Making the Ask


When Myles Hinkel started working for the Missouri United Methodist Foundation, he asked a pastor of a successful new church start if there was anything he would do differently if he had a chance for a redo.

“He told me that he should have introduced giving as an act of discipleship right from the start,” Hinkel said. “He wished he had said upfront that giving is a spiritual practice, and is clearly expected, so he had that as part of the church culture from the beginning.”

Many churches don’t have that culture, but still have financial need. That’s why Hinkel led a workshop at Annual Conference called Making the Ask, in which he in which he offered practical information, advice and demonstrations of how to make a compelling ask for ministry support.

Hinkel, who has previously worked in development for higher education, broke the donor life cycle down into four stages.
  1. Identification: The most important stage. Who will you ask, for what purpose and how much? 
  2. Cultivation: Developing a relationship with the donor, aligning values and interests with financial capacity, most importantly – listen. 
  3. Solicitation: Meet at a location of the donors choosing, have a hard copy of the proposal available, make the ask and then be quiet and listen.  
  4. Stewardship: Give recognition, foster long-term engagement, thank in a meaningful way, report back outcomes.
Hinkel said development studies have found that the number one indicator of whether someone will give a gift is regular church attendance. It’s not just an indicator of whether they will give to church, it’s the top indicator of whether they will give to anyone seeking donations. These are the top reasons, in order, that people cite for making the decision to give.
  1. Believe in Mission 
  2. Want to Make a Difference
  3. Personal satisfaction 
  4. Give back to community
  5. Tax benefits (only 18 percent)
The Missouri United Methodist Foundation can help local churches receive gifts of stock, set up an endowment, establish scholarships and assist with other financial matters. For more information, go to