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June 14, 2018

Fundraising & Creating a Generous Culture

By Daniel Im

Trends in Fundraising

The typical model of a three-year capital fundraising campaign can be very stressful. We are starting to see a major transition to more creative models of fundraising. These new short-term, cash flow emphasis models have pastors resourcing their vision in a much less stressful way. By utilizing cash flow management, you are experiencing surplus every single month and every single year. That cushion of surplus gives you the confidence to step out in the future. There is still the potential to have to do fundraising on the other side, but it doesn’t have to have all the pressure of a three-year campaign.

Fundraising Models

The new models take some time to implement, whereas a capital campaign is a quick turnaround for a lot of cash. But a long capital campaign doesn’t move your church’s generosity culture forward in a positive way, and a lot of times it can have a negative result on your culture. As your church grows and you start having margin in your budget, get cash reserves stored up. This will allow you to know how to borrow money in the future so you do not have to worry about a three-year capital campaign. The challenge that churches face is that because they are non-profit there is always an emphasis to potentially consume every dollar, every single year, on really good things. But the more you spend today, the less you have for tomorrow.

Your vision has to be tenaciously narrow, and you have to really evaluate if every single expense is producing a measurable result in discipleship toward the vision. You are going to have key funders fall out unexpectedly before they finish their commitment to you, so as fast as you can, get to the point that you are using outside funding for only non-core elements. You always have to have a plan to spend less than you take in, and double down and make sure you just aren’t wasting your resources.

Creating a Generous Culture

In charitable giving there are multiple sectors like education, arts, environment, and so forth. Every sector of charitable giving has seen an increase in giving over the last 40 years except the church. If every other sector is increasing, it tells us that income, opportunity, and motivation are not issues. It’s a leadership issue for churches.

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Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Senior Associate Pastor of Beulah Alliance Church, a multiplying multisite church focused on reaching 1% of Edmonton for Christ. His latest book is You Are What You Do: And Six Other Lies about Work, Life, and Love. He is also the author of No Silver Bullets and co-author of Planting Missional Churches. He co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, as well as the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Because of their love for the local church, after pioneering and leading the church multiplication initiative for LifeWay, Daniel and his wife, Christina, moved back to Canada with their three children. For more information, visit danielim.com and follow him on social media @danielsangi.


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