Pain Brings Change
When I joined staff, I worked diligently on funding to get to campus. But a few years later, support had dwindled, and I struggled to get by at just 63% of my budget. Eventually, my campus supervisor “gave me the freedom” (i.e., reduced my hours on campus) to focus more on funding. Instead of fundraising, however, my solution was to get not one…not two…but three part-time jobs to make ends meet.
Toward the end of the school year, I realized that because my support was low and I worked so much, I had missed some great ministry opportunities with people. By the time summer came, I felt highly motivated to fundraise. I wanted to be back on campus!
In the past, I relied primarily on phone calls and email to raise funds, but I wanted to do things differently this time. I wanted to be more personal and intentional in ministry partner development. I scheduled 12 face-to-face appointments for one week during the summer. The appointments were spread out geographically, so this became a short trip. I determined to clearly share my vision, calling, and financial goals at each appointment. And with five of these individuals, I planned to ask for “big” monthly support. I also determined not to make up people’s minds for them. I would ask for a specific amount and let them decide with God yes or no and whether the amount I presented was what God wanted them to do.
As I prepared for the trip, something interesting happened. People around me wanted to know what I was doing. Some gave special gifts, and others even increased their giving once they knew I needed to raise more money.
I set out on my funding trip and had great times of connecting and sharing my vision and ministry with friends. One man said I was the first missionary ever to visit his home!
At the end of my one-week funding trip, not only had I had 12 great conversations with people I really enjoy, I also had raised $380 in new monthly support and $1,765 in special gifts. At this rate, I would soon also have the freedom to leave the part-time jobs to focus on investing in people’s lives the way I believed God wanted.
A few things stood out to me from that week last summer:
-People appreciated me clearly stating an amount for them to pray about giving instead of being vague or indirect. Some even thanked me for asking, “Does God want you to support me at $150 a month?”
-I saw the value and effectiveness of face-to-face appointments. Being able to engage personally and see peoples’ faces made it easier to relate. While phone calls and letters can work, personal appointments were more effective.
-My trust in God grew. Psalm 73:28 (ESV) says: “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” As I spent a lot of time in the Word and prayer while fundraising last summer, I got a different view of God being my refuge. While I get to tell of all God’s works to students at UCLA, I saw fundraising as an opportunity to tell past, current and potentially future donors about the works God had done on campus.
-I even like fundraising a little more!
Fundraising is an opportunity for me to share with current and potential ministry partners what God is doing—because God is doing some pretty cool things!
Jason Jew, Collegiate Staff, UCLA
Contact Jason by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.