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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"People Raising" (William P. Dillon)

TITLE: People Raising: A Practical Guide to Raising Funds
AUTHOR: William P. Dillon
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2012, (240 pages).

Fund raising again? If you are familiar with non-profits, you will be familiar with the constant request for money and donations by various organizations who call themselves non-profits. From educational institutions to ecological interest groups; school functions to various altruistic purposes, fund-raising is a necessary evil to some but a critical source of survival for many. For all the great plans and powerful visions, the mission will fail if there is no fuel to sustain its activities. For many Christian organizations, just the word "fund-raising" would lead to a 50% decline in interest both ways. For the one raising funds, it seems more like a chore. For the prospect being approached, it appears to be another of those money-seeking requests in the name of charity.

That is why this book is such an important contribution to change our mindsets, our motivational skills, and our master strategies to help fulfill the bigger picture of any non-profit organization or group. William Dillon is a founder and president of an organization called "People Raising." This group provides guidance and training to help non-profits, especially Christian organizations to raise support for their work. In an aptly named book, raising funds is secondary. Raising people is primary. This book is now into its second edition aims to show us that money should not be the key focus. The key focus must be to build people up for the kingdom of God.

This begins with a positive attitude toward fund-raising, that it develops people through prayer and information updates. It cultivates connectivity to a bigger picture. It promotes fellowship among diverse groups that serve the same Lord. It also builds up the missionaries and faith workers who have dedicated themselves to the cause of Christ. Dillon shows us the biblical basis of fundraising, removes any guilt factor, and reminds us that raising funds is less about us but more about the mission. In another word, raising funds is a ministry in itself because it raises people both giver, receiver, the organization, and the networks of influence. Dillon provides 12 tips on how to cultivate such skills:

  1. With a strategy, start with our home church
  2. Determine to who we will go for funds
  3. Record, catalog, and prioritize our prospects
  4. Get the Word out
  5. Make appointments
  6. Conduct the visit
  7. Track funds
  8. Express gratitude
  9. Conduct a phone appointment
  10. Expand our contacts
  11. Cultivate our Donors
  12. Resolicit Funds
Every step comes with detailed practical instructions, how to graciously handle objections, and to correct in love. From his experience, Dillon is able to highlight six critical skills that any "people raiser" needs to develop.
  1. How to secure an appointment over the phone
  2. How to handle common phone objections
  3. How to conduct the visit
  4. How to handle four common responses
  5. How to ask for referrals
  6. How to tell stories
The last few chapters of the book anchors the whole fund-raising strategy on coaching, prayer and faith. This is probably the best book I have read about practical fundraising. It helps to change perspectives of fund-raising from negative to positive. It brings back the importance as well as the ministry value, that fund-raising is not just about the money. It is about building people up, from giver to receiver, from organization to organization, to participate in a mission to bring Christ to all. 

All leaders of non-profits need to read this book. Far too many organizations have become stuck and stagnant the moment they are short on money. We need to be long on relationships and friendship building. Not every strategy will work. Not every fund-raising effort will bring in dividends. However, the moment we are able to see God's hand at work, when we move away from money concerns toward people building up one another. we see not coins and handouts but koinonia in action. I strongly recommend this book for a leaders, missionaries, and faith workers all over the world.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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