Providing Professional Giving Counsel
Capital Fund Campaigns - Operating Budget
Campaigns - Planned Giving
July 2008 - INSIDE THIS ISSUE. . .
1. Is Our Present National Economy a Reason to Delay Capital Fund Campaigns? Click
We hope you are enjoying your summer. We also hope you will find ways to take time off during this summer for rejuvenation, to reflect on life, to appreciate the beauty of creation, and to spend special times with friends and family. In our production-focused country, many of us often forget to take time off. We are enjoined to take a Sabbath every seventh day, to take time away from work, to re-evaluate our priorities, to make sure that our lives are in order, and to appreciate the blessings that we have. We have just celebrated the 4th of July, and it reminds us that we are truly fortunate to live in a country where we have the freedom to worship as we please and to choose which organizations we wish to financially support to provide for the well-being of our society. Summer can be a time to make up for lost Sabbath time during the first part of the year, to re-discover the wonder of life and to re-energize for the challenges that lie ahead.
In this mid-summer edition of Wyden Your Horizons, we share insights about how churches respond in the midst of national financial crises - how they put faith in front of fears and raise funds that are necessary for them to enlarge their facilities to be able to provide the facilities and social services for those who are in need.
Also in this season, many social agencies conduct fund-raising events by enlisting individuals to run, or walk, engage in some physical activity to inspire donations. We share some statistics about why these may not be the best ways to raise funds or to contribute to the support of these agencies.
We appreciate hearing from our readers. If you have any insights to share or if you have any questions about our services, please don't hesitate to call using our toll-free number. May you have a wonderful summer, and a blessed remainder of the year.
I was called to the specialized ministry of church financial faith-raising early in 1987. As many of you may remember, on October 19th of that year, the stock market had the largest one day drop in history. The Dow Jones lost $500 billion dollars in value in that one day! Yet many churches that year and in the following year, 1988, decided to conduct ambitious Capital Fund Campaigns to renovate and to fund large additions to their facilities. If they had believed the loud media proclamations that this was the "worst" of financial times, they wouldn't have proceeded with these campaigns. Similarly, during the recession of the early 90s, the media once again proclaimed that this was "the worst" financial crisis. Yet once again in the midst of this financial crisis many churches decided to conduct large Capital Fund Campaigns to renovate and even to construct new facilities. If they had put their fear in front of their faith they wouldn't have risen to this challenge. Now with the banking mortgage crunch, the huge spike in the costs of gasoline, and the turbulence in the stock market, many in the media are once again shouting that this is "the worst" financial time. Yet once again we are working with many churches who are stepping out in faith to raise millions of dollars to renovate and to add on their facilities. We also are working with several denominational judicatories that are aiming to raise millions of dollars to improve their programs and facilities.
Why would these organizations dare to think that they could raise large amounts of funds when the national financial situations seem so turbulent and dismal? Because they realize that especially in times like this, people need churches and non-profit social services agencies to be strong to help to deal with and to survive through this financial crisis. It is an inspiring fact that during "The Great Depression", another most challenging financial time, churches provided the bulk of the social services for those that were in need. Whenever our nation has faced financial crises that cause many to be in great need, the church responds to provide assistance and hope.
One of the Pastors of an inner-city church told us that due to the mortgage crisis, the huge increase in the cost of gasoline, and the corresponding increase in the costs of food, many families in his congregation who were barely hanging on before this crisis, now are losing their homes and are becoming homeless. Yet this same congregation is conducting a major Capital Fund Campaign this year. There are now many individuals in communities throughout our country who are in dire need of having strong churches and non-profit social services around them, who are be able to provide the services and ministries that they need to sustain their families and their spirits in these trying times.
Churches that are conducting Capital Fund Campaigns in today's "worst of financial times" are willing to admit that they also have members who have significant funds to give. Not all wealth disappears during a national financial crisis and conducting an inspiring, Faith-raising Capital Fund Campaign is a way to demonstrate that faith can prevail in the midst of difficult circumstances. When churches ask us if they should delay their campaigns to "more favorable financial times" we always remind them that God doesn't always put needs before us when we have a lot of money. God puts needs before us when we need to grow in faith in God's providing.
We have found that the internal factors in a church are typically the
primary factor in determining the ability of the church to raise funds,
rather than outside circumstances. The
commitment of the membership to the church, to each other, and the level of
their faith in God's providing has much more effect on the ability of the
church to raise funds than any outside factors. If God has put needs before
your congregation at this time, it may be a sign that these times may
provide a golden opportunity for your church to conduct a significant
Faith-Raising Capital Fund Campaign to strengthen your church in its ability
to respond to those in need, and to grow in your faith in God's abundant providing,
and in the Joy of Generosity. Top
Summer is a prime time for charities to conduct marathons to raise funds. Many individuals feel this presents a win-win opportunity to get some exercise and at the same time to support their favorite charities. Consequently, many charities have created annual walkathons, running marathons, golf outings, sponsors' dinners, or other events to raise funds for their causes. However, participating in one of these fundraising events may not be the best way to provide funds for your favorite charities. Charity Navigator, a charity watch-dog group, suggests that these events may be an inefficient way to raise money for charities. Their report found that on average charities spend $1.33 to raise $1.00 when they conduct this type of fund-raising effort.
Larger, long-established charities can have a much more profitable result. The American Cancer Society spends less than 11 cents for every dollar it raises through special events, like its "Relay for Life", and the March of Dimes spends 13 cents for each dollar raised through such events, according to Charity Navigator.
But these successes are harder to replicate for smaller charities. The larger, well-established charities usually have a well-connected Board and a compelling cause. Trent Stamp, President of Charity Navigator, states, "If you don't have those advantages, it may just be a "fun run." Many organizations arrange for businesses and corporations to donate goods and services that they can auction off, or use as rewards for those who participate in their events. However, as more and more organizations are creating fund-raising events, it is becoming more competitive and more difficult to secure these award prizes and corporate sponsors. Often when smaller charities cannot secure corporate sponsors or donated goods and services, they have to buy them. According to Charity Navigator, "If you think you are helping a charity by participating in a 5K, odds are that if they're making any money at all, they're making pennies on the dollar."
Bennett Weiner, Chief Operating Officer for the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, suggests that you ask your charity how much it expects to raise through its fund-raising event. If they won't provide an estimate, ask how much they raised, after expenses, during the last time they held such an event.
Also, donors who participate in fund-raising events should be aware that not all of their contribution may be tax-deductible. Your deduction is limited to the amount that your donations exceed any benefits you may receive. Most charities will tell you the fair market value of any meals, tickets, or other benefits you may receive.
Participating in fund-raising events for your charities can be great fun,
and they can enable you to make new friends, and they can help to develop
the organization's community identity and group spirit. But if you really
want to produce money that the charity can use to overcome its chosen cause,
just writing a check may be the most effective and efficient way to help. Top
VanderWyden Consultants provide professional fund-raising
guidance to non-profit organizations and churches who need assistance
with their fund-raising. We provide professional guidance for Capital Fund Campaigns, Stewardship
Operating Budget Campaigns, Planned Giving Campaigns, Comprehensive
Financial Feasibility Studies, and Workshops on the dynamics of stimulating growth in
membership. If you would like to meet with us, since we provide our services
throughout the United States, we can be available to meet with your
church leadership. If your church would like to
host one of our Professional Workshops for churches or non-profit
organizations in your area, we can provide a discount in our services for
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Rev. P. William VanderWyden, CFRE