Posts Tagged ‘fundraising’

Today should be a fun day. Each year our church hosts a yard sale. Basically all the members, as well as some friends of the church being their unwanted items to our fellowship hall. We then sell the items and the proceeds go to funding various projects for the church. It’s actually fun and if you know what you’re looking for you can make some great finds. As I looked over the huge room with it’s heaping tables, I had a realization. Everything I found that I wanted is something that, for some reason or another, someone else was probably going to throw away. This shows once again that value is subjective. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure… 

…and I hate to say it like this, but it’s the same way with our creations. Some people will look upon it and see a treasure while others will look at it and only see trash. The task for the creative is to value their own work enough to ignore the critics and keep creating and it can be hard. After all, we love our work, or at least we should. I’m continually amazed at how many creatives seem to really dislike their own creations. I think if this is you, you’re looking at it wrong. You see I don’t think we actually dislike our work. If we did, we’d lay it aside and do something else. No what we are really struggling with is disappointment. On one side, the thing we’ve created is not as good as what we see in our heads and so we don’t like our end results. Here’s the thing, I’m not sure we are capable of creating a piece that is as good as the one we envisioned. That space between our ears is virtually unlimited, no struggles with media, no laws of nature contend with and certainly no limitations of ability. The imagination can just run wild and it can go way beyond our current skill level. Bringing that wildness into something others can see, is both the problem of the joy and the artist. Handled rightly, that disappointment can push us to greater levels of mastery and creativity. So don’t get down on yourself for your limitations, let those limitations spur you to greater levels of creativity.

On the other side are the external critics. Your work is just not their thing and sometimes they will disparage your work quite vocally. This is hard. We pour our hearts and souls into our work (and we should!) and this kind of stuff can feel very defeating. The thing is we have the choice as to whether or not we are defeated. Defeat in creativity (and many other aspects of life) can be summed up in one word, “quitting.” Do not give into that. The one calling you is bigger than your critics. If you’re work does not speak to someone, you have a decision to make. Are you going to give in and quit? Are you going to try to appease your critics by doing something that pleases them, even if it means creating work that no longer pleases you? Or are you going to forget about the people who consider your work trash and find the ones who consider it a treasure? The last choice will give you a lifetime of creative joy. The others will make you feel like trash.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Look for the audience that treasures you.

ingodwetrustI want to start this post with a disclaimer. First, I am not at all opposed to ministries raising funds. Some ministries, especially those that minister to the very poor, have few other viable options for funding their ministries, and those ministries are so vital that fundraising is a necessity. Further, I am not opposed to giving to fundraising efforts. There are many good causes out there and I have selected a few and give to them as I can. Lastly I will not pridefully sit here and say I will never raise funds for ministry. Only God knows what He has in story for me and I learned long ago arrogance is a luxury I cannot afford.

That being said, I really can’t envision ever raising funds for my ministry. I haven’t set it up as a non-profit. I’m not even sure if I can. I keep record of all my income and pay taxes on it, just like everyone else and I kind of like it that way. I don’t want to have to go to friends, family, etc. and ask them to back my efforts. Again I am not against that for others but it’s not the way I want to operate at this point in my life. I’ve seen friends really struggle to live in this way and while I’m not immune to struggle, this is one struggle I choose to avoid. It seems as if my friends who live in this “missionary mindset” have to spend an awful lot of time working outside their gifting to keep the income coming in. I’ve also seen more than a few ministries that could provide for their people but instead leave them to fend for themselves. To me that’s a problem and they need to look for a better model.

Speaking of better models, that’s what I’m trying to create. A way to make certain I spend the majority of my time working in my gifting and moving my mission forward. This is why I write and books and illustrate books as well as why I am creating other types of resources, workshops, etc. You might ask, “What’s the difference between working to fund your ministry or raising funds?” To me it comes down to a couple of things, the first of which how do the people benefit? When I create a resource and someone buys it, it helps to fund my ministry, but it also benefits them. They get information they can use to advance their own ministries, or at the very least enhance their relationship with God. Similarly, my paid speaking engagements allow them to hear information that I have put together to help them in some way. They receive a benefit for their money and their money allows me to keep doing what I do. Conversely, every resource I create and every presentation I make, helps me to build my own skills and move my calling and mission forward. There are benefits all over this model.

Another part of my model is my pastorate. I have posted several times that I really did not expect to ever pastor a church again, but I’ve kind of learned you should never say never with God. Being a pastor has been so beneficial to this ministry, far beyond the steady income it provides. This ministry provides real world experiences I missed traveling from place to place. I get to build relationships, work through real-life leadership challenges not to mention the opportunity to try out new things with real people. It’s a win-win situation. True, I can’t go out every week like I used to, but my church has been generous in this way as well.

I guess in a way I am raising support, but this model is different. It allows me to keep my focus on what I do best most of the time and it makes it possible for me to do a lot while keeping my skills sharp, growing in my faith and moving my mission forward. I guess the best way to close is with a question. Ask yourself, “How much of my time is spent doing what I do best and how much of my time is spent raising funds?” The answer to that question should show you whether you need a new model.

My last words are for people running ministries, look at how your people are living and ask yourself, “Is this God’s will for this person or should I be mobilizing people to find new resources and creating new models, models that allow these people to give their best energy to their best gifts?” The people who make your ministry work are in it to serve God. Are you making them serve mammon?

Have an artist on your gift list? I’ve started an online shop filled with about 270 gifts for the artists in your life. 10-15% of proceeds go to helping AMOKArts in our various ministry efforts. Check it out here…

moneyI know it almost feels taboo to talk about it on a site about ministry, but one of the realities of most ministries is, we need it. If you’re an artist and a minister you’ve chosen two fields that have a reputation for being well, less than lucrative. After all, you’ve never heard the term, “starving accountant” have you?

The thing is, our heavenly Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills, in other words He has the resources for what He wants done. Where is the disconnect?

First look at what’s in your hand: Moses at the burning bush was being called by God and he was throwing every excuse in the book at God as to why he could not do what God asked. God asked “What’s in your hand?” It was a simple shepherd’s staff, little more than a stick but God used even that stick to do some incredible things. Perhaps instead of looking at what we don’t have we should be looking at what God has already provided. He has given you talent. He has given you ability. You have some resources at your disposal and you have people in your life that could help you. You may not have everything you need to do the whole thing but you have enough to start. So start with what you have and do all you can with it. After all, people are much more likely to support someone who is already doing something. So start.

When it comes to finances, perhaps you can use your gifts to raise some of what you need. God does not often do the miraculous bolt from the blue, money from the sky thing. He can, and He does, but I wouldn’t make that your sole strategy. Rather once again, look at what’s in your hand… Here are some ideas to get what you need as an artist/creative.

1. First one is simple… Get a Job… I know this isn’t glamorous, and not as revered as “full-time ministry” but the Apostle Paul did it. There were times when he financed himself in his trade of making tents. Besides if our whole lives are acts of worship, then we’re all already in full-time ministry.

2. Commissions/Freelance: Create your art for others for pay. Paint a portrait. Write an article. Design an ad or a website.

3. Art and Craft Shows: Sell your work and meet people at the same time.

4. Teach Your Skill: Help others tap into their own creativity with classes, workshops, etc.

5. Develop your online presence and platform: This is not always a direct money maker, but the more people who know about you and what you do, the greater the likelihood that they will buy what you’re selling.

More of these will come later on. Remember, money is NOT the root of all evil. That’s the love of money. Keep God first, live for His glory, be faithful and start with what you have. God will provide, just remember sometimes, it’s miraculous but most of the time, it’s just hard work but God is always faithful.

Over at our sister site,, every Friday is Philanthropic Friday. I’ve had a little trouble coming up with ideas for that page and so I missed a couple of weeks in a row. This week I worked up three ideas toward catching that up and since I know a lot of you want to use your gifts to serve others, I thought I would cross-post the post it here. Enjoy and if you’d like to learn more about, click here.

Philanthropic FridayYes, I know I’ve been a little lax on the Philanthropic Friday Posts of late so I am playing a little catch up here. It appears I have missed three Fridays so here are three ideas to do something very important for charity. There is one universal theme for nearly every charity on earth. One thing they nearly all have in common and that is to continue to do their good work, they need money. Here are a few things every creative can do to raise funds for his or her favorite charity.

1. The “tithe”: Yes I know this is a church term but I have found it to be a very effective way to give and it’s easy. I have a friend who works very hard at a cause I really believe in. He needs to raise support to continue this work and I really wanted to help him while not having large piles of cash. I earmarked one of the activities that I do for which I usually get paid. Every time I do this activity no matter what the payment, he gets a percentage for his charity. This is kind of nice because I always have the money to give and the more effort I put in, the more I can do for my friend and the cause.

2. Once again for the creative, this requires almost nothing in upfront cost. is a screen printing company with a difference. They print quality shirts with a difference. Usually when printing shirts, you have to pay a bunch of upfront costs, guess the sizes people will want and order a minimum quantity or pay through the nose. is different. They are a crowd sourced company. On, you create the design, set the minimum order and promote the shirt. People go to the site and order your shirt. No shirts are printed, and no money changes hands until your minimum order is reached. So all you have to do is create a design, decide how much money you want to raise and then promote, promote, promote.

3. is probably the grandfather of all crowd sourcing sites. You simply create a campaign for your charity. Have a product you are going to create, set the parameters for giving, and create “prizes” for people who give varying levels of money. Like, no money changes hands until your goal is reached. This seems like it can be a pretty involved process, but it’s another way a creative can do a great deal of good with very little in up front costs.

<A href=""&gt;World Vision act:s Refresh Water Bottle Design
Yes you have seen this post before. I am posting it a second time because voting is now open and will remain open until July 13. If you missed it, the details on the project are below.

When I saw the Challenge was Refresh I had a swirl of thoughts. The first of which was the refresh button on a web browser. Then I thought that would make a great logo for a bottled water product. From there I started to think of Jesus’ offer of living water from John 4. I was originally just going to design a mock up of an ad for this product and tie it to scripture and then I opened another e-mail from World Vision act:s. It turns out they are looking for designers for skins for Miir water bottles.

So I decided to take that project on too and combine the two. If my design is selected (by your votes), the manufacturer will give a dollar for every bottle purchased to clean water charities to provide clean, safe, water for people who desperately need it.

I am going to break one of my rules and post this posting twice. I’m posting today so it makes it onto but I will post again on July 9, which is the day the voting opens. Please vote for this design of for than matter any other designs you may like and then when they come out, buy a bottle. Let’s help save some lives with World Vision act:s

Voting opens July 9 and remains open until July 13. Click here to vote!