In an earlier post, I wrote about refocusing this blog on three topics: charity, fundraising and communications, and being a pastor. In this post, I’m taking a little time to talk about one of these foci: fundraising and communications.
I’ve been a nonprofit development professional for more than a decade. I’ve worked for institutions of higher education and for social service agencies. I’ve volunteered and consulted for churches. I’ve done everything from annual fundraising campaigns to capital campaigns to designing websites and newsletters. For over ten years, I’ve lived and breathed development work.
I’ve also been part of the church — and, specifically, part of the United Church of Christ — for my entire life. And, to be blunt, we aren’t very good at this work. Churches from every part of the political and theological spectrum are struggling with their fundraising and communications. Stewardship campaigns are ineffective, websites are outdated, and very few congregations are innovating when it comes to engaging their constituencies. These problems aren’t the only cause of shrinking churches and budget struggles, but they’re certain one of those causes.
Part of what this blog is about is sharing best practices — practices that have been honed in the bigger nonprofit sector — with the mainline church. We can be responsibly and faithful stewards of the gifts that have been shared with us. And we can use those gifts to share the good news with more people.