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Blog » Overcoming Fundraising Anxiety: The Why

Overcoming Fundraising Anxiety: The Why

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I have a friend who has been great at introducing me to people of high net worth over the years so that I can find out if they’ll be willing to engage in a project that I’m seeking to get funded.

He’s a great guy and crazy connected. But he has a deep-down fear of asking people for money. We can be at a restaurant together with a prospective donor, and if I lean in as if I’m about to ask a question, he’ll jet to the men’s room within two seconds out of the fear of what may be coming next. Love for a ministry’s mission and a fear of asking for people to participate are conflicting attributes when you’re striving to grow your church!

I shared that story in my book, What Have I Gotten Myself Into, and in this blog series, we’ll tackle fundraising anxieties head-on. Most of us in pastoral or church leadership roles were not trained to ask for money, nor is it something we relish thinking about. We’re called into ministry to serve God and pursue kingdom work, and yet, the thought of seeking financial support for that mission is intimidating. Asking people for anything can be hard, and fundraising can seem incredibly awkward and challenging, especially if we come at it from the perspective of seeing donors as financial targets.

We need to change our narrative and approach – and sometimes, we really need to change the way WE think about asking our congregants and donors for financial support. 

We have to shift our lens to see people not with dollar signs but rather as real people seeking to make a difference with their unique ability to give away money, blending our marketing with true ministry and authenticity. There’s a simple methodology of progression— from acknowledgment to trust building to presentation of the case for support, and finally, to asking— that has been a lift to those trying to fund great projects while feeling anxious about asking. Donors first, dollars second. 

There’s a great article by Marc Koenig at called “7 Tips on Asking for Donations— It’s Intimidating, We Get It.” Koenig asserts, “We don’t convince donors. We help them realize that they already care.” So, in this series, we’ll unmask the keys to relationship-based fundraising, which is the key to taking the air out of fundraising anxieties. 

As always, if you need guidance or advice about your church’s stewardship program, our partnership with ACST means our expertise is available to you. If you’d like counsel about any aspect of donor relations or your church’s development plans, contact us, and we’ll be happy to talk with you.

Tim Smith

Tim has over 30 years of experience in Church, Non-Profit Administration, Management, and Fund Development.  Serving as an Executive Pastor and Chief Development Officer in growing Churches and Non-Profit Organizations. He has provided a wide range of expertise and resources. Tim serves as the Founder and CEO of  Non-Profit DNA. A boutique firm committed to helping nonprofits and churches. By building their capacity through fundraising, leadership, team building, staff recruiting, and coaching.

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