- 1. A person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.
- 1a. A person who pleads on someone else’s behalf.
- 1b. A pleader in a court of law; a lawyer
- syn. champion, supporter, backer, promoter, proponent, exponent, spokesperson, campaigner, fighter, crusader
We’ve never asked for or wanted mere donors, we’re always looking for partners; and the most precious kind of partner is an advocate. Someone who will go on record in support of the ministry that the Lord has put before us.
Our advocates are – on average – 50% more helpful than other ongoing financial partners. In the 11-plus years that we’ve been in vocational ministry, their advocacy is responsible for more than 60% of the financial support that people have ever contributed – more than $500,000 in total.
Simply, we need help networking into new circles of people. It’s the only way that we’ve ever seen ongoing success in finding financial partners.
Consider how you could help.
Get out a pen and paper – go ahead, I’ll wait, then do one of three things: open your contacts list on your computer, go to your friends’ page on Facebook or get out your Rolodex™. (Wait, you still have a Rolodex?)
Before you start looking through your list, remember we are not just looking for funds. Do not just try to figure out the people you know who can give.
As you look through your lists, think through these questions and see if you can think of at least one person in each category:
- If you were going into full-time vocational ministry, who would you ask first?
- Who are the people from your church that you would ask?
- Who are people from other local churches that you’d ask? Who are other believers you work with that you’d ask?
- Are there family members that you’d ask?
- Are there friends who don’t live near you that you’d contact? People where you used to live? People who have moved away?
- Is there anyone else that you’re pretty sure cares, but are certain that they can not give?
60% of our support comes from people that we did not know before friends referred us to them. Referrals are often more valuable than the financial partnership that any one person is able to do.
How We Connect
- You brainstorm.
- You collect contact info. (Mail or email; and phone number)
- Email or letter sent.
- We call them.
- If they’re interested we’ll meet with them.
- Rinse & repeat.
After you brainstorm your list, pull together some contact information for them, a way to mail or email them and a way to call them is vital.
At this point we would send them a letter or an email. In the message, we will let them know that you thought it would be worthwhile to connect us and that we will call in a day or two. When we get ahold of them on the phone we will try to schedule a meeting with them wherever they would like to meet, or a time to make a video call.
Our hope would be to connect with them, get to know them, share our mission and vision, and invite them to partner with us in prayer and/or financially if the Lord leads them.
What Not to Do
Some people filter the names they can think of through the question, “Who do I know who can afford to support this staff member?” Most people do not know the financial abilities of their friends. We have found that, even if they were not in a position to support us, most people were encouraged to hear about what God is doing through our ministry.
Others will want to have their friends contact us, or contact their friends first. We have never in all of our years had anyone’s connection contact us first. If you’d prefer to talk to them first, the best way that we’ve had someone do that is by emailing your friend and us on the same email to connect us and allow us to follow up with a phone call. Leaving it totally in someone else’s court never works; not just rarely, never. Even if they care, it’s not a priority for them like it is for us.
We always try to honor your relationship with your friend, if they’re not interested and tell us so we will not continue to contact them or ask them again. We’ve contacted 1,400 people and families over the past 11 years, we’ve had someone get upset about being contacted twice. And one of them ended up meeting with us when they realized we weren’t a telemarketer.
We need advocates, people who are willing to go out on a limb for us and for the work that the Lord has put before us. Could you fill that gap for us?