No doubt about it, one of the challenges of starting a church is raising enough funds. Planters often tell me that they feel overwhelmed and intimated by it. And most confess they don’t know where to start. Because of this, they start launching willy-nilly into a fundraising campaign without a clear strategy. This can lead to frustration for the planter and a wasted opportunity for the donor to participate in a life-changing Kingdom endeavor.
The RCA Exercise can help. It’s based on…
- Your RELATIONAL connection to the donor.
- The CAPACITY of the donor to give to your project.
- The AFFINITY between you and the potential donor.
The goal of the “RCA Exercise” is to generate an exhaustive list of potential donors for your project that are most likely to bear fruit for your project.
Step 1: Relationships. Start by making a list of all your relationships with individuals and organizations. Don’t worry about filtering the list—just write them down. The goal here is to generate an extensive list that we’ll filter in a moment. Once you have the list, rank each name/organization with a 1,2, or 3 with 1 being your closest relationships and 3 being your fliers.
This list might include…
- Work colleagues (past and present)
- Church groups
- Small groups and missional communities
- College friends and organizations
- Ministry organizations
- Church planting organizations
- Denominational boards
- Para-church organizations
- business men and woman in your network
- Mission organizations
- Networks of professional
Step 2: Capacity. Next, make another column on your list and rank the CAPACITY of these people/organizations to give to your project. Use 1 for those with high-capacity, 2 for those who may have capacity, and 3 for those who you either are unsure or don’t have capacity.
Step 3: Affinity. Make a third column on your list and for your AFFINITY with the person or organization. This is your opportunity to honest about your relational influence to raise funds from this source. Those organizations or persons that you have strong relational influence, rank as 1. Mark 2 for those you have some affinity, and rank the remainder as 3.
Now sort the list and start making your way through it. Those relationships that receive all 1s are you primary sources of funding and you must pursue them with prayer and creativity. The other sources are important to pursue but you must be resourceful in how much time and energy you invest in cultivating each of them.
Generating an RCA list of donors will help you see the potential sources of funds for your project AND how likely they are to contribute. This should help you leverage your time wisely and minimize the disappointment you experience when donors pass on the opportunity to support your project.
What about you? Are you raising funds for a church plant? Is this helpful? What are you learning about fundraising that might help the rest of us?
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