Fundraising Help

Todd

Advice please!No worries, I’m not asking for money (yet). I’m looking for some advice. As I said in my last post, Breathe is alive and well. However, our current demographic makeup isn’t really a high-dollar-worth group. The expenses for Breathe are quite minimal, but they’re still there. And we need to figure out a way to generate some funds.

One way I’ve considered is doing some traditional fundraising with churches our committed group has had some connection with in the past. While I have no idea how successful this will be, I think it’s a solid place to start.

To explain what we’re doing with Breathe, we’re constructing a simple one sheet with both high-level philosophy and more detailed descriptions. I’ve never personally raised money with churches before and I’ve never really considered what churches would like to read or what would create a compelling case to inspire a parting with precious, limited dollars.

So I’ve written what you see below – which certainly falls in the high-level category.

What’s the purpose of Breathe?

If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” – Genesis 11:6

In this verse, the almighty, omnipotent creator of the universe, affirms and confirms the ability of His creation; when we speak the same language and live with the same purpose, there is nothing we can’t accomplish.

It is with this foundation that we pursue the idea of Breathe. However, instead of building a structure that will do no more than glorify us, we seek to continue the movement started by Jesus, carried by millions, and which is, we believe, the hope of the world.

While we believe that we are innovating our approach for the current culture and time in which we find ourselves, we recognize and celebrate that we are simply fragile containers for the power of the message.

We are not the point.

The point is restoring God’s good creation.

And we hope to play our part in that effort.

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And here’s where I need your help. What do you think? Is it stupid to start with a verse that talks about the arrogance and foolishness of men? Is it compelling at all? Is it too churchy or not churchy enough?

What do you think?

I’m grateful for your help.
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3 Comments

  1. May 13, 2008 at 2:14 pm — Reply

    The verse is hopeful-sounding and is fine.

    I think the line that’s going to give you problems is “instead of building a structure that will do more than glorify us…” Most all the churches you’ll be asking for money will be operating out of some sort of structure, and the phrase does not seem to include them in the vision. Find a way of expressing your vision that gives them a way in and seems less exclusive than “us new ‘uns” and (implied) “them” who “glorify themselves”.

    The other thing you’ll need to do is find a way to outline (expected) results. Results is what gets people interested in investing, not dreams. Be as hands-on as possible with that. The method and up-beat attitude matter less than the dividends. Every faith-project ever started thought it was God-inspired and would succeed. Not that many do.

    Finally, if you’re working with missions committees or similar groups, make clear to them that your approach is an innovation of methods with which they are familiar (and thus comfortable). You’re asking them, in essence, to cut funding for people and programs whom they know well and feel emotionally attached to in order to give money to you. They want to be able to explain that to those whose sentimental attachments are important to them because they will nag them at home about it. (A corollary being that the churches you should target are those who currently support people/programs they are dissatisfied with. That’s the market with loose money. Start scouting. Be ruthless about it.)

    You may also want to research church demographics to see which churches have affluent members from the business world. If you can pitch your project to individuals like that in the language of business models, structural innovation, investment and profit, that would be a good and dependable source of revenue. Business leaders (and not the pseudo-leaders in mid-level management, either) are used to dealing in innovative ideas and taking a risk on them, if the results seem plausible and desirable to them.

  2. Brad
    May 14, 2008 at 8:02 pm — Reply

    Todd, I’ve done a lot of fundraising in church contexts over the years and read a couple of books on the topic. I just want to completely agree with Jonathan. His comments are very insightful on the subject.

  3. May 15, 2008 at 7:12 am — Reply

    I think it sounds pretty good so far. I agree with Jonathan’s suggestions. I thought the same thing when I read the line about the “structures.” My only suggestion is to have Jonathan write it. He seems to have a good handle on it.

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Fundraising Help