5 Mistakes Planters Make While Raising Funds

1) Interpreting ‘no’ to mean ‘never’.

Think of fundraising like an interstate that you are travelling on towards the destination. You are inviting people to join you in the journey. If someone says ‘no’, don’t assume that means ‘never’. Instead, give them easy on-ramps throughout the journey to re-consider how they can get involved. When someone tells me ‘no’, I ask them if I can still add them to my email list. This keeps the conversation going, as they get to hear all of the exciting stories of how God is at work.

Then, I love to circle back with them around Christmas or invite them to our annual vision dinners in the summer where they can have another opportunity to say ‘yes’. Some people just need more time or need to see more before they say yes.

2) Mis-timing your ask.

Timing is one of the most important factors to consider in raising funds. Asking at the wrong time could cause a potential donor to have to say no, due to circumstances. Take into account when you will talk to an individual or family about giving. I’ve found that the end of summer is not a good time to talk with most families, as they might be overwhelmed with back-to-school costs (especially if they have college students). If you know that a potential donor is going through a period of instability or stress, it would be best to wait to have that conversation further down the road.

Great times to ask donors are around the holidays, after tax returns come in, and at the beginning of summer (when they’re in a good mood!). But quite frankly, this varies greatly depending on the individual and their circumstances. Just be mindful and sensitive first.

3) Just asking for money.

I’ve found that some donors’ greatest gift to our church plant is their ability to recruit other people to give from their relational network. Add to the end of your conversations the question, “Who do you know that may be interested in also helping us achieve this vision?” People are always more likely to give if they have friends that are already bought into the vision and have personally recommended them.

4) Not valuing their prayers.

Show that you truly value the intentional prayers of your support family by regularly sharing prayer requests. And make sure to often celebrate answered prayer requests with them.


5) Forgetting that fundraising is a form of ministry.

Raising funds is not just the path that allows you to do ministry. Raising funds is ministry, as you are casting your vision and inviting people to be involved with it. Don’t feel guilty for inviting people into the vision that God has given you! It’s a great privilege to share our vision with others.


Stephen Sargent

Stephen is a Church Planting Resident at Grace Church and is preparing to plant a church in Bridgewater, MA in the fall of 2018.