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Success is a Planned Event: 5 Crucial Steps in Preparation to be Fully Funded

May 1, 2017

Originally published on

Juma Ikangaa is a long distance runner from Tanzania who won the 1989 New York City Marathon in record time.

After the victory, Juma shared, “The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”

Planning and preparation are crucial to winning marathons—and getting fully funded!

As a national trainer for Support Raising Solutions (SRS) and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), I’ve seen firsthand the struggles that can take place when Christian workers fail to prepare properly.

To help you be successful in the raising of your support, let me share my top five steps to effective preparation.

Whether you’re just getting started in support raising, or already fully funded, make sure you read and heed these principles:

Pray Always

John 15:5 says, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” (NLT)

I love the title of the book written by Steve Shadrach, The God Ask. It is truly God who provides for us. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

It’s vital that before we take another step, we first hit our knees in prayer asking God for his divine provision and guidance in our life. And why not do that every day?

Start with Namestorming

Make a long list of potential supporters. Take your time. The effort you invest in making an exhaustive list will save you twice as much time down the road.

A common mistake for new support raisers is to quickly jot down a few names and start making calls.

Initially, it sounds pretty good just to jump in and get started. However, that short list will eventually end and you will have to stop and attempt to come up with new names.

Do your name storming on the front end, instead of “as you go” to be able to totally free your mind up.

I’ve notice when people are in the midst of their support raising a case of “call reluctance” can get them and a subsequent mental block sets in. How so?

If you don’t feel like making calls, your mind will subconsciously tell you that you don’t know who else to call.

Whether or not you contact all the people on your list, your namestorming will usually be more complete if you do it well in advance.

Set Specific Time Goals

Zig Ziglar once said, “You can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have.”

To get fully funded in a reasonable time, you must have a solid goal. Make sure it has a specific start and completion dates.

A friend of mine who came on staff with FCA tried both approaches.

He first spent four years without any clear goals, making it to 33% of his funding, before plateauing. Then he got motivated, sought God like never before, and made a commitment to be fully funded within 90 days. By God’s grace, he crossed the 100% goal in only 45 days!

What he wasn’t able to do in four years (without clear goals) he achieved in just a month and a half—raising over $4,000 of new monthly support.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Craft a Winning Game Plan

I played football in college, and every week the coaches spent many a late night developing a detailed game plan for how we were going to win the upcoming game.

They spent countless hours watching film, strategizing, then coaching us to implement their plan and have a successful outcome.

Why would support raising be any different? We must have a specific game plan to follow.

Here are a few questions that should be answered when you complete your support raising game plan.

  • How much monthly support do you need to be fully funded?
  • How many more contacts do you need to add to your prospective donor list?
  • What is the exact date to be fully funded by?
  • How many appointments will you have each week?
  • How many phone calls will you make each week?
  • What can you cut out of your life for a season to allow a more focused effort in raising support?
  • Have you created and practiced a professional presentation you can share with passion?

Don’t short circuit the time you spend working on your game plan. It is time well spent!

As Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Accountability is Essential

I believe having an effective accountability partner is absolutely imperative to reaching your goals.

I’ve met a number of young staffers bursting with so much confidence in the beginning that they foolishly feel no need to recruit an accountability partner. What a mistake.

I tell all my trainees the accountability partner is the “secret sauce.” It’s the one ingredient that you don’t want to leave out.

There will be days when you will not feel like making phone calls, but knowing you have to send in your accountability report every Monday morning drives you on.

Get an accountability partner you respect and you know will relentlessly hold you to the game plan you crafted and gave to them. You will not regret it!

Finally, support raising is God’s way of preparing you for ministry.

Some of the greatest times of growth in my life where those hours of “chaining myself to my desk”—times of extensive preparation.

Cutting corners on preparation not only leaves us less equipped, but less developed into the person God would have us become.

Don’t deceive yourself, He will bless your efforts.

Proverbs 16:3 promises, “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.”

Before we launch out into our support raising, let’s make sure we are fully prepared in every aspect of our life and work.