Many ministries believe that there is no money available to them for ministry. Is that an accurate perception?
Robert: Absolutely NOT. In an average year, more than 40% of the +-200 Billion private dollars are given to the almost two million non-profits in the United States (one-third of whom claim to be "religious"). In addition, if the American church simply tithed, there would be more than enough money to fund most of the viable social outreach programs. We are in the midst of a trillion dollar generational transfer of wealth during the next three years--and more than 20 Trillion dollars will transfer from one generation to the other during the our generation! Christian ministries are some of the least prepared to receive this money. This MUST change!
The problem is not the lack of money, but the lack of understanding HOW to be ready to receive and access the money. I believe and teach that in order to access funds, we must learn the process of becoming an "artful asker" which includes knowing your organization well enough, letting your need be known in writing, knowing who to ask, what and how much to ask for, when to ask, and how to build appropriate Biblical relationship with a funder.Back to Top
How long have you been teaching this process of building Biblical relationships with funders?
Robert: I have been writing grants for about 20 years and teaching the "building of Biblical relationship with funders" process for about fourteen years to religious organizations. However, the process works for any non-profit organization because believe it or not, The Bible works. Every "priinciple" that I teach is based entirely on Scripture--although I focus on the practical application.
Why did you start teaching grant writing?
Robert: I started learning this process while I was helping a group access needed funds. We did not have the money to pay someone else to write our grant so I was forced to learn the process myself.
Ministries are often in that same place-limited time and money. I believe that they can learn to write for themselves and teach that process throughout the workshop, video, and all of the follow-up coaching and assistance I give as a part of my ministry. The Artful Askers Workshop helps them to begin learning the process, gives samples of fundable grants with various outlines, lets people know where to go for help, and helps them to become engaged in the process.
We've produced a video series of the Artful Askers Workshop which we believe will help even more people to learn the process. The more ministries who can learn and teach others, the better.
What do you mean when you say build a Biblical relationship?
Robert: Many funders have shared with me that the extent of the gratitude they receive is merely the "Thank you and God bless!" under the endorsement on the back of the check. This problem is not new. The Scriptures tell of ten lepers that were healed but only one returned to say "thank you" to Jesus--AND THEIR ENTIRE GRANT REQUESTS WERE APPROVED!
Good Biblical relationships are built not only by saying "thank you" when a donation is received--but genuinely appreciating the gift and the giver. The same MUST be shown when your request is denied. We should still express our appreciation for consideration-we didn't get the resource that we wanted but we did receive a valuable resource-their time.
As believers, we need to ask God to change our hearts so that we become genuinely appreciative and grateful not only for money but even that a funder has taken time to review our proposal. It isn't just learning to go through the motions of expressing appreciativeness. Rather, it is about asking God to change our hearts so that we may truly BE appreciative--the Biblical way of conducting a relationship.
How is this relationship going to increase my chances of getting funded?
Robert: First of all, building Biblical relationships is God's way of doing things. We are always successful when we do things His way. Secondly, funders need to know you and your organization. They give money to people they know and trust. They don't want to know all that you know but they want to know that you know it. By being compelling, convincing, and concise, and by building a relationship with them, you give them the opportunity to get to know you. The fact is, foundations are highly regulated organizations and they are required by law to give away a certain proportion of their marketable assets or they pay the government a fine. So, they want and need a good organization just as much as you want and need them.
The process I teach is effectivewith individuals, corporations, foundations, churches, associations, and even with state/federal opportunities!
How do you find these funders?
Robert: In the Artful Askers Workshop and on our new video series, we teach people how to research individuals, foundations, and corporate giving programs.
Most local libraries and the internet have all of the tools any organization needs to find funders in their area or funders interested in their type of program. In addition, every State in the Union has at least two depositories that have ALL of the publications and resource technologies available. Funders are not hard to find once you know what you are looking for and where to look for them.
But most people--even ministry leaders, don't know what they don't know about this "process." God would not call you to do something and then NOT fund it would He? Of course not. I teach people to examine the relationships that God has placed around them to support His call upon their life. If one does not have local credibility and support in Jerusalem first, they will never have credibility in Judea, Samaria, or outermost parts. . . I teach people to explore and steward relational-connections and they will never need to make "cold" calls.
After I have researched funders, what is the next step? How do I present my organization and our needs?
Robert: There are three primary elements to the success of the "process" that I teach. Doing good research is about 25% of the success, writing a fundable proposal is 25% of the success, and building a Biblical relationship with a funder is the remaining 50%. After research, the part of the process that follows is called a proposal.
I teach that a one-and-a-half page cover letter, a one-page summary sheet, and a four-page proposal is the maximum. Many organizations need help in knowing how to present themselves. It is not enough to be able to verbalize your vision. You must be able to communicate it in writing. I teach the three C's when compiling the written proposal: Convincing, Compelling, and Concise. You must understand your organization well in order to meet the three C's.
Sounds like a lot to learn! Can the average person or organization learn this process?
If I can learn it and do it, anybody can! It will take hard-work and committment but anything worthwhile takes that. I want to do all I can to help as many ministries as possible learn how to do this process for themselves.
How many ministries have you taught this process?
Robert: There are almost two million 501(c)(3)'s in the United States and one-third of them claim to be religious. I have taught approximately 20,000 in the past thirteen years. But that is not enough, the work of the Kingdom is vital and the more people I can teach this process the more the Kingdom will be advanced. That is why I teach the workshop and why we have produced the video series.
Tell us about the video series. Is it an actual, entire seminar?
Robert: Yes, it is three very concise one-hour tapes with the workbook included. Organizations may still want to take the Workshop. Many want to take the Workshop several times and once you pay for a Workshop, there is only a small charge to take it again. The video series will allow organizations to "take the workshop" over and over in their own home or share it with others. Once they have learned the process, they can teach others.
Where can people reach you to schedule a seminar and how can they obtain a copy of the video series?
Robert: I am currently traveling very little but I am scheduling well into 2005.
You can obtain a list of materials or schedule a workshops by calling (660) 747-6390.
In addition to the Artful Askers Video Series ($149 plus $15 S/H), we sell the Artful Askers Workbook ($39), have a Samples Manual on cd ROM which contains more than 400 hours of writing and research on successful proposals and other materials ($39), and have other materials and writing/consulting services. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org