by A. Scott Moreau and Mike O’Rear
This edition of “Missions on the Web” will introduce you to sites that offer help in the area of fundraising.
Missionaries and mission agencies cannot afford to ignore the wealth of new fundraising tools, services and advice now available via the Internet. Your younger donors, in particular, increasingly expect to use the Web both to access information-more, clearer, and more frequently updated financial and project information-and for the convenience of online giving.
This edition of "Missions on the Web" will introduce you to sites that offer help in the area of fundraising. We cover a broad spectrum dealing with everything from personal missionary support development to grant-making foundations and professional development officers.
RAISING PERSONAL SUPPORT
Information about training resources for missionary support development is available on the Web from a variety of organizational perspectives.
Scott Morton, vice president of development for The Navigators, has created Dawson Media. It includes information on his four-video series "Raising Personal Support" with 85-page workbook ("more than 70 Christian organizations worldwide have used it to train their missionaries"), the three-video set "Fund Your Ministry!" and his new paperback book Funding Your Ministry.
You can read about, and purchase online, Pete Sommer’s Getting Sent: A Relational Approach to Support Raising. For many years, Sommer served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as associate director of campus ministries for development and has conducted support-raising seminars and training for Christian workers in many organizations.
Betty Barnett, a long-term member of Youth With A Mission, has written Friend Raising: Building A Missionary Support Team That Lasts, which is available as a paperback book and video.
William Dillon, executive director of Inner City Impact for twenty-five years with over 30 years of fundraising experience, makes his People Raising available as a paperback book, video set, audio tape set and study guide. He also provides a free monthly e-mail newsletter.
Neal Pirolo, director of Emmaus Road International, offers his book Serving As Senders, the audio tape series "Building Your Support Team" and other training resources.
For live, interactive training, see the two-day intensive Boot Camp for Personal Support Raising led by Steve Shadrach of Body Builders. Shadrach was the founder of Student Mobilization and has over 15 years experience training people to raise personal support.
Several broader missions resource Web sites have sections devoted to fundraising. These include:
• OSCAR, "The UK Information Service for World Mission".
Ask a Missionary is a kind of public FAQ (frequently asked questions) forum enabling missionaries to provide advice to one another. From their home page, click on the Support-Raising link to view a series of practical questions with multiple answers to each.
SEEKING MAJOR GRANTS
The right foundation can provide substantial financial support for your agency or ministry project. Many foundations now have their own Web presence, so visit their home pages before submitting a proposal. Often their site will give you important insight you can’t easily obtain elsewhere. Some foundations even allow-or require-you to fill out an application online and/ or to send in your proposal as a word processing document attached to an e-mail.
Discovering what ministry projects a foundation actually funds can be helpful in searching for a match for your proposal. GuideStar provides descriptions of all US foundations, including an online copy of their most recent IRS Form 990. This federally-required, annual report includes, among other things, a list of the recipients and dollar amounts of the grants the foundation made that year.
The Foundation Center is the serious online resource for grant seeking. Their Foundation Finder helps you quickly view basic information about a foundation, including a copy of its latest Form 990. Their Foundation Directory Online offers in-depth search capability at different levels of subscription plans, starting at $19.95 per month. They provide a wealth of other research and training resources, as well.
The National Christian Foundation is a unique ministry to both donors and non-profits. It works with ministry organizations to set up their own virtual foundation which can receive cash, stock, etc. Donors can contribute (anonymously, if they wish) to the mission agency’s account at the foundation and receive a tax-deductible receipt. The mission agency can then take money out of the account whenever they wish.
A new breed of matching service is just now coming online to help connect major donors with ministries. For instance, The Maclellan Foundation has unveiled the Generous Giving Marketplace which "allows evangelical Christian ministries to submit their grant proposals to a large database. Givers, in turn, may browse this database for the perfect giving opportunity."
Troy Stremler (previously with YWAM and Mission Builders) is creating Newdea, "a leading provider of high-quality, philanthropic matching technology and services. . . . Newdea provides donors with access to hundreds of faith-based charitable organizations worldwide, as well as research tools, analyses and project assessments to aid donors in their due diligence."
SF Foundation seeks to minister by "bridging the communications gap between nonprofit organizations and their donors." Not exactly a matching service, SF helps ministries prepare summary "standard forms" tailored to the questions frequently asked by donors, and then provides potential donors with online access to these summary reports.
To see the process more from the major donor’s perspective, take a look at the Council on Foundations, a nonprofit membership association of grant-making foundations. The evangelical equivalent is The Gathering, offering education, networking and assistance to foundations and major donors wishing to give to Christian ministries.
Web-based services now offer your donors the convenience of making their financial contributions online. A number of mission agencies are using Online Giving.com which, among other services, enables your donors to give charitable contributions through your own agency’s Web site. Co-founder Alan Bergstedt is a familiar name among missions fundraisers, with executive leadership experience at Wycliffe Associates, World Vision, and Christian Management Association.
UK-based ministries will find that Stewardship Services provides a similar array of services to facilitate online giving.
Injesus.com "is a free web service that makes communication and fundraising easy for Christian ministries." They offer a simple-to-use integration of email group management, message archiving, and fundraising services through OnlineGiving.com.
In the broader world of philanthropy, Network for Good (www.net workforgood.org/) is a leading site. Working together with GuideStar, they provide extensive information about US non-profit corporations, including mission agencies-your agency should be listed there. Their site enables viewers to make a financial contribution online to their favorite non-profit.
PayPal is a quick and easy service designed to let individuals send money to other individuals or corporations through PayPal’s Web site. Some missionaries are encouraging support team members to use this service to make their financial contributions.
Another recent arrival on the Web is the "charity shopping portal"-online shopping sites that pay commissions to member charities. They aggregate a number of merchants into a single site, allowing the donor/shopper to choose from a wide variety of online stores, and passing commissions from the vendors through to the nonprofit. Several mission agencies have signed up with iGive.com, one of the larger and more popular portals.
A related Web service is the e-commerce affiliate program. E-commerce merchants, such as Amazon.com, have affiliate programs through which nonprofits can earn money for referring customers to the merchant from their Web site.
FOR THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OFFICER
While not our primary focus in this article, there are a number of services available on the Web for the professional fundraiser.
Christian Stewardship Association is a membership organization that equips "Christian leaders with an understanding of biblical stewardship through education, research, resources and networking opportunities." They provide training institutes, conferences and research.
The Web site of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability includes material that every mission agency ought to take seriously, including a 10-point "Donor’s Bill of Rights" and "Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship," the bulk of which deals with fundraising.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy is also very helpful.
A FEW EXAMPLES
Mission agencies are rapidly learning to harness the Internet for the benefit of their fundraising efforts.
Crown Financial Ministries goes even further, giving donors a whole set of Web pages that facilitate their support of the ministry; they include their "Fund-Raising Guidelines," as well.
Each month, the OnlineGiving.com site features excellent examples of mission agency implementations of their service.
MOVING INTO THE FUTURE
Attributing the insight to Yogi Berra, the Maclellan Foundation’s Tom McCallie likes to say, "predicting is difficult, but especially when it is about the future." One thing is clear: some donors, and the organizations and coaches who serve them, are giving a lot of thought to the future of missions giving.
The boomer generation and younger donors expect a different kind of relationship with the ministries they support, centered in an enhanced level of communication. McCallie says that people want good information, they want numbers, they want outcomes, they want collaborative efforts; and the Web seems to make sense as a means of facilitating this enhanced donor/ministry relationship. But McCallie also sees too many churches and mission agencies being resistant to change in this area, slow in meeting the needs of the younger group of donors.
We believe that, by God’s grace, mission agencies will continue to be in the forefront of responsibly adapting innovative technology to serve the Lord of the harvest. So go ahead, log on, and ask God to impress upon your heart a vision for using the Internet to strengthen financial support for his mission around the world.
A. Scott Moreau is editor of EMQ and chair of Intercultural Studies at Wheaton College (Wheaton, Ill.). His email address is A.S.Moreau@wheaton.edu and the Wheaton Missions Department web address is www.wheaton.edu/intr
Mike O’Rear is the president of Global Mapping International (Colorado Springs, Colo.), which is dedicated to providing access to information for church and mission leaders, especially in the Majority World. He also serves as Lausanne senior associate for information technology. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and the GMI web address is www.gmi.org
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