Roger looked fearful. He was always such a positive friend, a perpetual encourager, but today he was distracted. His words were filled with upbeat spin, but his voice revealed an uncertain and disheartened spirit. And, his eyes were a dead giveaway.
“Tell me what happening, really,” I began.
“Ministry is great, never better,” he relied, “but donations are down 75%. We are barely paying the basic bills, much less casting a vision for next year. It’s hard to dream of what could be done, when you no longer have the funds to do what you are currently doing.”
“How have you survived?”
“We have cut back, I’ve taken odd jobs, borrowed from friends, and depleted our savings account. Something has to change. I dread the first of the month.”
By most accounts, this is a tough time for all ministries and non-profits. Most have experienced a significant decrease in funding, while experiencing an increase in demand and response. Add recent natural disasters to our down economic times and uncertain tax and regulation changes, and you have millions of people opting to hold on to their funds worried about the future. The stage is set for a long term funding crisis in ministries and non-profits.
This is a bigger issue than an end of the year gifting or fund management and assessment challenge. The answers aren’t found in mining new foundations or reviving the process of grant writing. The big boys are overloaded with applications and requests.
Most individual donors receive multiple funding requests via snail mail and through email everyday. Most don’t get opened. It short the status quo is overwhelmed.
Three innovative options:
- There is a new generation of donors coming into view. They are involved and passionate and want to make things happen. For them, it’s not about the money; it’s about engaging in the process and making a difference.
- Ministries are moving toward creating products and services that can generate streams of revenue beyond the lack of donations. What used to be offered free, will now have fees attached. That will be hard for some to accept, but the trend is undeniable. It’s coming…the people who get the services will help pay the freight.
- Crowd Funding is fast becoming a viable financial option for non-profits and ministries. These Internet based programs bring together a community of givers, who experience giving as personal adventure. Large numbers of small gifts make a difference. We are currently trying a crowdfunding approach with the “I Really Lived” Project” (Click Here).
God is still in the room. He provides, but He expects His people to use the gifts He has already given: intuition, creativity, wisdom, and faith. When the time is right, He will provide…people and resources. He will connect the dots.
We are not alone, even though it may seem like it, we are not alone.