Little Things

Little Things You Can Do To Invest Big In Donor Care:

• Thank them with a hand-written note. This is one of the coolest things you can receive in our digital age.

• Treat each donation as the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

• Keep your message simple and emotional. Being complicated doesn’t make something better. In fact, complexity makes it less likely you’ll be remembered when you ask for money next time.

• Thank before you Bank! Send a thank you text, call, email or letter FAST.

• Send a custom greeting card rather than a letter on your stationary.

• Always include a ministry progress update, no matter how small.

• Send a “Behind the Scenes” post card of your ministry in action.

• Send a short video from your smart phone of your ministry in action.

• Send reports on how their gift is being used-clarify specific details around ministry impact.

• Change who is saying “Thank you”.

• Develop a “donor centric” style of communication, how do your givers prefer to be communicated with? Ask your givers how they would like updates on the work of your ministry.

• Ask how you can pray for them.

• Pray for them...text a scripture with a prayer.

• Give gifts (books, gift cards, CD’s, DVD’s) on special occasions: births, anniversaries, birthdays.

• Take to dinner as couples.

• Travel as couples: marriage retreats, Generous Giving, mission trip, vacation, etc.

• Introduce to others in your network.

• Turn Thursday into “Thank You Thursday” and make thanking people a part of your weekly routine.

• Say no to form letters.

• Call to ask how they are doing and what they are working on.  Be interested in their lives, not just their donations.

• Send iPhone videos that are personal. They don’t have to be well-produced… authentic is actually better.

• Information is a huge form of appreciation.  Treat donors like insiders and make sure they know what’s coming well before the general public.

• Send helpful resources.  Links to articles, book recommendations, etc.  It shows you’re thinking of them and helps them grow as individuals.


For more faith-based nonprofit resources, visit 

Questions? Contact me anytime!

Emily Fitchpatrick, Director of Client Services


What Do Major Donors Want?

What do major donors want?


This is a common question we receive at Ministry Ventures.


Before we dive into this topic, it’s important to define what a major gift is for you. The term “major gift” means something different at every nonprofit. For example, a new start-up may consider $1,000 a major gift, while another more established nonprofit may consider $10,000 a major gift.


While there are variations to what may be considered a major gift, all nonprofits have this in common when it comes to major gift fundraising…


It takes time!


Major donors typically like to get involved slowly, learning more about the nonprofit as they go along. Major donors like to make good decisions about their investment. This takes time and communication from you! Regarding major gift fundraising, we can learn a lot from well-known Christian philanthropist David Weekley, President of the David Weekley Family Foundation.


He says “In our philanthropy, we look for three fundamental principles in an organization: High Leverage; they accomplish a lot with a little. Scalable; they have the propensity to grow to impact millions of people. Sustainable; over time their model utilizes some type of self-generating revenue.”


The David Weekley Foundation website says their strongest partners display the following traits:


  • A unique and well-defined mission;
  • Excellent programs or services that clearly advance the mission;
  • A clear path to measure results;
  • A three to five-year strategic plan;
  • A business model and cost structure demonstrating that the organization will make a greater impact in a more efficient way as it grows;
  • Strong executive talent with a coachable spirit;
  • A strong and effective Board of Directors, or a desire to establish one, and;
  • A spiritual integration plan or willingness to create one (for our Christian partners).


These are all admirable traits and provide a great framework for any nonprofit seeking to develop and grow a major gifts program.


Remember, results take time and relationships matter.


Want to dive deeper? 


Recommended Reading: The Giver and The Gift – by Peter Greer and David Weekley


Thankful for you.


Questions? Contact me anytime!

Emily Fitchpatrick, Director of Client Services

For more faith-based nonprofit resources, visit 

Relationships First, Money Second

“My dear and precious friends, whom I deeply arise in the fullness of your union with our Lord. My heart overflows with joy when I think of how you showed your love to me by your financial support of my ministry. I mention this not because I’m requesting a gift, but so that the fruit of your generosity may bring you an abundant reward.”  Phil 4:1,10,17


Attention ministry fundraisers...notice Paul’s heart:


1.  His foremost desire is for the people of Philippi to understand, walk in and experience their true identity, which is fullness in Christ.  This is ultimately what Paul (and God) wants for us all.  He wants us to be so unattached to the world and trying to be happy based on what we have because we are so attached to satisfaction that comes from an intimate relationship with Jesus. “I have learned to be satisfied in any circumstance...because I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me...” v 11-13


We, too, are inviting people to detach from the false sense of security that money brings, and attach to being felt and known by Christ, which brings true fulfillment.


What practices help you get to this place of secure identity?  We can’t give what we haven’t experienced.  


2.  As Paul lived among these people, listened to and experienced community with them, a deep love was developed.  This was a process and took intentionality.  He recognized these generous givers with his pen and his words.  He noticed, named and acknowledged their sacrifice.  He realized growing relationally with his givers was an important part of his ministry, and he gave ample time to it.   “For even though you have so little, you still continue to help me at every opportunity.” v 10


How do you see fundraising as ministry?  


3.  Paul knows that when people release their money into God’s hands to do God’s work, they will be rewarded.  He isn’t saying desire for reward is to be our primary motivation, but he is not hesitant to talk about the rewards of giving either.  And there are many—freedom from the bondage of “keeping up with the Jones’”,  seeing hungry stomachs filled, lives released from addiction, marriages transformed.  Not to mention the feel good endorphins released in our brains!


Know that when you ask people for funds to fuel your God given ministry, their lives will be better.  Simply put, it’s good for people to give!  And you are giving them this opportunity, for which they will thank you.


This is the stuff great relationships and effective fundraising are made of, mutual edification!  For the giver and the fundraiser.


Your friend in ministry,


Questions? Contact me anytime!

Beth Bennett, Director of Coaching

For more faith-based nonprofit resources, visit 

3 Simple Things to Express Appreciation in a Fresh Way

It’s November and the time of year we all focus on saying thank you to our ministry partners. 


We can’t operate our programs without our donors, board members and volunteers, but how can we express sincere gratitude without it sounding trite?  How can our appreciation be expressed in a unique way?



1.  Do A Heart Check—If I am honest, am I reaching out to say thank you because it’s November and it is expected?  Is this just another “have to” that is piled on my plate?  Or do I have rhythms in place which allow me to STOP and consider more deeply the tremendous privilege I have to be in the Kingdom, to receive God’s love, and to be in community with people that are changing the world?  If not, then before I am in a state to express appreciation to others, I must be kind to myself.  Take a day of reflection alone with God where I can be filled first and feel celebrated by God before I can thank and celebrate others.



2.  Be Fully Present—No matter what type of “Thank You” you are considering, make sure you are all there.   If you are meeting personally with people, give them your undivided attention, phones turned off, naming what unique aspect they bring to your ministry team.  Your  people will feel loved, acknowledged and seen. If you are writing a hand written note, keep in mind this old fashioned way of expressing thank you is still one of the most effective!   You can be sure that your message WILL get read and it will be very memorable  and special.  And your words will likely be re-read over and over as that thank you card sits on their desk.  Include a scripture or meaningful quote.  Use your pen to pastor and care for your donors, board members and volunteers.



3.  Be Specific—In your thanks, let people know how they specifically have helped move your ministry to a new level of impact because of their heart, expertise and dollars.  Be specific in their input, but also be specific in what their energies have accomplished.  Use current stories and numbers.  Celebrate milestones with them.  Make them feel that without them, a certain Bob or Susie or Joe simply would not have been reached.


Your friend in ministry,


Questions? Contact me anytime!

Beth Bennett, Director of Coaching

For more faith-based nonprofit resources, visit 

Termination Is Tuff! Here Are A Few Best Practices To Assist.

It’s a day every ministry leader dreads.

Despite all of your coaching and counseling, one of your staff members is just not performing as expected and it is time to part company. Or worse, reduced revenue means you have to lay off someone through no fault of their own. Or worse than that, they have violated one of your ethical principles or harassed an employee, volunteer or client. Terminating an employee, for whatever reason, is never a happy occasion.

Wouldn’t it be easier to turn off the alarm and take a sick day?

Since that won’t make anything better, let’s look at a few things that will. These are things to do before performance issues arise. Do these consistently, for every position, every employee, every volunteer, and it will make your life easier in the long run.

First and foremost, always get legal counsel from your ministry’s trusted attorney. What follows are best practices but is not meant to be legal advice.

Have written job descriptions for every position in your organization including volunteers. If one person is currently fulfilling more than one role they should have an equal number of job descriptions. Make sure you have a personnel file for each employee and keep it up to date. If you have a large number of regular volunteers you do not need a file for each of them. If you have an issue with a volunteer then you can start a file for them.

Have a formal, written performance review with every employee once a year. Your evaluation should have space for the employee to make comments. Have them sign it and put a copy in the employee’s file. Have informal reviews with every employee on a regular basis, at least quarterly. Include any notes from the reviews in their file. Base all reviews on the written job descriptions and any short term assignments or objectives that have been agreed upon with the employee.

Have a board-approved policy for how you will handle employees who are not performing to the standards established by their job description. This should include what action steps you will take at various stages. As an example, after the first notification of unmet expectations, there should be a probationary period for the employee to improve. State the length of the probationary period clearly.

Notify the employee verbally and in writing of their failure to meet expectations and what they need to do to improve. Include specific, measurable goals for them to meet during the probationary period. And include everything you (or their manager) will do to help them improve such as training, mentoring, etc.

Make sure you have board-approved policies for ethical misconduct. These should include the consequences for violation of the policy. For example, does the first offense result in termination or is there a probationary period. Different policies can have different consequences as long as they are clearly stated in the policy.

In addition to standard policies on things like abuse and harassment, consider if you need to have separate, additional policies about the treatment of your clients. For example, if your ministry serves abused women or those trapped in prostitution, you should have policies about how, if ever, male staff and volunteers interact with them. Include these in a personnel policy manual that you review with every new employee on their first day. Have them sign a form stating that they have reviewed all the policies and add that to their file.

You should also have a volunteer manual that includes the appropriate policies and job descriptions. Volunteers need to review it and sign a statement that they have read and understood them. If you have a large number of volunteers, consider putting all of this online, including the signature form.

Creating job descriptions, evaluation forms, personnel policies and employee manuals is not easy. I hope you never need them! But if you have done this heavy lifting upfront, when you have to terminate an employee for poor performance or an ethical violation it will not be a surprise to them.

And hopefully, you won’t dread it quite so much.

Questions? Contact me anytime!

Arnold Kimmons, Coach - Upstate South Carolina

Director of Operations and Finance

For more faith-based nonprofit resources, visit 

Why Paying Attention is so Crucial to Your Leadership

“Expectant people are watchful, always looking for Him they expect, always ready to find Him in whatever comes along; however strange it may be, they always think He might be in it…”

– The Treatises, Meister Eckhart


  1. Pay Attention to His Love


God is constantly present to you and I, paying attention to us, listening to us and showing up in our lives.  We just don’t see it and are many times blind to His loving care.  We don’t create space or have practices in place to let God love us:  Sabbath, soul friends that listen to us, slow walks in nature that nurture us, reflective reading of scripture.

A working-class woman in Ireland once put it this way: “It’s like when I play hide-and-seek with the wee ones,” she said. “I always leave a bit of myself sticking out. If I’m behind the curtain, I make sure my shoes are sticking out. If I’m behind the tree, I leave a little of my coat showing. I want them to find me!”

God is like that: invisible to the eye, but wanting us to find him!

When I wake up in the morning, I needn’t say, “Oh, how am I going to find time to pray in such a busy day?!” Rather, I can say, “I wonder how God is going to ‘stick out’ in my day today?  How will I see and hear Him?  Wher ,when, how will God come to me today? What gifts are waiting for me?” (Source:  Leadership Transformations, Silencio)


  1. Pay Attention to Yourself


  • Notice what energizes you and what depletes your energy.
  • Stay with what stirs you
  • Take regular times of being alone in an undistracted, unhurried manner in order to name what your soul really wants and needs.


What mix of relational time, alone time, recreational time, personal growth and missional time, financial giving and simplicity are needed to be the best version of myself?   What type of trellis is necessary for my vine to thrive?  


  • Say no to quick fixes that can cover up what you really long for.


Ministry leaders who aren’t finding satisfaction in Christ and what He has to offer will find themselves increasingly tempted with frivolous entertainments, lust, alcohol misuse, anger, ego gratification, deceit, etc. The justification becomes, “I sacrifice so much for others that I need a little something for myself.” (James 1:13-15) If we find ourselves tempted by these things, recognize it as an invitation to delight in Christ!


  1. Pay Attention to Others


Many ministry leaders are focused too much on others. There is an unhealthy side of paying too much attention to others:

  • Ego is based on what others say and think about me
  • Decisions based on man pleasing and insecurity
  • Desiring and then being disappointed when those I serve don’t meet my needs
  • Family relationships suffer
  • I feel like a starving chef that constantly cooks up food for others


But wait!  Loving others and being fully present to them is at the heart of the gospel.  Noticing, welcoming and paying attention to the Christ in our spouses, children and those we serve is a core desire of most leaders I know.


How is it possible to do this in a healthy way?


I love what the Passion Translations says in Phil 2: 1,3:


“Look at (notice, pay attention) how much encouragement you’ve found in your relationship with the Anointed One!  You are filled to overflowing with his comforting love.  You have experienced a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and have felt his tender affection and mercy.”


Are my days marked by experiencing a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and feeling   His tenderness?   Only then will my life overflow with joy and I will walk with tender attentiveness towards others in “authentic humility putting others first and viewing others as more important than myself.”


Questions? Contact me anytime!

Beth Bennett, Director of Coaching

For more faith-based nonprofit resources, visit 

Is your team on the same page?

Do you have team members, board members or volunteers who just don’t seem to be on the same page?


It’s one of the most common problems we see.

Maybe someone was hired to do a job, but over time, it's morphed into different agendas and different plans. It may not be a sinister thing. But that doesn't mean it's not dangerous.

If your team isn't on the same page, your ministry is never going to achieve the best results.

So if you find yourself in this situation, here are four things you can do to rectify the problem.

#1 - Take responsibility.

If your team isn't on the same page, it's not the time to play the blame game.  Forced performance reviews, complaining to the board or piling on additional expectations isn't going to change anything.

So the first thing to do is take responsibility.  If you're the leader, you're responsible for your team being on the same page.  It's not their fault; it's your responsibility.

The ministry leader is the Chief Clarity Officer of the organization or the team. It's up to you to clarify roles and goals and bring alignment to your team.

The good news is you can do it.  You've got what it takes (and we’re here to help if you need us).

#2 - Make it a goal to get on the same page.

I know you have programs, campaigns and a slew of other things going on.  But if your team isn't on the same page, it's time for the pause button. Instead of just plowing through all the regular work, carve out focused time and energy to get on the same page.  It's not going to happen through your regular schedule and with your regular meetings.  Because nobody drifts INTO clarity.

If you want to get on your same page, you need to clear the calendar and make it a major focus over the next few months.  Your first great decision as a leader is deciding to focus on this.

#3 - Commit to more conversations.

The process of alignment isn't complicated, but that doesn't mean it's easy.  Because people are involved, there are lots of opportunities to get sideways and hurt feelings.

That's why you have to commit to conversations.  Text messages and emails aren't going to work here.  You're going to have to schedule meetings - in the office and over coffee - and work hard on this.

You can't lead this process from behind a desk or behind a computer.  It's going to take lots of conversations, lots of listening, and a lot of work.  Honestly, this is why most leaders don't have a team on the same page….it's easier to just let things go and meagerly manage results.

But if you'll commit to conversations, you can bring alignment to your team.

#4 - Get help.

If you've got a team who isn't on the same page, you probably need outside help.  This is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength.

Bringing in help isn't admitting you don't know what to do; it's about being intentional and focused on something that is extremely important.  It says to the team, "Clarity for all of us is important and it's not going to come by just trying harder."

Major breakthroughs often come when you seek outside help.  Compared to the resulting focus and growth, the investment ends up being minimal.

If you're leading a team that's not on the same page, you're working much harder than you need to to get results that are less than spectacular.  Get someone to come in and help you align everything and get everyone on the same page

And as always, we’re here for you when you need us.

Questions? Contact me anytime!

Emily Fitchpatrick, Director of Client Services

Could you be experiencing ministry burnout?

Ministry burnout is common. It happens to us when we take on too much. Those same duties you once enjoyed now feel heavy, hard and overwhelming. The duties themselves have not changed — but you have.

Friend, if this is you, you are tired.

The first step in overcoming burnout is admitting the fact that you are experiencing burnout. There is no shame in recognizing your need for rest!

In fact, you may be experiencing other symptoms such as:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Insufficient sleep and rest
  • Spiritual dryness
  • Loss of motivation for ministry
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Susceptibility to temptation
  • Disengaged and a lack of love with those you serve


You are not alone. God has a lot to say about caring for our bodies.

  • Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  • 1 Kings 19:1-8– Elijah feels depression and loneliness. The angel of the Lord tells Elijah, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”
  • “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” – Mark 1:35 NIV
  • “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – 3 John 1:2 NIV
  • “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” – Mark 6:31-32


You are in need of self-care and you don’t need to feel guilty for acknowledging it! As a ministry leader for over 14 years, I find myself needing more and more self-care these days. I believe I have always needed it, but my pride kept me from embracing it in many difficult seasons. There were times when the Lord was calling me to rest, but instead I tapped into my own strength and became determined to press on. There was just to too much to do to rest.


This is a lie and tactic of the enemy. Believing that there is too much to do, never enough time in the day, only you can do it – these are all lies that keep us in bondage.


So, where does the weary soul find rest and relief from its stress?


Yes, it’s great to veg out watching Netflix for hours with a big bowl of ice cream. But that is not the self-care I am talking about. Self-care should always draw us back to God.


Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:30


Self-care can certainly include healthy activities and habits like exercise, eating nutritious meals, taking a nature walk, enjoying a sunset or sitting on a beach, however, I highly encourage you to pursue more of Him while caring for yourself. Pursue Him like never before. He is the one that brings true fulfillment, peace and rest.


Great advice...


“The power of effective habits is not in the seclusion, or the silence, or the journal, but in whom you find in the habit. If you only find yourself, then your weaknesses, failures, and stresses can only be amplified and perpetuated. But if you find more of God, you have found resources far beyond yourself to address your deepest, most desperate needs.” – Marshall Segal, Desiring God Blogger


Remember - You are worth it and He will honor it! 


If this resonates with you and you find yourself in a weary place, we’d love to help.

Our 7-month Ministry Mastery coaching program begins with “You First”. It’s the whole idea of putting your own oxygen mask on first. We help you develop a personalized plan to transform your leadership as you incorporate a healthier, sustainable rhythm.

This is just one of the many benefits of participating in the coaching program.

Fall 2018 Virtual Group Coaching Starts September 26th! 

It's not too late to enroll.

Questions? Contact me anytime!

Emily Fitchpatrick, Director of Client Services

4 Year-End Fundraising Mistakes

The end of the year is fast approaching. This is the biggest fundraising opportunity of the year! From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, American generosity skyrockets, causing people to be more generous for causes they care most about. Did you know 30% of annual giving occurs in December and 10% occurs during the last three days of the year?


There are four mistakes ministry leaders tend to make during year-end fundraising:

  1. Waiting too long to get started
  2. No plan
  3. Panic blasting everyone
  4. Not getting help


Don't worry, we have you covered!

Our Year-End Campaign Coaching Course provides a proven step-by-step process to guide your ministry towards a successful year-end campaign.


For only $299 you will receive: 

  • On Demand Coaching Sessions with our expert year-end fundraising coach Gregg Pawlowski
  • Campaign Goal Calculator to help your team choose the right target
  • A year-end Digital Playbook with steps, examples and drop rates for a winning season
  • Templates for the essential deliverables
  • Reminders to help keep you accountable
  • Links to additional Helpful Resources and Tools
  • Reduced rate for Additional Coaching Sessions
  • A Proven Process for Year End Fundraising Growth!


Year-end campaigns are a MUST for your ministry. You simply can't afford to miss out on the most generous time of the year.


To learn more and purchase:


Questions? Contact me anytime!

Emily Fitchpatrick, Director of Client Services

Three Reasons Nonprofits Fail At Major Gift Fundraising

The definition of a major gift differs from organization to organization. A small nonprofit might deem a major gift as anything over $1,000 while a large, established organization might call $50,000 a major gift. Developing a major gifts strategy is critical, regardless the size of your organization. So why doesn’t every nonprofit have one?

Here are three common reasons nonprofits fail at major gift fundraising:

  1. The Fundraiser Trap

As a Founder of a startup grassroots organization over 12 years ago, I had no clue how to raise money. So, like many leaders of startup organizations, I did all I knew to do - host fundraisers. Concerts, bake sales, jewelry parties, raffles, spaghetti dinners, crock pot socials, car washes...I did it all. Are these things bad? No, not at all. However, this is not a major gifts strategy AND it’s not a plan that creates long term sustainability. This type of fundraising approach is very transactional. You show up, have some fun, tell a heartwarming story and collect. You walk away with a little money, celebrate a victory and immediately set your sights on the next fundraiser. Relying on this strategy forces you to spend your energy creating the next event and less time nurturing and building strong relationships with donors.

  1. Fear

Numbers 13 tells us that the twelve spies went into the Promised Land to scout it out before the Hebrew nation was to enter and claim what God promised them.  Joshua and Caleb came back ready to invade. The other 10 spies were terrified of the so called “giants” in the land.  They later confessed, “we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”  Why did the “giants” view the ten spies as little “grasshoppers”? Because the spies viewed themselves as little “grasshoppers”.  Instead of trusting God, believing His promise, and moving out with courage, fear paralyzed them.  If we see ourselves as grasshoppers, we will always see giants. The grasshopper mentality flees when a believer’s mind is renewed and comes into agreement with their true identity.  “Christ in you…”  Col 1:27

The lack of healthy spiritual identity keeps most Christians trapped with a grasshopper mentality.  The same identity crises seeks to trap a ministry leader as they fundraise. How do you view yourself and your ministry as you sit with an intimidating businessman/women in their high-rise office building?  If they sense you possess a “grasshopper mentality” they will pick up on it. “As a man thinks within himself, so he is.”  Proverbs 23:7

If how we view God is the most important thing about us, then our understanding of how God views us is the second most important thing about us! “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

“Looking at ourselves the way God does produces a healthy and balanced self-image, a Biblical self-esteem.  This has everything to do with your success or failure in raising funds for your ministry…and every other area of life.  One of the greatest questions anyone can answer about himself is also the simplest—“Who Am I?”    Before you can present yourself or your ministry to anyone else, you must have settled exactly who you are in your heart.  Jesus believes you are worthy of your wage.  Do you believe that?” (The God Ask, Steve Shadrach)

  1. Wearing Too Many Hats

Fundraising takes time, patience and intentionality. Building a successful major gifts program requires developing strong relationships and trust. Many nonprofit leaders are overextended and wearing too many hats. Relational fundraising can tend to fall by the wayside without an intentional plan and accountability. Creating margin in your week to work “on” your ministry, not just “in” your ministry is crucial to growth and sustainability. In ministry, it’s easy to fall victim to the tyranny of the urgent. Resisting this hamster wheel can be hard, however, with a good coach or mentor to hold you accountable – it can be done!


Now enrolling: Fall Coaching Groups (Virtual and In-Person) Available

Learn more at

Questions? Contact me anytime!

Emily Fitchpatrick, Director of Client Services