#6 Cultivate Donor Relationships for Effective Fundraising (WOLIM 9 Responsibilities)

Purpose: To help WOL field leadership understand the basics of WOL philosophy and strategy.

#6 Cultivate Donor Relationships for Effective Fundraising


Purpose: The Biblical leader recognizes that the advancement of God’s work must involve the cooperation and sacrificial giving of a large network of God’s people.

Lesson Expectation:

  • The leader will gain a Biblical understanding of support-based ministry and the vital relationship skills required.


Informed Donors

Donors need to be in the ‘know’ – they should never feel like they’re in the dark.  They need to be receiving regular, consistent, meaningful communication.  WOL Fields should have a written plan for how they are engaging donors through things like letter writing, email updates, Facebook updates, and other social media.

Trusting Donors

Did you know that most donors do not give a 2nd gift to a non-profit or charity?  But the ones that do are doing so because they have developed a ‘trust’ relationship with the organization.  They need to know that their hard earned money is in good hands.  They need to know immediately that their gift was received and that the organization was thankful for receiving it.  They need to receive timely receipts when appropriate.  All of these things may seem tedious and small to us but they speak volumes to the donor.

Challenged Donors

Donors need to be told what the next project is – the challenge is always in front of them until every young person has heard about Jesus.  So when challenge ‘A’ wraps up, you’re immediately ready to tell them about challenge ‘B’, ‘C’ and so on.

It’s important to remember, though, that you should not be alone in this effort of building relationships.  Everyone on your team knows people that would like to be involved financially.  And if your Board is set up, they should be a major factor in donor relations.  Truth be told, most ministry leaders are dissatisfied with their board’s involvement in fundraising, wish they had a larger development staff, and yearn for an income-producing endowment or stronger earned income streams that would relieve their ongoing worries about fundraising.

The field director is one of the most important participants in building relationships with key individual and institutional donors and ensuring effective board involvement in fundraising.  Deep involvement in fundraising is usually an inescapable part of the field director’s job. Several factors contribute to this reality:

  • Institutional funders, such as foundations and corporations, often make giving decisions based on their confidence in the field director’s leadership.
  • The most effective solicitor is someone whom the potential contributor views as a peer.

A core responsibility of the Field Director is also to equip his team to raise their full personal support and to give them opportunity to do so.  This should be a part of your afore-mentioned strategic plan and, when successful, will give a great amount of peace and freedom in your ministry.  Imagine if every one of your missionaries was fully funded!  WOL has created tools specifically for this through our partnership with Support Raising Solutions, for example.  Your responsibility is to follow-through and make sure this is passed on to all of your team.

Questions for consideration...

  • Being that fundraising responsibilities are included in your field director’s job description, have the board and field director worked together to develop realistic shared expectations for fundraising – including how board members will be involved in supporting fundraising?
  • Do we have a policy requiring individual board member contributions, and does someone on the board have clear responsibility for soliciting those gifts?
  • Do we have adequate staff to achieve our fundraising goals, and do we have the software and other tools staff members need to be successful?
  • Have you made sure that every one of your missionaries has gone through the Support Raising Solutions training, thus equipping them for maximum success?

"Donors are a pivotal part of our ministry, but our time and attention should be focused exclusively on the youth that God brings to us.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?

Is it enough to send donors an annual letter telling them about the ministry? Why or why not?