This article was originally published on npENGAGE.
As a religious organization, your donors are at the heart of your mission. Their generosity and financial support is what allows you to carry out your work and set a bold vision for the future. Yet, far too many religious organizations shy away from talking about fundraising with donors, members and other friends of the organization because they worry that doing so will turn off supporters or otherwise compromise their spiritual mission.
Nothing could be further from the truth. When approached correctly, your fundraising message can not only honor your spiritual work, but can also help to deepen the relationship between your organization, your donors, and the people that you serve.
Here are 4 ways to talk about faith-based fundraising that will help you honor your spiritual work and deepen the relationships with those you serve:
1. Introduce Your Supporters to Faithful Stewardship
The interplay between faith and finances has always been fraught with questions. Perhaps this is why faith-centered nonprofits are so reluctant to talk about fundraising. The best way to deal with this situation is to introduce (and constantly reinforce) the concept of faithful stewardship to your supporters.
As people of faith, your donors are called to be good stewards of the gifts they have been given. These gifts include time, talent and treasure. Being a faithful steward means to put each of these gifts towards their rightful purposes. Thus, your supporters should be using their resources to provide for their families, to help those in need, and to make the world a better place.
Donating time and money to your nonprofit is one of the ways that your supporters can help those in need and/or make the world a better place. Show your donors how giving to your organization is part of being a good and faithful steward.
2. Highlight the Outcomes of Your Work
All donors like to see tangible outcomes from their donations. One of the best ways to encourage donors to give is to highlight the real, life-changing outcomes of your work in your fundraising materials.
While many faith-based nonprofits can show traditional tangible outcomes such as hungry mouths fed or homeless families sheltered, you don’t need physical outcomes in order to be able to highlight the results of your work to donors. If your organization’s accomplishments are more in the spiritual realm, you can just as effectively highlight the lives you have changed or the communities you have brought together. Donors want to see real, honest-to-goodness outcomes, but those outcomes can just as easily be spiritual as they can be tangible.
3. Show the Connection between Faith, Finances, and Spiritual Outcomes
It is important for faith-centered organizations to tie together faith, finances and spiritual outcomes for their donors, members and prospects. When talking to supporters about fundraising, show them how faith can lead to good stewardship, which in turn can lead to financial support for your non-profit, which itself can lead to real outcomes that are clearly in line with the faith of your donor. Showing these connections can make it much easier for your supporters to make gifts to your organization.
For example, if you are church with a strong faith in serving the poor, talk to your donors about that belief, teach them good stewardship of their finances, and tell them how being good stewards can allow them to reserve a portion of their income to support your work with the poor. Make the connection, then ask them to donate.
4. Be Proud of Your Fundraising Efforts
One of the biggest reasons why many religious organizations don’t raise as much as they otherwise could is because they are shy about fundraising. They worry that talking about fundraising will turn off their faithful supporters or make the organization seem too focused on money. This, in turn, becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you are wary and nervous when you talk about fundraising, your supporters and members will of course become suspicious and wary when they hear about fundraising.
Your nonprofit does good work. You need to raise money in order to do that work. In order to raise money, you need to ask your supporters to make gifts to your organization. There is a direct correlation between the amount of money you raise and the total work your nonprofit is able to carry out. So, be proud of your fundraising efforts… invite your supporters to be good stewards of their time, talent and treasure by donating to your organization, and in so doing, to make the world a better place.