What’s Your MESSAGE?

I was recently asked by a non-profit leader for my “best advice” to someone who is trying to raise funds for their organization.

I thought about it for a minute, then replied simply that the most important thing to think about is YOUR MESSAGE.

Here are some foundational questions:

*What are you wanting to do? What is the purpose behind the project/activity?

*What are the results that you’re hoping to realize from the project/activity?

*Why are YOU wanting to do this project/activity?


Doug Brendel writes about YOUR 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.

(The 7 Deadly Diseases of Ministry Marketing: Berkey, Brendel & Sheline ©1998)


This is what I’ve learned, and what I continue to learn:

When we talk about FUNDRAISING, it’s not about having connections to people with resources.

The most important thing to do first, is to define your message so that people are able to understand:

*WHAT you’re wanting to do and WHY you’re wanting to do it.

Sometimes we make it much more complicated than it needs to be.


Our job isn’t to coerce people into getting involved and giving to the project/activity.

Our job is to share the plan, the purpose and the outcome, and INVITE people to consider getting involved. This is their decision, not ours.


For those of us that believe that GOD really does own it all, our job is to share what He has called us to do, and invite others to seek God’s direction for their involvement. It’s not about us!

We can’t talk about FUNDRAISING without laying this foundation.

There is work involved in fundraising, and there’s real work involved as you refine your message and figure out the best way to capture and present it, but fundraising isn’t a mechanical activity. We’re trying to connect with people’s hearts, and our job is to do the best that we can do, and then trust God to move them and lead them in the way that HE would have them go and be involved.


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: www.russellcline.com Write directly to Russ at: rcline@extremeresponse.org www.extremeresponse.org www.leadermundial.org twitter: leadwithruss, leadermundial

Posted in Leadership Coaching, Organizational Development


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