Seeing Donors as Ministry Partners - Part 1

Jul 14, 2020

Semantics matter.
I’ll be the first to make that case.

When I first raised support to minister on a local university campus, I started with several months of “FD” or “Fund Development.” 

A few years later, my organization changed the term to “MPD” or “Ministry Partner Development.” The terminology was a welcome change! 

“Fund Development” brings up images of cold, hard cash, line items on budgets, and people writing checks. While this is helpful and a big part of our work as support-raisers, this is not the end goal nor the main point of fundraising.

What are we doing when we raise funds?

We are developing Kingdom-minded partners, creating a team, gathering a cheering squad, inviting investors, and raising up prayer warriors. 

In secular terms, think of your endeavors like a potential entrepreneurship strategy. You are inviting people to give towards a vision and invest in an important work. They are not just making that work happen, but they are investing in you. 

In a business relationship, you would need to build trust with your investors to show that you and your plans are worth their venture. In the laying out of your plans, you wouldn’t be half-hearted, unsure, or mumbling a meager “If you could, maybe, uh, what I need is….”

No! You would be so fired up about your strategy and blueprints that your potential investor would be thrilled to put his money on this one. You wouldn’t just have the facts, the statistics, the slick presentation. You would have the heart to connect, to build a relationship, to show the investor she is worthy of your time. You would value that investor as a partner because you know that without her and people like her, your strategies are going nowhere. 

William Carey, missionary to India, called his donors “rope-holders.” They stand at the edge of the pit and hold the rope while he hangs onto the rope and is lowered into the pit to retrieve “diamonds” - the souls for which Christ died.

What would happen if the rope-holders let go of their rope? What if they just assumed their role of “supporting” was meaningless since they weren’t “doing ministry” in the pit? The whole endeavor would be lost. There would be no more rescue mission.

Who would you say are your “rope-holders?” Do they understand their value to your team? 

I encourage you to monthly remind your donors, collectively and individually, how much they mean to you and your ministry. Your work would literally not exist without them holding onto your rope. Praise God for our Ministry Partners!


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