New Blog Series: The Fundraising Chronicles
I have been in full-time ministry for almost 26 years, and in that time, I’ve been amazed at what God has used me to do. For all of that time, I’ve funded my ministry through the contributions of dear friends and partners who have agreed with the mission of the work and have partnered with us in some really great ways. During those 26 years, I met my wife, who was also in full-time ministry when we met, started a family, raised three kids and saw God enable me (mostly) to provide for my family.
Over the last 8 years, God has been slowly transitioning me away from a full-time funding model to something different. Donors who once were enthusiastic about our ministry were no longer so excited. Opportunities that were open doors were now closed. In this process, I haven’t felt led to do anything different in terms of my involvement in ministry, but it’s taken me a long time to figure out that I couldn’t cling to my old models anymore. Over the last month or two, there has been a groundswell in my heart to begin researching the topic of how ministries get funded and why so many of us (I have many full-time ministry friends who as struggling with this problem) are struggling in this area. And as it relates to funding our ministry and talking to other ministry leaders who must raise the funds for their work as well, the trend I’m seeing more and more are the people who are primarily responsible for raising the money for their organizations bow out because of the annual effort it takes to keep ministries going financially. One good friend, who would be the person you’d think would be the best fundraiser ever (well-spoken, friendly, Godly Man, knows God’s word, etc,) told me that the pressure to raise his organization’s full amount was too much. His analysis was that ‘it is like painting the Golden Gate Bridge over the course of a year, and when January 1st rolls around again, you look back and the bridge has to be painted all over again!’ This friend recently went to work for a Christian youth camp where the pressure of raising the amount the camp needed was alleviated, but I mourn the loss of a good missionary who was on the front lines of worldwide Gospel ministry.
So what exactly is going on here? This is the question I hope to answer through this series of blog posts. What are those that are interested donors thinking about who they want to partner with? Why has it become harder for those of us who feel called into ministry to find the money that was once there? If money dries up but the zeal for the ministry continues, how do we handle that? Is there a case to be made for most ministry people to have a ‘side hustle’ to help with the funding, and what are some good examples of people that are successfully in ministry and working a part-time job? And in one of the areas I’m learning the most in, do missionaries realize how hard it is for donors to earn the money they have? I know I had lost sight of that! Missionaries like me, who haven’t had a ‘real’ job in their adult lives, lose sight of how hard it is for potential donors to acquire the money they have and why then they may want to hold on to a lot of it!
For those interested in tracking along, you can subscribe to the RSS Feed for my blog and receive it in your email inbox whenever there is a new post by entering your email address at the bottom right of this page. And if you have a story to add to these blogs, let me know and I’d love to have you add to the story! I hope this series is a help to many! Thanks for coming with me on this journey!