In this blog, I want to talk about some of the difficulties of raising funds for a non-profit. I will follow this blog up with one that focuses more thoroughly on the specific needs and issues of All Things New, but I wanted to start with some general fundraising difficulties that most nonprofits face. These difficulties can arise from numerous places, and the issue of fundraising has recently become an increasingly important matter for All Things New. As we have grown, branched out on our own (outside of the gates of Christianville and Hope Rising), and become increasingly concerned with helping our community rather than just the children in our orphanage our need to successfully fundraise has grown. As GOD stretches us personally and our ministry in general, he is also leading us to places we have not been before and challenges we have not yet faced. One of the areas that we have to improve upon is our focus on and success in fundraising. When the extent of our children’s need was food, school, and care…fundraising was not that much of a challenge. However, now that we are raising funds for rent, electricity and upkeep, tutors, more employees (to provide a family atmosphere for the children), and the initial cost of moving into new homes, fundraising has become one of Jessica’s and my most important duties. I want to talk about the issues we have run into, general fundraising issues, and I also want to ask for help from anyone reading this blog who has a special knack for raising funds or ideas that we may have not yet thought of.
Economic and Social Climate of the World
Nonprofits succeed and fail based on their ability to raise funds, and one of the most difficult things to predict is how the social and economic climate of the world will affect fundraising. For instance, a few years ago, orphan ministry became one of the most “popular” social causes in the evangelical world. Books were being written, prominent pastors and speakers were pushing the issue to their followers, and Christians throughout the world began taking a stand to help orphans around the world. Recently, however, a new “popular” social cause has overtaken orphan ministry worldwide and that is the issue of human trafficking. I hesitate to use the word “popular” because it is an oversimplification of the issues, but it is a true description of what has been happening. Orphan ministry still holds a prominent place in the church, and this is a big help when fundraising. Other issues can also affect fundraising, for example, when a natural disaster hits a certain place, fundraising immediately picks up and sometimes even for years. For instance, after the 2010 earthquake, ministries in Haiti barely had to even try to fundraise because money was pouring in from everywhere. Starting about 3-5 years after the earthquake both organizations and money began leaving Haiti in droves for a variety of reasons, but it left nonetheless.
Personal Experience and Expertise
One of the things that we realized when we first started All Things New is that neither of us had experience raising funds and as such this was not an expertise for either one of us. Jess was a teacher and I was a Pastor for the years leading up to starting All Things New and neither of those positions had made it necessary for us to go out and raise funds for our organization or for ourselves personally. All of a sudden, we were doing both, raising funds for ourselves and for our ministry. We have learned some things and we are definitely still growing in this capacity, but it is still definitely not our expertise! One of the best things that could come out of this blog is this:
If you have expertise in fundraising, we need your help!
In the coming days and weeks we will be offering new ways to get involved in the ministry of All Things New, and some of the most important ways involve fundraising. From grant research to hosting fundraisers, to offering your expertise on the topic of fundraising, we need your help.
The Sheer Volume of Nonprofits in the World
Currently there are 1.5 million nonprofits registered in the USA alone! It is estimated that there are well over 10 million nonprofits (and their international counterparts) worldwide. On top of that, while it is impossible to even estimate how many NGOs (registered Haitian nonprofits) and other non profit organizations working in Haiti, the most comprehensive list has well over 1,000 and they estimate there at least 10,000 more doing some type of work in a nation of only about 10 million people. Many of these organizations do incredible work, just as many do very little, and some even exist to take money from willing donors without doing anything except lining their own pockets. The bottom line is that we have to set ourselves apart, communicate our mission and vision well, and be honest and open with where the money that you send us goes. At the same time, we have to compete with other nonprofits while at the same time praying for them and building them up when they do important things that we cannot do.
With that said, All Things New must balance our desire and need to do work in Haiti with our need to do fundraising in the states. Please stay tuned in the next day or two to hear a little more about fundraising and its importance to All Things New. Also, and I will talk more about this in the next blog as well, we will be coming home sometime in the month of October to spend a couple of months in the states to focus on fundraising and communicating with our donors and supporters. We need everyone’s help with this. No matter where you live (within reason because we do have some friends in Alaska), we would love the opportunity to come and share about All Things New with people who do not know about our ministry. Whether that be a small group, civic club, Sunday School class, church, or if you are willing to host a dessert fellowship with friends and family…Please let us know! This is very important and will determine the success of our October/November trip back to the states.