There are three basics to fundraising: vision, relationship and communication. Today I’m focusing on vision because at its core, fundraising is less about money and more about vision.

Ask church leaders about their most successful ministry programs, and you’ll find that very few, if any, started out with, “We have all this money. What should we do with it?” The most successful ministries in a church start with “We are excited about a great idea. Let’s tell people about it.”

Almost without exception, vision creates something out of nothing and turns impossibility into reality.

RESOURCES FOLLOW VISION

Repeat “resources follow vision” every time you find yourself wishing for more funding for ministry.

Repeat this mantra every time you hear someone say there won’t be enough volunteers to do something, people to attend, or time to get things done.

Better yet, every day, say to yourself, “Resources follows vision. Money follows vision”.

Repeat these simple words until you believe it and you see money and resources flow from your vision.

Remember: vision always comes first.

THE BIGGER THE CHALLENGE THE GREATER THE VISION

Let’s be honest, it’s pretty easy to communicate a vision for filling the benevolence fund. Afterall, who doesn’t want to put shoes on a child or food on the table for someone down on his or her luck?

But how do you cultivate passion for funding something big and boring like paving the parking lot? This kind of challenge calls for a big vision and a creative imagination.

If your parking lot has potholes, try this little exercise: take yourself out into the parking lot. Sit there and pray. Walk the parking lot and pray. Listen for God to speak. Do it again the next day and then again the day after that. Do it until you can visualize the people who currently come and park in those spots not only on Sunday but also throughout the week. What are their stories? Why are they there? Who needs to hear these stories?

Now, think about the empty parking spots. Who do you hope will pull into one of those parking spots? What are their stories? Who needs to hear their stories?

In this example, the parking lot represents the first spot people put their feet as they take steps into the life of your church. By this point in the exercise, your vision is no longer about asphalt and yellow lines, it’s about real lives who need to know about Jesus. Let this insight spark and then fuel your vision. Share that vision. Be passionate about it. See what resources follow your vision now!

VISION IS AN INVITATION

Early in my ministry a pastor told me that the most important thing to do with a vision is share it. An idea goes nowhere unless it’s shared. Just think of the loaves and fish story!

Once shared, a vision invites others to enhance and nurture it.

Even if the idea is half-baked and incomplete, share it with someone. Listen to their feedback. Mix those thoughts and ideas with your thoughts and ideas, and then share the new and improved version again and again. Invite the people you share with to do the same. This is how the vision takes on life, grows legs and starts to move.

As author and blogger Carey Nieuwhof says, “Vision startles people out of their complacency, stops them from settling for less and moves them to action they wouldn’t otherwise take except for the vison of what could be.”

PASSION FUELS VISION

Exactly what is your vision? Get clear about that and then get passionate about it! Use your passion to ignite others’ passion.

Passion is different than hype. Passion is authentic, runs deep, resonates with others and is contagious. Hype gets people excited, but it rarely leads to meaningful action.

Thankfully, the opposite is true. If you enthusiastically communicate your clear vision to others, you generate the powerful force of passion that invites support from more people and places than you can imagine.

EAT, SLEEP AND BREATH THE VISION

Embody the vision you have for your church or ministry. Make the vision part of you and you part of the vision. This gives your vision a momentum that cannot be stopped.

Embodying the vision means you naturally share it everywhere you go. It never goes silent. It reaches new people all the time. Each day, more people want to be involved. More support rolls in.

THE BIG QUESTION

The big question is are you ready to turn your impossibilities into reality? Is it time to shift from “Where is the money going to come from?” to “What vision am I casting today?”