Health and Growth

How to Disciple Wealthy Donors: 6 Fundraising Strategies That Really Work

How to Disciple Wealthy Donors: 6 Fundraising Strategies That Really Work

Frank Barry

How can you attract wealthy donors to give big gifts in your church?

What I’ve found is that most pastors and church leaders are not necessarily thinking about cultivating wealthy or influential donors in the nonprofit or the charity space.

It's very common to do some sort of major strategic fundraising and have strategies to figure out who your major givers are, so that you can cultivate those relationships so that they will give to your charity. If you're the Red Cross or Big Brothers Big Sisters or American Heart Association, you want to cultivate high net worth individuals and turn them into donors to your charity. 

But churches and pastors are not necessarily trained or equipped to do this well. It goes way being just having great fundraising ideas for your church.

Churches don't necessarily have that thinking. Some of that thinking could be really, really impactful to your church. So let's talk a little bit about attracting wealthy donors and how you can do that as a pastor within a church.

1. Teach generosity in your church

You probably already know this. I'm not saying anything newsworthy here, but teaching on living generously is the foundation of all fundraising efforts in your church. Being a generous person is part of who Jesus calls us to be. Serving others, giving to others, thinking about other's needs more than our own—that’s all part of the message of Scripture.

All those biblical concepts that should be deep in our hearts over time as we mature as Christians are things that, whether you're 8th grader that's giving $5 because they're being taught about financial giving or you're a CEO at a company, move us to be generous. Teaching generosity is massively important.

2. Be a generous person with your members

Like the staff, the senior leadership being generous people themselves will produce a more generous church. If the leadership is generous and they serve enthusiastically, they give financially, they're sacrificial, they go help people move, they paint homes and they clean up gardens, and they go down to the food shelter and serve—people want to follow and imitate people like that. 

The pastors should be taking care of their people and be involved in their community, not only because Jesus called them to do it but also because Jesus called them to lead others to do it. Your church is going to reflect how you lead them and the lifestyle that you live. Living generously as a leadership team will create a church that is generous.

3. Have a specific reason for your ask

Every church has the week-to-week, month-to-month giving that people will have decided in their own hearts to do. But then there are times to make big asks. It could be for a building fund or a capital campaign. It could be for a big missions project. It could be for supporting a local charity that your church is connected with. It could be for helping clean up a local school. There could be any number of things that your church is going to do. 

Making the big ask to your church for this. If you've been teaching giving and generosity, and you've been generous and teaching your church to be generous, then you go and make the big ask. The people who have the financial means to give big will most likely feel compelled.

They’ll think: “I want to be part of this and I want to contribute to this.” And then they might come find you and strike up a conversation afterwards. It’s important not to be afraid of making the ask from stage. Making the big ask should be seen as a partnership. You want people to come along for the ride. You want your church as a whole to fund this mission project and you want to celebrate when you get it done. You want people to feel that they’re a part of that and feel the partnership. 

4. Give excellent updates to your donors

If you're making a big ask, you want to give updates along the way. That could be your weekly giving report. If you've made some big asks and you've connected with some wealthy people that are now giving to the church in bigger ways, updating your weekly giving and reporting that in your bulletin on your church app could be a way to show those givers that giving is up. 

You're not calling the person out individually, but they're seeing your update in the weekly updates that the church is giving out. It can be as simple as the weekly giving statement. It could also get as big as: “We funded the building and we were able to buy this new land.” Or: “We were able to build this new building.”

5. Thank your donors

Say “thank you” to donors face-to-face. “Thanks for your big support. Thanks for your big giving. Thanks for upping your weekly giving. Thanks for making a big donation to our building project. Thanks for funding 10 missionaries.” Say thank you face-to-face. Say thank you in a personal note where you pull out pen, write a note, and send it in the mail. Deliver it to them at church on Sunday in person. Send a note, email, or even a text message. All this is to illustrate one point: saying thank you often and from the heart is really, really important. If you don’t make this a practice, one-time big donors will not become repeat givers.

6. Minister to the wealthy in your church

We at work with a church that provides a ministry for people in executive roles at companies—COO, CEO, etc. The way they think about it is this: It's just like having the Single Moms Ministry or the Military Ministry or Kids' Ministry or any other ministry. There are these people that might be executives at their company and they want to be taken care of. They want to connect with other executives. They want fellowship with people that are in their phase of life and going through the things they're going through. So they created this ministry. They have tons of people that are part of it and they meet every month. They do what they need to do as a ministry and they create fellowship. They create times of serving together to build connection with the group.

At the same time, the church leadership makes it very known that if you're benefiting from the ministry, at some point, there’s going to be an ask. It's a ministry, but it's a known thing this group of people is super generous, able to give, and they're all on board with giving. It's a great ministry and this church is growing like gangbusters. 


There are ways to attract wealthy donors by implementing all five strategies that I listed. Do those five things, create a great ministry, and you'll have no problem attracting wealthy donors.

Show Notes

Read the full blog of this episode here:

Today on Modern Church Leader, COO Frank Barry explains how you can grow giving in your church by building relationships with the wealthy donors in your church.

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How to Disciple Wealthy Donors: 6 Fundraising Strategies That Really Work