If you’re requiring them to raise their own support, there are a couple of ways church plant staff fundraising will be different.
It’s common for overseas missionaries to raise funds to cover their own in-the-field expenses. Full-time, vocational church planters should follow that example for their church plant (you’re a missionary to your community, right?).
But if you’re the lead planter, fundraising will be different for your staff than it is for you.
Church Plant Staff Fundraising Timing
The process of recruiting staff and getting to the point of the job offer can be time consuming. But before they say yes, they need to have clear expectations of their fundraising requirements.
Here’s where it can get a little tricky. I’m making 2 assumptions at this point:
- They have not raised any support because they haven’t accepted a job offer
- They need to raise support because your church plant can’t fully afford them otherwise
So how are you going to pay them in month one?
What I’ve seen too often is secondary staff getting hired first and then beginning fundraising. It would be completely normal for their support not to start coming in for 30 to 60 days. You’ve just set up an early financial crisis for your church plant.
You may want to take another cue from the missionary field and require your staff to raise 75-100% of commitments and/or have 25-50% banked before being able to come on payroll. That creates a situation where they start with sustainable funding.
And if they don’t have the capacity to raise the majority of their goal, it’s better to know now and make an informed decision about whether or not to carry their salary expense.
It’s easier to delay hiring or hire part-time and then grow them into full-time salary than it is to start them full-time and then have to cut them back.
Church Plant Staff Fundraising Capacity
It’s common to run into the following fundraising capacity complications with secondary staff:
Unless you’re hiring someone older and more experienced than you, your candidate may have a smaller pond to fish from.
Full-time church planters are able to raise funds when they have built extensive networks of family, friends, coworkers and ministry connections. That requires years of ministry and/or business networking.
If your secondary staff candidates are younger and/or have smaller networks, they may not have the same fundraising capacity as you.
Less Experience Raising Funds
In the same vein, they may have even less fundraising experience than you do. Of course that can be overcome, but may require more time.
And if you’re hiring them as part-time staff, how much of their already limited time will you ask them to devote to raising funds? If they’re bi-vocational to make ends meet, can they take time off that job for a fundraising trip?
Don’t let these issues catch you by surprise. Go into the recruiting and candidacy process with some of these decisions already made. And work hard at open communication both ways.
Knowing how church plant staff fundraising is different will help you make staffing decisions with eyes wide open.