One of our disclaimers in the Visual Story Network is that we are not a funding organization. We are a nonprofit depending on ministry investments from various churches, families, businesses, and foundations. That being said, here are a few thoughts for the hundreds of us climbing that long steep face of Mt. Fund Development. Here are the principles that I have seen work in ministry as well as in film projects.
Five Keys to Fund Development
1. If real estate is all about location, location, location, fund development is all about vision, vision, vision. There must be a clear vision that compels people to loosen their already over-stressed purse strings. Visions are birthed from insight about a unique need or opportunity.
2. In order for there to be a vision, there absolutely must be a visionary. Someone has to believe what few others can believe, at least in the beginning. For followers of Jesus, this is what we describe as a calling. I never look at any project in-depth until I have a sense of who the visionary leader is. Yes, God is the Vision-Giver, but He always gives birth to visions through flesh-and-blood people.
3. The true visionary will pursue a vision for years if necessary. There are many people inspired with great ideas, but very few who will commit the thousands of hours, the disappointment and rejection in order to achieve what only they can see.
4. Fund development success is progressive. Most people who have raised $1 million for a project have already raised $100,000+ for a prior project and most likely $10,000+ for a project before that one. If your first project is a seven-figure one, you are probably shooting too high. How can people know if you can be trusted with six zeros after the "1" if you haven't been faithful with five (or four). If I remember correctly, it seems Scripture teaches something to this effect.
5. Fund development is the search to find the people who care about what you care about. You will have to share your vision over and over, with an ever-broadened audience, in order to find the people that God has already chosen to partner with you. To find one new financial ministry partner, I have to share the vision with four people. This takes great persistence and perseverance.