I had a few people ask me how and why I raised over $73,000 for this month’s trip to Youth Ablaze 2016 in Uganda. Here are the details.
Why More Than How
I decided to raise the money so the ministry’s support base would grow. I received no compensation for keynote speaking. Raising funds forced me to talk about Hands of Love Uganda to my friends and family. Ministry, giving, and support are all about personal relationships.
My conversation with prospective supporters started with the ministry, vision, and mission. I then explained how I met Pastor Elijah nine years ago at a Grace@Work Bible study I was leading in Midtown. I fell in love with his vision to change a nation for Christ. It was big and exciting.
I told them about the different outreaches the ministry developed to make this vision a reality. One is the Youth Ablaze conference. It started ten years ago with fifty people, and this year it will host over eight thousand delegates.
This is my third year volunteering with the conference. My friends and family know my heart and why I invest so much of my time and resources in Youth Ablaze. They wanted to join me. That’s big to Kathy and me.
One even said, “I’m doing the easy part. I’m writing a check. Look how much of your time is devoted to developing your messages, and that doesn’t even include the travel and conference!”
How Funds Were Raised
- I needed to be clear on the budget. I needed to believe the funds were being spent wisely. Then I came to an agreement with Elijah on how much of the budget I would take on and how much was his responsibility.
- I made two lists. First were friends I thought might be interested enough in this conference and me to be major donors of $5,000 each. Then I had another list of friends and family who would support the conference at smaller amounts.
- I prayed over the list, name by name. I asked God to go ahead of me.
- I made the first pledge so my donors knew Kathy and I were all in. I figured with our pledge plus five friends and family at the major donor level, we would be eighty percent there. I had one misread, but all the others I asked committed.
- I contacted these people either in person, if convenient, or by phone. I did ask for a specific amount from each of them as time was short and I needed to know if we were going to get to the number. The conference was happening on September 5th, and the money was needed in Uganda by August 10th.
- After the initial contact, I sent a follow-up email with the conference information we had discussed. I then waited a few days and did a follow-up call to gain their commitment. In a couple of cases, the email wasn’t needed. These people committed on the spot.
- I then started calling the next segment of the list. This took quite a bit more time but was enjoyable. After all, I was spreading the word on something I am very excited about. A conference whose goal is to lead leaders to Christ and train them as entrepreneurs. This will change a nation!
- Each of these calls was followed with an email. Almost everyone wanted to consult with God in prayer and with their spouse. I then did a follow-up call as I did in #5.
- When all the pledges were completed, I sent an email of gratitude. It also included detailed instructions on when and where to send their pledge. I sent the list to the ministry director to account for receipts. I have great friends and family, and it worked like a charm.
- As I publicized Youth Ablaze in this blog and also on social media, more people wanted in. I started receiving messages from people who said they would pray for us. And, by the way, they wanted to support the conference financially.
The goal was $50,000, and the final giving tally is closer to $73,000.
God Is in This
God raised up an amazing group of friends who are all Jesus followers. They want to know him and make him known. They put their money behind their purpose in life.
God bless you all. The friends who provided financial support and, even more importantly, the friends who are praying for us.
I hope this encourages you to step up and raise money for the charity you are most excited about!