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Faith-Based Fundraising

Church Fundraising – Part One of Three

African American news from Pasadena - Small Business - Faith-based fundraising tipsPrayer must be at the heart of church fundraising, but the fundamentals of fundraising also contribute to success. We met Willis White when he was serving as co-chair for a $3.5 million, multi-year campaign to retire the debt on the Allen Temple Baptist Church Family Life Center. We worked with White, his co-chair Constance Walker and the church's campaign leadership team during their campaign.

The campaign was the vision of the senior pastor who called on White and Walker to serve as co-chairs. White had been prayerful regarding a ministry when he was approached by his pastor. "It felt like a calling to serve. Our pastor was respected by everyone and had served the church for over 40 years. It was an honor to be asked."

White attributes the campaign's success to prayer and planning. "We allowed the Lord to lead us, to lead the membership. All the gifts and donations we received are because the Lord made a way for us. We prayed and we planned. We hired fundraising counsel to help us. That was critical. It was one of the key reasons I accepted the request to serve as a co-chair."

"Working with counsel we laid out a plan that would take us through the full campaign. Because the plan was in writing we could meet with people who had agreed to help with the campaign and talk with them about what we needed to do. The plan was key to galvanizing our membership. It had two components – an internal effort and an external community effort. The church membership bought into the idea of raising money to show our own commitment to the campaign before raising money from outside the church."

Working with the culture of church, the membership organized itself into groups that corresponded to the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 months of the year. "This allowed everyone to be a part of the campaign: you were a part of the campaign because you were part of a tribe because of your birth month.

The campaign's naming opportunities motivated giving by individuals, families, and by groups and organizations from within the church. "These opportunities encouraged giving even though people were dealing with the downturn in the economy. For example, the ministers got together and pooled their gifts towards a naming opportunity to honor the outstanding work of one of our ministers. We had a $50,000 naming opportunity for the stage and the music department pooled their gifts, naming the stage in honor of our music director. Naming of the windows was a motivator – people used that opportunity to honor their loved ones or family. People were proud to show that they gave to the campaign and to show their commitment to the church.

Willis White serves on the Deacon Board at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, CA. You can reach him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

© Copyright Mel and Pearl Shaw.

[Mel and Pearl Shaw are the owners of Saad & Shaw. They provide fundraising counsel locally and nationwide. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com or call (901) 522-8727.]


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