Whether you happen to raise all, some, or none of your salary and operations budget personally, I encourage you to check out today’s questions, offered humbly to all of us. Because we all have to get financed from somewhere.
I haven’t written much about raising support, in large part because it’s something I’m not particularly acquainted with. But I recognize – and we all should recognize – that most college ministers personally raise their support from individuals and groups. Let us who live in helpful financial arrangements (because of our region, our branch of college ministry, or something else) not forget that fact. Support-raising is the norm.
But I try to limit myself in this blog and in conversations to things I’ve studied or experienced, and fundraising doesn’t fit either category too much. However, I did have the fantastic opportunity to sit in on some lengthy support-raising discussions yesterday, among none other than Campus Crusade staffers in the Northeast (who doubly know something about the need to raise funds – or participate in Ministry Partner Development, as they call it).
That certainly doesn’t make me an expert, but it got me thinking about what I have been able to see around the country in this area. The first of my questions today, with more to come.
1. When raising support – whether it’s financial, prayer, organizational, or any other kind of support – do you focus on connecting people to the mission or only to you?
That was the big point of my friend Ryan McReynolds’s portion of yesterday’s presentation: Don’t just win people over to supporting you; bring them into the wonderful idea of participating (with you) in transforming college students’ lives. And this applies to intangible support, too – which might make all the difference in keeping your job, growing your ministry, and impacting a campus. (Read more on that here.)
2. Regardless of how you’re presently paid and the work is supported, could God have other means in mind, too?
If you don’t have ministry partners… could you? Should you? Even a few? Even in church college ministry or Christian college spiritual life?
If you do support-raise, are there any alternate options for financing alongside that? Even a little bit?
We shouldn’t dismiss options simply because of inertia and a good argument or two for “the way we’ve always done it.” What if God has something surprising in mind? Would you even give Him a chance to show you?
3. How much (and how quickly) are alumni connected to your ministry after they graduate, as prayer support, moral support, and perhaps even financial support?
This seems like low-hanging fruit to me – again, even for church-based and Christian college spiritual life, not to mention for campus-based college ministry and collegiate churches. Having gone to Texas A&M, I’ve seen a great picture of alumni outreach in a secular environment; sadly, it doesn’t seem like this happens much in college ministries. But it could have benefits both for college ministries and their alumni!
This discussion continues in the next post!
Meanwhile, do you have any thoughts – or questions of your own? Many of you know more than me about this – I’d love to hear your wisdom, links, etc.
written from Charlottesville, VA
Exploring College Ministry Road Trip 13: Day 50 recap
recap: More of Campus Crusade’s NE Regional Staff Conference in NY, then a 10-hour drive to Charlottesville (see all explorations so far)
T-shirts: the Prof (!) tribe of Rowan University
monday: exploring the University of Virginia!