10 Principles for Discipling Key Donors

Recently I had several pastors step into the ranks of being committed to providing ongoing discipleship to key donors. It began during the planning phase of a capital campaign which laid the foundation for a long term fruitful ministry. Each pastor put in place a unique structure that reflected his personality, church culture, and relational network. Though each took a distinct approach the results were the same, exponential. Here is a list of common principles these pastors employed.

  1. Be bold. Provide high challenge at the beginning of the process. Explain the need, role, and expectation of a generosity ministry.
  2. Be open. Don’t hide anything, share what you know even the hard stuff. High capacity leaders will see through it if you don’t. They will also be able to discern how to become a part of the solution.
  3. Be a family. Involve both the husband and wife. They are typically accustomed to serving together in philanthropic ventures. They know their roles and can become a powerful team.
  4. Be visionary. The purpose is to go further faster toward the vision. Don’t make the conversation as small as a project or need. Hint, just because the dollar amount is large doesn’t mean the vision is clear.
  5. Be a discipler. Every conversation is a discipleship conversation. High capacity leaders tend to be isolated or primarily investing in others. Rarely does a pastor talk their language or does someone speak into their lives. It is your calling to respond to their need. Make it about vision, their particular passion, and the spiritual journey involved.
  6. Be a sojourner. Don’t have a short-term-fund-a-crisis or project mindset. Be committed to a long term discipleship relationship.
  7. Be personal. Ask for specific prayer request, have them into your home, call, and write hand-written notes. Invest yourself into their lives.
  8. Be a community. You do not hold all the relationships and high capacity leaders need to feel a strong connection to the body as a whole. Let leaders engage new leaders in the process. Ask them to share about their journey publicly. It will both challenge and strengthen the church.
  9. Be clear. Key leaders want  to know the specific need. They desire perspective to process how to respond. If you do not provide this clarity another non-profit will.
  10. Be inspiring. Share personal stories of dramatic life change or behind the scenes success in ministry. Show the impact value of the gift and how the future holds promise.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd McMichen

Todd McMichen has served for over 30 years in a variety of roles in the local church, doing everything from planting churches to lead pastor. While on staff he conducted two major capital campaigns helping to guide his local churches through sizable relocation projects. Those two churches alone raised over $35,000,000. Since 2000, Todd has been a well-established stewardship and generosity campaign coach, as well as a conference leader and speaker. Todd is a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic College in West Palm Beach, FL and Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX. He lives in Birmingham, AL with his wife Theresa, and their two kids, Riley and Breanna. You can contact Todd at todd@auxano.com or 205-223-7803.

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Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

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