Advances in technology have recently created new ways for churches and nonprofits to fund their community services! This good news was presented to the CDC Board by Rev. Lisanne Finston, Executive Director of Elijah’s Promise. As your church strives to help people in need, what are the new ways that you can motivate donors to fund the equipment, supplies, staff, insurance, etc. necessary for operating your projects of organized care for your surrounding community?
To identify potential donors, the first step is to realize who they are. Donors in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s tend to make smaller gifts than their parents’ generation but they give more often. Provide several opportunities over the course of the year for them to contribute to specific goals. A message such as “we are striving to raise $5,000 by September 1st to get a used van so we can deliver food to homebound seniors” is more likely to motivate these donors than a request to “help fund our food pantry.”
Not only those under age fifty, but any potential donor who uses social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is likely to use the internet to make their donation, rather than write a check. If your church is one of the 29 that belong to our community development corporation, people can donate to your community services and social justice projects by using PayPal on our CDC website. A text box opens for the donor to type instructions of where to allocate their contribution.
Donors-by-internet also expect proof of what is being accomplished with their money.They want to see how the funds are being spent. The CDC strives to give its member churches a place and platform to make their project budgets public, showing in dollars and cents their good stewardship and low overhead.
It is vital to take pictures of your work in action. Teenagers in your youth group or a young person in the neighborhood might be a great help to your project if you ask them to snap pictures and send them to the CDC. Post them on your church website, too. Also keep track of how many people your project is helping, and report your statistics frequently.
Loyal donors will attend your events and volunteer. They will read your materials, spread your efforts through their social media platforms, and engage their peers. When your project can show that it has cultivated a local base of loyal donors, it will be more likely to obtain corporate and foundation grants.
Crowd-funding is another new technique made possible by the internet, allowing people to pool their money to accomplish a specific goal, with charting of the financial progress as it happens. Giving circles seek to raise not only the immediate funds needed but the donor loyalty that will encourage lifetime support of particular local projects.
Rev. Finston directs one of the most effective and high-profile nonprofits in central Jersey. See http://www.elijahspromise.org