Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Church Fundraising: a question

After yesterday's rant about church fundraising, I thought I'd ask:

What do you think are good ways for churches to do fundraising?

I'm genuinely curious to know!


dhoyaia said...

where to begin with an answer....

La Tricoteuse said...

Why is it even an issue for church parishes to need to raise funds?

If it boils down to real estate, then retrench and meet in people's homes; there's no shame in that. Jesus didn't have a problem with it. To me, maintaining real estate beyond your means is pointless 'brand allegiance', the brand being the belief that congregations must meet in big buildings that look like churches.

If it boils down to staffing, then abolish the paid clergy and ask for volunteers. But you gotta ask yourself, if you have plenty of people in your congregation and there is not enough money for staff, where are you living? People always come first, and if you can't pay people ahead of any other bills, something is seriously out of line.

I think that scrabbling for money from your fellow parishioners betrays a poverty-consciousness that is contrary to the spirit of the Lilies of the Field speech. Did Jesus ever go to a fundraiser? Did anyone ever ask him to pledge to a bowlathon? No, because was a regular Blanche DuBois and had no problem relying on the kindness of strangers, relying being the key word, and not hustling.

It is therefore disingenuous to throw a party to make your fellows part with their money to meet your specific goals. And it is doubly disingenuous to label that party 'fellowship' in order to sanctify its lucrative purpose and to up the emotional blackmail ante. It would be more honest just to ask for money, trusting that what shows up is what you need.

In the church context 'fundraising' is another word for 'emotional blackmail' and needs to be handled with extreme caution.

Lorin said...

I've worked with churches that are really straight up about paying "your share." The budget costs X, there are Y members, everyone owes X/Y. If you can't afford it, pay half. Its an interesting tack.

it's margaret said...

we have all kinds of fund raising events -but we never keep a cent of it ourselves.... or it is to send kids away to camp or on a mission trip.... but never to fix the roof or pay the bills.

the excitement that the giveaway giving generates seems to make more generous givers.... does that make sense?

Laura Toepfer said...

Makes sense to me!

I got this email from a friend who's a professional fundraiser:

"There's a perception that fundraising is begging and it is not. It is asking a community of folks (church, hospital, school, tree lovers) to support the onging success and viability of community institutions and their reward is participation, goals achieved and personal satisfaction. We shoudn't guilt people into giving, we should "pride" them into participating.

And we are not "non-profits"---we are community benefit organizations!

and we should measure the effectiveness of what we are doing in terms of actual difference made. Sometimes an event is both a qualitative and a quantitative success. (e.g. the fundraisers for CnC because they bring in funds but also expose the larger group to the program) However, for those who never attend such things, we accomplish neither goal. So is it money and time well spent? Could we have had a virtual party or a party without all the effort to gather auction material, etc. And what are the metrics of success? or failure? And do we ask our congregations how they feel about any of these things? We aren't donor centric in the sense that we try to respond to congregation needs. We tell them what WE need. And I could go on and on!"

Anonymous said...

I have had a lot of luck with Fundraiser 1.0. It's great for churches to be able to get their patrons involved with very little money, just time that turns into money. the link is:

Laura Toepfer said...

Thanks for the tip!

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