Make Your 2020 Year-End Better than 2019

If you want to raise more money, you need to learn the six different ways that money can be raised in churches. | by Don Corder

As America moves toward a post-Christian context, you have an opportunity to think beyond tithes and capital campaigns and begin to imagine how you can collect charitable revenue by tapping into the other four underutilized streams. There are six main categories for churches to collect charitable revenue:

The Annual Campaign

Historically, tithes and offerings have been the only source of revenue for most churches. A national average shows that US tithers give an average total of around $2500 per year. The total gift is usually given in smaller amounts sporadically throughout the year.

NOTE: These gifts should be cultivated year-round with a definite push at year-end.

Major Gifts

This is the main source of revenue for most nonprofits, excluding churches. Most major gifts are $2500 per year or more given by both individuals and corporations.

NOTE: Requesting major gifts means that the fundraiser cultivates donors year-round and then asks according to the preferences of the donor.

Grants & Contracts

This type of charitable revenue is defined as short term funding for expanding organizational capacity. Grants can be any size ranging from thousands to millions of dollars. Sources for such grants include charitable foundations, corporations, and even government agencies.

Capital Campaigns

This form of charitable revenue is a complementary campaign designed to raise capital for a special and specific project. A campaign’s size is dependent upon the size of the project as well as the capacity of the organization. Sources for capital campaigns include individuals, corporations, and foundations and have a very clear beginning, middle and end which can vary from several months to several years.

Planned Giving/Bequests

The most underutilized revenue source among churches is defined as gifts that will fund at a future date through a bequest, trust, or annuity. Gift sizes can be smaller but range up into the millions of dollars and are usually given by those who have reached middle age and are starting to plan their estate. Planned giving and bequests are cultivated over multiple years and as circumstances allow.

Social Enterprise

Categorically, this is the forgotten option. Social enterprise usually involves for-profit business units operated under the umbrella of a nonprofit. Strong churches and nonprofits tend to like social enterprise because it creates social impact in a community, flexibility regarding profit, and responsiveness to understanding a customer’s needs.

So let me ask two questions. Which of these six have you worked proactively to cultivate? Which would be easiest or hardest to implement in your church? My guess is that most church leaders focus on two: tithes and capital campaigns. This is not enough.

If this interests you, find a coach who can train you in philanthropy so your imagination can be released to develop a workable plan to increase charitable revenue and grow your church’s impact.

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