Over the past weeks we have been exploring the three essential ingredients for strengthening your congregational finances, LEADERSHIP, RELATIONSHIPS, and AN ASKING STRATEGY. There are four primary asking strategies to consider: Annual giving, Capital giving, Endowment giving, and Earned Income. This week we focus on the fourth one… Earned Income.
Congregations can earn income from renting their facilities, selling goods or services, or collecting program fees. Earned income opportunities come out of mission awareness: We are here to serve God’s people and are here to make the world a better place, especially for those in need; how might we do this in ways that will pay for themselves and might even help to support the congregation?
Examples of Earned Income opportunities include:
- Coffee shops; thrift shops; bookstores
- Preschools and elementary schools
- Affordable housing developments
- Rental facilities for weddings, conferences or events
- Hosting other tenants such as nonprofits or for-profit enterprises.
Keep in mind that following questions when considering an earned income opportunity:
- Should you have a separate non-profit incorporated? Any tax implications?
- How will the earned income opportunity be led and governed?
- How will the profit flow to the congregation and be reported to church membership?
It pays to hire professional help (lawyers, accountants, developers, etc.). Some people are generous enough to donate their time or offer discounted services to help you map out a strategy and get started. Guided by those who know what you don’t know, the only limit on earned income is your imagination!
Next week we will discuss the final segment in our discussion about strengthening your congregational finances… the ART OF ASKING.
(This current series of articles is taken in part from the book “Raising Money For Your Congregation”, written by Bob Connolly of The James Company, published by ACTA Publications https://actapublications.com/raising-money-for-your-congregation/)
Fred Stoltz, Sr. Program Director
The James Company