Anchor Partners: Overview and Tips

Identifying and Appealing to Anchor Partners

To reach and sustain your monthly budget, experience has shown that anchor partners who give major gifts are essential, not optional. You will need anchor partners—people who can give $100 or more per month or $1,000 or more in a single annual gift. These giving friends will become a stable anchor to your support goals through their major gifts. As we raise support, we do not intend to treat these friends with preferential treatment (James 2:1–13), but it is important to know and understand their unique giving preferences and procedures.


Tips for Appealing to Anchor Partners

-Identify your potential anchor partners. The profile of a person like this is often elusive. List some things to look for that would help you identify an anchor partner.
-List the names of a few names of people who might fit the above profile.

-Initiate a relationship. Make intentional efforts to get to know these potential giving friends. A person like this often is busy, so you will need to be creative in your efforts. Next to your list of potential anchor partners, jot down some ideas of how you could initiate a relationship with each person.

-Invest in the relationship with your friend. This investment will help build a kingdom perspective that may reap wonderful returns. Although investment should be mutual, in reality it may not be since people of means are often busy. Be sure not to not overlook the obvious commitment to pray specifically for one another.

-Involve yourselves in one another’s lives and work or ministry. This involvement will build your commitment to one another and your partnership in God’s Kingdom. Invite your friend to speak at a key ministry gathering or offer to be a resource for his or her work or ministry.

-Inquire about your friend’s interests and priorities in ministry and giving so you understand and appreciate his or her perspective.
-Learn as much as you can about the donor’s ministry interests, giving ability, and patterns of giving. The questions you are seeking to answer include:

-Interests: What kind of projects or organizations does he or she normally like to give to during the year?

-Timing: When are giving decisions made during the year? With this timing in mind, when should information be sent?

-Amounts: Inquire about what size of gift would be appropriate to ask as a possible investment into your ministry.

-Procedures: Research within the U.S. suggests that 62% of wealthy ministry partners who are married make their decisions in conjunction with their spouse. If your friend is married, find out how the couple makes giving decisions—individually or jointly.

-Each ministry partner’s motivation and giving preferences are unique, but anchor partners generally prefer to support needs like:

-Annual or cash (special project) requests, usually not exceeding one per year. This will cause you to present your monthly giving request as an annual amount instead of monthly, i.e. $1,200 per year instead of $100 per month.

-Projects that are easily identifiable (e.g., ministry trip, office equipment, special ministry materials, etc.). The more tangible the request, the better.

-Invite your friend to be part of your support team.
-Let him or her know you’re not appealing to hundreds of people for the particular need. Help the person understand that you will need a handful of anchor partners to reach your goals. For example, if you need to raise $15,000 for a special project, ask three anchor partners for $5,000 each. They need to know that your plan is to ask only three people and why you selected them to be among this small group.

-Ideally, your request should be made in person. If this isn’t feasible, then request permission to send a letter describing the situation and funding goals along with a specific request. Follow up the letter with a personal phone call. Be sure to retain the initiative and responsibility to bring a conclusion to the request. Be mindful that the timing of an answer is usually keyed to the timing of the anchor partner.

-In the process of your request, be sure to do your homework and anticipate questions.

-Encourage the anchor partner to give as God leads. Remember, the relationship is always more important than the money.

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