When asking for large gifts, pastors must lead the way, according to fundraising expert Bill Dillon of PeopleRaising, because they are closest to the vision and most likely to have cultivated relationships with most of the congregation.
"There is fear in asking," he says, "but people can learn to ask." Dillon teaches fundraising to missionaries and parachurch leaders, in addition to raising funds for his own ministry. Here are his recommendations:
• Meet with potential donors individually. Ask for pledges in one-on-one meetings. Avoid "making an announcement from the pulpit." Nothing is more effective than a personal invitation to participate.
• Be specific about the size of the gift. Base the number on what you know about the donor's lifestyle, rather than rumors about their church contribution record.
• Suggest a gift range. For example, "We need five people to give between $25,000 and $50,000 before Thanksgiving."
• Slow the discussion before the mention of money. Dillon ...1