Fundraising Begins With The Message

imagesThis past week, I had the privilege to provide some training to a group of leaders in the Philippines. I was presenting a couple of workshops on how to recruit team members and how to keep team members. In both workshops, I began with the simple thought that one of most powerful ways to build and keep a team is to have a vision worth working towards.

I’m going to say the same thing today as we talk about fundraising.

Sometimes we spend a lot of time talking about the mechanics of fundraising, and we don’t spend enough time talking about vision.

Learning the mechanics of fundraising is really important, but if we don’t have a compelling vision, a message that’s worth sharing, than the mechanics don’t really matter.

In one of my favorite books on marketing,  “The Seven Deadly Diseases of Ministry Marketing” (©1998 Berkey Brendel Sheline)Doug Brendel talks about the message:

“THE MESSAGE is more important than the mechanics of communicating it.

THE MESSAGE must compete with thousands of other matters intruding on the donor’s attention.

THE MESSAGE therefore, must be repeated constantly, in terms that the donors understand, and in ways that make it count for them.”

We have to work on the MESSAGE!

Here are some tips to help you develop and communicate your Message, your Vision:


Be sure that your message isn’t too general or too broad.  You want to focus in on what you are best positioned to address. Often this is the thing your organization was created to do.


Don’t over-communicate the message. Keep it simple and short. Cast the vision, tell what it is that you’re going to address and accomplish.


Don’t use vague or ambiguous words. These just confuse people. Be crystal clear in what it is that you are going to do.


Communicate your desired outcomes. What will happen as a result of what it is you’re going to do? What will the impact be? What will the results be?

I want to encourage you to first address your MESSAGE. Does it fit these 4 suggestions? Practice it. Learn it. Have your staff and team learn to communicate it. Live it for a while. Try it on.

Once you’ve got some traction, you’re ready to share this MESSAGE with people who might be able to help you accomplish it.

You will find people who connect and identify with exactly what it is you’re trying to accomplish. These are the best people to come alongside of you with financial gifts, with prayer, and with their time.  These people will help your vision to become a reality.

Bring your vision into focus before you try to communicate it to the world.


Russ Cline has wide experience in church, mission, and global leadership. Beginning in the local church in Southern California, then moving to Ecuador for 16 years to be a part of launching three distinct organizations, Russ is now back in Southern California working with Extreme Response International in providing leadership coaching and organizational development to leaders around the world. Russ' passion is to come alongside organizations and to help them identify areas of growth, focus and change, resulting in greater impact and effectiveness. Russ graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business and Christian Education and completed his graduate work in Organizational Development. He has been married for 31 years to Gina, and they have three kids: Rheanna, Riley and Raylin. To learn more about Russ, visit: Write directly to Russ at: twitter: leadwithruss, leadermundial

Posted in Leadership Coaching, Leadership Community, Organizational Development, Personal Leadership Tagged with: , , , , ,
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  1. […] vision, a clear purpose and a compelling story that produces impact. We talked about this in a RECENT BLOG on “messaging”.  Start with this […]


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