says, "where there is no vision, the people perish." This can happen to all of us if we fail to seek new areas of ministry that would touch more lives.

STEP TWO: PROVIDE SOLUTIONS that are designed to meet needs, not just build egos. All of us, especially when we are nearing the end of our professional careers, would like to complete one last building or institute a program that will be a monument to our tenure. The temptation to establish these benchmarks seems to be inherent in most Christian leaders.

Let us be sure that we are identifying solutions to needs that are in keeping with God's will as opposed to our selfish interests. Getting the counsel of many persons before embarking on our campaign to raise the funds is usually a safe-guard against monument building.

STEP THREE: A REALISTIC PLAN must be developed for raising the funds. We have all heard the strategy, "IF we could just get a thousand people to give $1,000, we would have the $1,000,000 we need for the project." This isn't practical because it isn't biblical. While it is possible to raise funds in this manner, it doesn't take into account the fact that people have varying amounts of money to give to your cause and varying degrees of commitment to the cause.

The bottom line for a Christian organization is to bring people to a stewardship decision, not just get money. Stewardship means making a decision that is compatible with the resources God has entrusted to us and the commitment that He has given to us for a particular cause. It doesn't mean everyone giving the same amount.

This plan usually falters along the way because most ministries don't have 1,000 people to give $1,000. Most ministries could raise $1,000,000 or more with the right plan.

STEP FOUR: APPROPRIATE LEADERSHIP must be in place for the plan to be implemented. There must be staff willing to commit a significant portion of time to the task of raising funds, and a large corps of volunteers who are willing to help access their friends and be the doers for much of the campaign.

For this reason, a ministry should be continually developing donors and their commitment to the cause. It is often a bit late to recruit these people for a campaign if there hasn't been ongoing effort to develop adult relationships within your constituency.

STEP FIVE: CAMPAIGN LEADERSHIP must be properly trained. Few people have the natural ability to ask others for money or even recruit them properly to a fundraising event. Training is critical to raising substantial dollars. It must include adequate materials and hands-on experiences in addition to the more traditional classroom methods.

STEP SIX: TIMELINES must be established so all participants in the fundraising effort will know when each activity is to take place and when evaluation will occur. The activity timelines are similar to road maps. Successful campaigns always have a tight game plan with someone to keep all participants on course all of the time.

STEP SEVEN: EVALUATION must be done consistently with staff and volunteers. Everyone needs feedback, and people will be more successful if there are regular checkpoints at which they will be evaluated. Evaluation must be kept positive, but if persons fail to follow through with their performance, immediate correction must be made. The correction is usually in the form of problem solving, increasing supervision or more training. Occasionally, a staff person or volunteer should be removed form the assigned activity and replaced by someone who will stick to the plan.

Dare to dream dreams. If God has given you a vision for improved ministry, He also has the funds available to underwrite the costs. I challenge you to ask yourself today, "What would I do if we had an extra $100,000 next year to improve our ministry?" Ask yourself the same question for several other amounts of money of significant portions.

As you develop the dream list that God is giving you, begin to share it with others. Ask them for their input, and to add to the dream list. You should include board members, staff and others who are particularly close to your ministry.

This exercise may take several months, but you will begin to get a feel for the direction in which the ministry should move. Continue the process until you can reduce these dreams to two or three pages of narrative explaining the need; what programs, facilities, personnel you should be adding in order to meet the needs, and what the total cost would be over the next several years.

Then ask yourself the question, "IF we were to go ahead with these plans, how would we raise the money?" If you don't know the answers, get some help from a knowledgeable development person or consultant.

Dream some dreams. They are the stuff that has made Christian ministries great. May we never become complacent by continually looking at a little bit of red or too much black.



Brian Kluth is a national and international speaker and writer on Biblical generosity and financial matters. He is also a church pastor and the founder of MAXIMUM Generosity, a public ministry dedicated to advancing Biblical generosity through inspirational preaching, leadership training seminars, writing, resources and the media. Brian’s written materials have been distributed to more than 350,000 Christian leaders in more than 100 countries .For additional materials or to contact Brian, email: or visit:

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