FUNDING THE VISION
Diversifying Faith-based Income for Financial Stability
For so long the church at large has depended heavily, often solely, on the philanthropic giving of its parishioners. Considering the long standing financial disparities between communities of color and our Caucasian brothers and sisters in Christ, the tithes and offerings rendered by most of our congregations tend to be substantially lower than other communities. We must not only pray that God send souls into our four walls to build up the kingdom, but we must intentionally pursue relationships and opportunities outside of the church to diversify our portfolio for stability and growth.
In this brief writing I implore you, your church and your organization to position yourself for multiple streams of income.
1. Establish an additional 501c3 connected to a “secular” evangelistic arm of your ministry. No need in reinventing the wheel, whatever outreach your church currently participates in, flush that program or like programs out and let that fall under the umbrella of your additional nonprofit.
2. Network with community and governmental agencies that can introduce you to funding opportunities you’d otherwise be unaware of. Your local community, city and state agencies have discretionary funds for churches as well as other nonprofits that is not advertised on any website. Join your local chamber of commerce, attend city council meetings, connect with the City Planner and fellowship in interfaith circles.
3. Gather your most recent 990, audited financials, a list of your board of directors (chosen based on qualifications in addition to faithfulness to the ministry) and develop a clear, well-written structured program that has the greatest opportunities for funding. As you casually watch the news, the issues that plague your city and state have budgeted funds for organizations with the ability to create lasting impact and cost effective solutions.
If you can commit to the aforementioned steps, it’s time to pursue a grant writer. The advantages of entrusting someone who is well versed with this process lifts the stresses from your staff and increases your chances of acquiring funding. Let the musician play. Encourage the choir to sing. Empower your clergy to lead. Educate your staff on proper business affairs. Hire a grant writer to fund your vision. A wise woman once told me “When you stay in your lane you cause a lot less accidents.”
8 Major Sources of Funds for Nonprofits
1. Individual Donors (weekly giving)
Accounts for 3/4 of all giving in America
2. Foundations (grants)
Family, community and corporate
3. Bequests or Planned Giving
A planned donation left in the name of a nonprofit,
likely as part of a will
4. Corporate Giving (grants)
Philanthropic, event sponsorship or cause marketing
5. Government Grants
Federal, state and local
6. Earned Income
Profits from sales, program fees, investments etc.
7. Federated Funds (grants)
A group of nonprofits together to support a cause
8. Fiscal Sponsors/Venture Capital Firm
Investors willing to support capacity costs or programs
Only pursuing #1? There’s money left on the table.