Scraping By or Aiming High

By Fiona Mearns | 17 October 2019

How much is enough?  Most Christian Workers raising support have at one time or another wrestled with that question.  At best it can lead to uncertainty and hesitation when speaking to potential supporters; at worst it can create a culture of ‘scraping by’, living on less than enough and convincing yourself that’s OK.  Not exactly the abundantly resourced mission that God called you to.

So where do you start when faced with the prospect of raising support?  What guidance is there when it comes to hard figures?

You may not have realised it, but help is at hand.  Right there in the letter you received when you opened your account.  Your ‘Target’.

“Based on the information you have provided, the maximum annual amount of grants we will be able to make to you is £xx,xxx.”                          

This sentence could transform your approach to support-raising, give you focus and release you from the awkwardness of wondering how much to raise.

We take the information you supply on your application form—which is why it’s so important not to miss anything out—and feed it through a Target Calculator (you can imagine a fantastical whirring contraption if that helps), which produces the figure.  Actually, there’s no mysterious process involved, it’s simply based on a number of factors, including where you are based, your role, the number of hours you work, whether you are married/have children, any other income you’re receiving, and your personal ministry expenses.  Obviously, some of those things can change over time and that may affect your ‘target’. As your target is also the maximum annual amount of grants we are able to make to you, please make sure you let us know if there is any significant change in your circumstances, role or income so we can make sure it’s set at the correct level.  If you delay telling us of a significant change in your circumstances, you may be required to repay funds received from Stewardship if you were no longer eligible to receive them.

It may be that you didn’t complete the income section on your original application form, so your target has been fixed at £1,500.  This may be revised if you can update us with the missing information. Just contact us, and we’ll send out details of what’s needed for us to calculate a target specifically for you.

There are some very good reasons for doing all this:

  • Part of our responsibility as a UK charity is to make sure the amounts of grant funding are in line with our own charitable purposes and UK charity law—that gives everyone peace of mind.
  • It gives you something to aim for based on your own circumstances (not someone else’s). As one support-raiser commented, “knowing [my target] helps me gain perspective and peace of mind.”
  • It reassures your supporters that you’re not just plucking numbers out of the air.

 Another benefit to setting the target is that your accountability group or supporters close to you can use it as a benchmark to question whether you’re raising enough.  This might be an encouragement to you if you’re getting closer to your target, or it may be the wake-up call you need: any ministry that’s significantly under-funded is not able to respond to God’s plans for it.

We know that only 1% of our recipient account holders ever reach their target.  That’s only 30 people out of the 3,000 or so with recipient accounts.  That leaves 99%—or 2,970 people—with plenty of scope to grow their support and better fund their ministries. 

Are you one of the 99%?

If you are, here are some simple actions to take:

  • If you don’t know what your target is, check your ‘welcome’ letter or, if you’ve lost track of it, get in touch with us.
  • Book yourself on our Training designed to equip you to create a healthy, sustainable ministry.
  • For biblical context, read our paper How Much is Enough.
  • Watch our Money and Ministry video series.

All this will help you to aim high, not scrape by.


Need to get in touch? To contact the Giving Services Team, telephone 020 8502 8560 or drop us an email to [email protected]

Posted by Fiona Mearns

Fiona Mearns is the Resourcing Christian Workers Coordinator at Stewardship and part of a team committed to helping individuals build and maintain strong, sustainable support networks.  She loves to write whenever there’s an opportunity and is a fan of a well-used apostrophe.

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