The process of seeking and gathering financial contributions is called fundraising. It is the request for financial support to execute a project or to raise a living for the hopeless.
It is an organized activity to make people see the need to contribute to the growth of an organization. Fundraising is one of the major methods of getting money to run the budget of an organization including the church. It is Biblical as there are records of fundraising in the Bible.
The purpose of fundraising is to build a healthy Church. That means God is central to whatever efforts and projects are to be carried out. Since the Bible is the standard for life and godliness, a bend of the two models above would be good for our use.
Strategy 1: Prayer
Seek God for divine direction. Moses went to God, and all leaders (Administrators) who want to run the affair of the Church successfully needed to know the mind of God.
Strategy 2: Identification
Identify the financing needs and set priorities. Moses was able to know what he would need people’s help for, (the Tabernacle). The needs were specific (money and skills).
Strategy 3: Selection
Select a Team or identify the specific group suitable for the project. It is not everyone could be good at fundraising thus there is a need to identify those good for the assignment and call upon them.
Strategy 4: Goal Setting
Set the goal and fundraising purpose. This stage is very crucial and may need a lot of time. When the mobilizing team does not understand the reason for mobilization, they lack the zeal and burden for the assignment.
Strategy 5: Education
Educate the people or sell the funding purpose to the people. The teaching of the Apostles in the early church in Acts made a great impression in the hearts of the people on the need to be part of God’s kingdom.
It also made them know that they have roles to play. So, there is a need for proper education on the needs and what is expected from the people. This can be through leaflets/handbills/letters.
Strategy 6: Persuasion
The education stage is to persuade people to believe in the purpose of fundraising. It is to understand the goal and to be prepared to be part of what God is about to do or is already doing. But the mobilization stage is to summon people to begin work or commit themselves to what they have promised or believed.
It is at this level that groupings and options are laid before the people, for example, those to give money and those to give skills. The graded options are presented to make room for all levels of people to be part of the fundraising, thus those with millions, thousands, and hundreds are all accommodated easily. Thus, the money or goods are collected.
Strategy 7: Enlisting
Enlisting covenant partners/burden bearers – for faith-based organizations like the church, there is a need to enlist people who support the vision of a leader and are ready to support his efforts to grow the organization.
Aside from the dues or mandatory/statutory offerings, there is a need to seek financial support from willing individuals. Those whose hearts have been stirred by God to give like Barnabas (Acts 4: 36 & 37)
Strategy 8: Friendship and Fellowship
Those who are your friends and prayer partners who know what you are up to and what you are passing through are not likely to watch you suffer when you have needs. Such persons are likely to respond to meet your needs before you tell them.
The same thing applies to the church. The leadership is to have an open and transparent relationship with as many members as possible. Among these should be close associates who would go the extra mile to meet the needs as it happened in Acts 4: 2-5.
Strategy 9: Organization
Organizations run on the wheels of human and material resources. Therefore, there should be statutory contributions that members are expected to pay for the running of the organization. In church, apart from Tithes and Offering, sometimes there are dues and levies placed on the individual or family.
Strategy 10: Bonds and investments
The Church may engage in financial bonds and in investments that will not tarnish the image of the church.
Fundraising is one of the most important activities of organizational life. Without funds, an organization may cease to exist or at least may not be able to effectively fulfill its mandate. Without funds, the capacity of the church is limited and growth will be hindered.
How fundraising can be treated?
But fundraising cannot be treated in isolation. The success achieved in the early church is premised on the integrity of the Apostles.
When some of the Associates of the Apostles were about to compromise the system as seen in Acts 6, urgent steps that were acceptable to the congregation were taken. So if fundraising is not going to cause division instead of the growth and progress expected, all stakeholders must not only be honest, they must be accountable to the people.
The system must ensure fairness in all aspects, fear of God at all levels, openness at all times, and humility in dealing with the people.
Only strategies may not work
The strategy alone does not make progress, much is with the facilitators who are to implement, monitor, and apply the resources. Unless the church is very clear about why it exists, focuses on it, and dues, not allowing any distraction.
The approach must be holistic, the implementation just, and accountability transparently carried out. Progress is moving forward on God’s terms, not on human terms.
The two Biblical examples presented earlier were to fulfill God’s injunction on any project before embarking on it, if not, God will not provide resources for what he has not sent the church. Again, God will not put resources in the hands of those who will not use them to glorify Him.
The goal of fundraising should be to secure sufficient resources for the church to fulfill her God-giving mandate effectively and to set the church apart from the pollution around her. Therefore, raising funding indiscriminately will negate the objective of the church and can result in drafting from her mission.
Progress is measured by now obediently that the church pursues her divine mandate not by now much wealth is acquired. Thus seeking to know the mind of God and doing it is much more important than following the footsteps of others. The Bible said that you should not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him (Mathew 6: 8)
A lecture was delivered by Rev. Tunji Taiwo at Ibadan Baptist Conference Workers’ Retreat 2022.
Tunji Taiwo (Rev’D)