Creating an Effective Fund Raising Video

Many churches are investing time and money in a video – or more than one – that tells the story of their need for infused capital beyond the regular budget. Others are using for a Year-End-Giving campaign to inspire people about the accomplishments of the year. It can be a powerful part of reminding people of the reasons for financial support and investment. It trips all the triggers – informational, inspirational, visual, emotional and more. Will time and money spent on a video it be an investment with a positive return?

The fact is this: In order for your video to be an effective fundraising tool, it must contain an “Ask”.

Many succumb to the temptation to make a feel good video about your church’s long-term vision or short-term need but leave out the most critical part – the call to action.   Videos should end with a direct request like, “Our new student facility will better enable more young people to come to a safe place to explore the teachings of Jesus and be in healthy, positive relationships. Please prayerfully consider your financial support of this great initiative and be ready to respond by November 1st.

If you don’t, you have led the giver to the edge of the pool, but never invited them to jump in. This is a missed opportunity.

There are a few critical questions that should be answered in a video.   Excellent videos do this seamlessly and through storytelling and multiple ambassadors (a leader, a contributor, a volunteer, a person served by the cause, etc) as opposed to simply a golden-toned narrator with a script and some video footage.

The questions listed below have a sense of order to them but they do not represent a “storyboard” for a video.   The storyboard is how the video team crafts a beginning, the middle, and an ending – the scenes or chapters of the story are planned in advance. Answering these questions, however, will ensure that you shoot great footage and make it an effective fundraising tool: 

  • Is this a cause worth supporting?

In the crush of so many great organizations asking your potential donor for financial support, please tell us why this cause has merit – is it making a difference? Introduce me right away to a person whose life has been changed because of what you are doing. Also, tell me about potential for enormous impact. I want to know that the ripple effect is big.

  • What are others doing?

I would like to know if you are asking a large group of people, a handful, or just me. I would like to know if I’m the only guy “jumping in the pool” or can I join other sharp, astute donors that will give me the confidence that I’m joining a group of winners and a winning organization? Otherwise, I may have the fear that you will be more dependent on my donation than I want you to be.

  • What are you doing?

Please share with me the specifics of your church’s efforts or focus. What do you do specifically to make a difference? Tell me, but don’t bog me down with too much detail – I can find that out on your website. This is the meat and potatoes, but the hardest part to keep succinct.

  • Why?

Let me know what motivates you. Is it the dire nature of the need? Is it something spiritual? Is it because you have a personal connection with the people you serve? Is it because of the effectiveness of the cause? I need to know the heart behind the stats.

  • What are you asking me to do?

Here is where the rubber meets the road. As a key ingredient to staying “on message” in your efforts to raise funds, make sure the ask doesn’t get skipped or muddied. Be clear with me – I have a lot in my brain and I need you to make it simple. What do you want? Do you want me to give a gift? Make a pledge? Got to your website for more instructions?

Note: There are only a few cases where you should consider having a version of this video without the “ask”.   One is when you are showing the video in an event or setting where a live person could deliver a heartfelt challenge.   The other is when the nature of the request would drastically shorten the usability of the video (“Please make a 2017 Year End Gift”).   This is easily remedied by having two versions of the video done with different endings.

Contact an Auxano Navigator to learn more about developing a generosity culture in your church.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Greg Gibbs

Greg Gibbs

Greg Gibbs is a coffee roaster, consultant and author, and regularly tries to convince his wife that he is an Organizational Communication guru. After 30 years and raising four children together, she is still not quite convinced. Greg has spent decades in the church world, advising leadership on vision clarity, fundraising process, and communication effectiveness. He and his wife reside in the suburbs of Detroit.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Why is Fund Raising Not Fun?

Most pastors do not realize that the professional fund raising industry for churches began to strongly establish itself in the 1970’s with the founding of a few key firms. Today, the foundation of the largest and most successful firms, along with several smaller and individually operated groups, still derive strategies from these initial firms. Even still the most popular approaches today in modern church fund raising can trace their practices back to the strategies developed in the early 1900’s by famed YMCA fund raiser, Charles Sumner Ward. It was Ward who developed initiatives like, a short run campaign, celebrity endorsements, use of professional marketing, and the “campaign clock” or aka, thermometer.

Many of the largest church capital fund raising firms have had a challenging journey the last decade as a result of the 2008 recession. Today, the business is thriving again for most firms, but the call of the pastor is different. There is less interest today in short-run, expensive campaigns that yield a high immediate return at the cost of a healthy culture. Over the past year our firm has watched a number of churches call with a fund raising need, but with a greater desire for a more substantial experience. Pastors tend to resist fund raising seasons though they know they are nearly unavoidable. This gap of needing funds and the resistance to raise funds must be bridged. God has blessed pastors with vision, gifted His people with resources, and is calling His church toward an impactful future.

Here are some responses intended to answer the question, “Why is fund raising not fun?”

1. Because fund raising is money focused. (Disciple chasing is obedience focused.)

There simply is no way to get around it. Pure fund raising is often need based and driven to achieve a financial transaction. The very clear stated objective at the outset of any major campaign is the need for money, usually large sums of money that a church does not have readily available. The stress and pressure is definitely felt. However, as the church we have the confidence that God-initiated dreams are His responsibility to fund. Man should not feel the pressure to produce. God has all the resources needed and more. As a matter of fact, He already has a plan in place to fund His vision. What He desires is to lead His people on a journey so they are ready for what He plans to do through them in the future.

2. Because fund raising can be a lucrative business. (Disciple chasing is wise stewardship.)

For several years I served on church staff and experienced multiple campaigns. With each campaign we hired a different fund raising firm and cringed at the cost and approach. Eventually I would leave staff and start my own generosity firm. I am so glad today to be a salaried employee in a non-profit that seeks to provide professional generosity coaching at a price that is good stewardship for the local church. The truth is that local church staff and leadership will do the vast majority of the work. A professional is hired for experience and expertise. It is so empowering to reframe fund raising in a discipleship context for staff teams. It creates such collaboration, builds confidence, and releases resources.

3. Because fund raising is outside in. (Disciple chasing is inside out.)

Fund raising sees the project first, then the funding gap. Discipleship sees the vision. This vision is fueled by faith in a God who promises to accomplish it through His people. I always want to be a part of projects that inspire biblical faith, require bold prayers, and put us totally dependent upon God. These elements grow a disciple. Generosity is far more a heart issue than a wallet issue. Once a heart is in love, generosity can’t be stopped.

4. Because fund raising is a short run fix. (Disciple chasing is a long-term surplus.)

Whenever we are interviewed by churches, leaders want to talk about campaign follow up. They readily admit that it is important to success as well as a point of previous failure. However, I am still amazed when the future campaign is complete how few churches maintain the stewardship trajectory began during a healthy process. Money is something every human handles every day. God is a generous God and He created us to be generous. Generosity feels great to both the giver and receiver. It is such an easy and common conversation that should never grow old. Overflowing, joy filled generosity can happen every week, not just when there is a critical need.

5. Because fund raising is not pastoral. (Disciple chasing is very pastoral.)

I do not believe God called pastors to be fund raisers. I do believe He called them to be visionary disciple makers. Generosity is in the heart of every human. On the other side of generosity is freedom, reward, and fruit. Every pastor desires these things for the people he leads. Your people need your help. They need to know and experience what the Bible teaches. However, most pastors lack the confidence to tackle this timely issue.

> Read more from Todd.


 Would you like to learn more about fund raising for your church? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd McMichen

Todd McMichen

Todd serves at the Director of Generosity by LifeWay. His generosity roots arise from leading multiple capital campaigns for local churches that together raised over $35,000,000 for their visionary projects. Since 2000, Todd has been a well-established stewardship coach, generosity leader, author, and conference speaker.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.