According to Wikipedia, “crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.” You may have heard of companies like Go Fund Me or Kick Starter. Facebook has also become very active in crowdfunding with birthday and Giving Tuesday appeals. Even though crowdfunding has only gone mainstream in the last 10-15 years, it is actually a very old practice dating back to the 1700s. Items and industries like book publishing, war bonds, the foundational structure of the Statue of Liberty, and community interest-based groups have been pooling small amounts of money from a large group of people for centuries.
So you have a little perspective, Go Fund Me alone has released over $5 billion of generosity from countless people toward causes of high personal passion. Crowdfunding makes everyone a fundraiser and church attenders across the country are using its power every day to push a visionary cause forward. It might surprise you to know that 45% of Gen X give via crowdfunding (ages ’40s–’60s) and 59% of Gen Z were inspired to give via a social media post (ages early 20’s and younger). So crowdfunding is for everyone, and every church can benefit from the generous spirit that flows through people.
Here are some important facts to help you step into this amazing stream of generosity.
- If you are nervous about partnering with an outside platform, then I have good news for you. Generosity by LifeWay actually possesses a secure and trusted crowdfunding platform. It is in use by churches and faith-based nonprofits around the US. Your church can be in charge of the cause and your people can gain a tax-deductible receipt.
- There are many ways a church can unleash crowdfunding. Here are a few. You can probably think of several others.
- Camp Scholarships
- Mission Trips
- Mission Partnerships
- Benevolence Ministry
- Church Planters
- Supporting Local Nonprofit Orgs
- Giving Tuesday efforts
- Crowdfunding allows a person to become personally involved in the generosity message. Your church is able to quickly and easily set up a web page with all the necessary parameters toward your visionary cause. Then you can enable the individual to add personal reasons why they are passionate about the cause, have a personalized web page, and send it out across their social media and email networks.
- Crowdfunding expands your vision and mission as a church. The story of what your church cares about is no longer contained within the walls of your church. It is going viral as you support your particular cause. You are literally having conversations with brand new people every day via the relationships of your church participants.
- Crowdfunding increases impact. When you empower people who then impact people far beyond your database it makes a difference. Just imagine the power of your influence when you partner a crowdfunding page with causes from another nonprofit. Their network of influence is now open to your story. Who knows what connection points may occur for kingdom good!
- Crowdfunding increases resources for your ministry budget. Just review the previous list of crowdfunding ideas (#2 above). What amount of money is your church budget currently investing in these causes? Crowdfunding will open new channels of giving, then you can release the previously budgeted funds for things like debt reduction, capital expansion, and any other area of ministry that may be underfunded.
- The generous spirit of people is undeniable. Charitable giving has actually hit record highs in America for the past four years! Generosity is fueled by a specific cause with tangible results. The church budget can be a hard place for a giver to discover a compelling vision with a tangible result. Crowdfunding does both easily. It will help people see church finances in a whole new light and you will benefit.
I know crowdfunding could make you a little nervous as a pastor, especially when it is accomplished via an external company. However, I want to encourage you to push beyond that hesitation. Every church budget is actually crowdfunding of sorts, so you have been doing it for years just without the internet. Now your people are crowdfunding with the Internet and social media for causes outside the vision of your church because they can in an easy, rewarding way. They desire to be generous and support your causes. However, giving can actually be harder at church than you might think.
We want to help your church make giving fun for the giver and easy for the pastor. Check out all the resources we have at Generosity by LifeWay to unleash all six digital channels of giving. It is not your grandmother’s online giving and our coaching tools are free to subscribers!