In our western culture, it’s really tough to ask for money. Some of my most comical mistakes in support raising involve being scared to actually ask.
The line is supposed to go something like “So will you join with us at $100 per month?” and be followed by a pause. (hopefully not an awkwardly long one, as previously documented.)
But most of the time, my line went something more like a thirteen year-old on the phone with a girl he was too scared to talk to at school and instead decided to call once he got home to ask her to the dance. Squirmy, awkward, and hesitant.
Here are the primary ways I asked incorrectly:
This is the go-to for anybody looking for a loophole in asking for money, because you can have all the appearances of a good ask, but you’ve already crippled yourself in the moments leading up to the ask. You hem and haw, and virtually (if not actually) apologize for asking. You say things like “I’m sorry for taking up so much of your time” or “If it’s not too much trouble” or “I hate to bother you.” And in so doing, you subconsciously place in the mind of the person you are about to ask that what you are doing doesn’t matter.
The Too Many Outs-er
Similar to the apologizer, this is where you give people six different ways to say no, before you even ask. Examples include saying things like “I know money is tight right now” or “There are other great ministries to give to” or “You’ve got two kids in college.” While all of those things might be true, it’s not the missionary’s job to point them out. Giving people six suggested phrases to use in telling you no is a great way to not raise all of your support.
The asking for the wrong thing-er
I confess I used this one a lot. It’s focusing on perks instead of the real reason you are asking. My favorite was the tax write-off. I would use that as a big selling point, not realizing that my focus on their income tax benefits actually diminished the real reason that I was asking: the fact that people are dying without hearing the gospel, and that’s not OK. To hype up a tax write-off as a primary reason for their gift makes you as life-changing and exciting as a goodwill store drop-box.
I may catch some flack for calling out these things. And I’m cool with that.
Because you are NOT selling girl scout cookies. You are changing lives. Now ask like it.