Have you ever seen the tragic situation where a person has a job and loses it? Unfortunately, in a situation like that, most people become financially distraught.
The same occurence happens when a ministry or business organization has one stream of income: if the one stream delays or completely runs dry, the business is doomed. This article was written to give information to ministries to prevent them from experiencing the doom that takes place when ministries or nonprofits rely too much on one stream of income that stops coming thru.
It’s Not a Luxury
Multiple streams of income for ministries and nonprofits is not a luxury–it’s a necessity that lowers the stress and tensions surrounding fluctuating finances. To avoid the pattern of instability that results from having one stream of income, business consultants advise businesses to plan to have multiple streams of income when they create their church or ministry business plan.
Fundraising for nonprofits and ministries is more than simply asking for donations. Nonprofits can fund their work in a variety of ways, and the more income streams they have, the more stable the organization.
What is Multiple Streams of Income?
Literally speaking, multiple streams is a reference to many small rivers that flow together to create a large mass of water. Similarly, with multiple streams of income, you may have several small sources, but when added together, it’s a large body of income.
How To Create Multiple Streams of Income
In order to diversify your income you have to learn how to create multiple streams of income, but first let’s break down the two major types…
Leverage Income vs. Linear Income
Linear income is the most common form of income. It’s fixed rate work where I perform within a set contract, and I get paid. Linear income can be set up as hourly, per-job, or other ways.
In a ministry or nonprofit, the founder could do public speaking, writing sponsored articles, or simple being on the ministry payroll is a product of linear or “earned income”.
In contrast to linear income, you have leveraged income where you make an investment up front, and can repeatedly be paid for long periods (or even life). Linear income comes from writing books, creating recorded audio or video, renting areas of the facilities, and creating courses or other products.
How to Plan for Linear and Leveraged Income
Let’s say you host a webinar for your ministry. Selling the webinar, designing the slides, and speaking at the webinar would be linear income. In contrast, if you took the same webinar and made it a product, recorded your sales processes and made a product from that, then made the slides a product, you’d have one stream of linear income (the live webinar), but several streams of potential leveraged income from the products that resulted from the live webinar.
So, what are some multiple streams of income ideas for ministries and nonprofits that include linear income and leveraged income? Let me give you 15 of them…
1. Publishing Books
Have you ever had those times where you are thinking about making a tough life decision: maybe a career choice, a relationship decision, or wanting to learn something new? You may have asked around to the people you know to see if you can get any tips or advice, but nothing was very clear, so you reached for a book.
If you can be the solution to someone else looking for a piece of information you may have in your organization, you can pave a stream of income for your ministry or nonprofit for years to come.
The benefits of publishing a book are enormous! A book is a tool of leveraged income and it enables you to reach people even in your physical absence.
2. Hosting Live Events
There are so many critical issues that ministries and nonprofits tackle, and live events can be a great way to further connect with people and serve communities. Whether marriage retreats, men’s seminars, women’s seminars, entrepreneurship events, or so on, you can infuse communities with skills and solutions thru your organization’s hosted events.
3. Hosting Virtual Events
Live events aren’t always the feasible option. You may want to test the market to see how receptive they are to the style of event you are considering by first hosting a virtual event.
Regardless of the reason, virtual events can be a good option for linear income, and leveraged income (if you choose to productize the event).
4. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the method of promoting products and services of other companies in exchange for a commission. If you find products or services that would be relevant to your target audience, it would be good to consider becoming affiliate partners.
Most affiliate programs are fairly easy to sign up for. Similar to an online purchase, you’d complete an application, and as long as you can prove that you’ll bring traffic to their business, it’s likely you’ll be accepted. If you’d like more information on Affiliate Marketing, I’d recommend taking advantage of my free offer with the 10 free training lessons towards an Internet Marketing Certification HERE.
5. Corporate Sponsorships
Businesses are always looking for ways to get more traffic and exposure. They pay for advertising in many places, and when they can advertise and support a charitable cause at the same time–that’s a win-win!
Corporations are learning more and more how for-profit and nonprofit sponsorships can work for mutual benefits. For businesses that are unaware of the benefit, you can create a sponsorship proposal that explains the benefits of sponsoring your organization from the standpoint of What’s In It For Them, and you’d be surprise how that stream of income can build and aid in sustaining your organization!
According to 2014 statistics, $348 billion dollars was given for charitable contributions and $55.3 billion of that was grant funding. Therefore, in the grand scope of a fundraising plan, grants are a great potential revenue stream.
Unfortunately, many ministries and nonprofits prioritize grants incorrectly thinking they are a good source of startup capital or operating capital. Most grants want the organization to be self-sustained without the grants, and the infusion of capital used to further advance the cause.
Still, once your organization has a few other funding sources up and running, and good cause-based results underway, grants are a viable option to help push forward the organization’s mission.
7. Cause-related Marketing as a Service
More and more companies are asking, “Can being socially responsible be used as a messaging strategy in our marketing campaigns to help increase revenue?”. They see social proof like the American Express story where their new customer acquition went up by 45% and the card usage went up by 28% simply because they partnered with a charity.
Added onto stories like American Express, there’s consumer studies that shows 53% of consumers do not want to support a company who does not actively support a cause. With this in mind, many companies are looking for opportunities to say, “For every (dollar amount) you spend, we give (dollar amount) to (charity name).” This cause related marketing opportunity could benefit your organization!
While this is no “get rich quick scheme”, how nice would it be to hear a company with a nice marketing budget say we’ll give 10% of our revenue to your organization for every sale we receive? At least give it a try.
8. Renting Facilities or Assets
Let’s say you have a facility like a church building or something. You use it on Sundays and Wednesdays, but it stay vacant during many other times in the week.
You can leverage the asset (the building) by renting areas out to compatible missions and generate another stream of leveraged income!
The same idea could be done if you have tools or other low-risk rental agreements you can make. Think about it.
According to The Balance, 70-75% is the average amount that successful nonprofits create thru earned income. The YMCA sells memberships and fitness classes, the Girl Scouts sell cookies, universities sell tuitions, and hospitals sell their services.
For ministries (especially churches), many leadership teams have a difficult time creating earned income revenue streams because they struggle with whether its biblical or if God would condone it. However, this valuable income stream is the bread and butter for the most widely known churches and nonprofits in the world!
Services like these can all add a sustainable stream of income to any ministry or nonprofit organization:
- Special events
- Public speaking (where the leaders speak at other congregations)
- Lifestyle improvement classes (fitness, nutrition, entrepreneurship, job searching, etc.)
- or, simple networking events (women’s painting nights, sports games, etc.)
Often times, many of the other income streams can become products simply by recording them or taking pictures. Once you have enough people on board, the added revenue from selling recordings can be sizeable and really help to monetize your organization.
Added onto recordings or digital products, you can make products for spirited audience members like branded shirts, mugs, ,etc., or you can go as far as product prototyping or private labeling products. It’s up to you!
11. Discounts and Tax Breaks
I know most people wouldn’t consider discounts or tax breaks a stream of income, so that’s why they miss out on maximizing the opportunity. Our government uses the tax system as a way to encourage or deter behaviors. When you perform tasks that infuse the economy or achieve government goals, you get tax breaks.
If you’re intentional with tax planning, you can plan to enable more giving by helping others follow the behaviors desired by the government or you can watch for sales tax breaks and so on. Additionally, discounts, sales, and coupons are plentiful and can add loads of opportunities for saving your organization money.
If you take some time to scope out sales, discounts, and “free money” opportunities, it can serve as a stream of linear income of its own.
12. Planned Giving
According to The Fundraising Authority, planned giving is:
“The act of making a commitment to give a charitable organization a major gift, over time or at death, as part of the donor’s overall financial and estate planning.”
Planned gifts can range from statements in a will to annuities, charitable remainder trusts, or life insurance plans. People who make planned gift arrangements can get major tax benefits which makes planned giving equally beneficial to givers as to your organization.
13. Partner Programs and Major Gifts
Some organizations use a processor like Patreon to allow supporters to make a pledge. Supporters can pledge in arrangements like:
- I’ll pay (a set amount) for each sermon preached
- I’ll pay (a set amount) for each podcast published
- I’ll pay (a set amount) for each blog article published
or so on…
Pledges can be a small as $1 or as large as the donor would like, however, with the volume of people who pledge comes added sustainability for the organization. Some individuals are making more than $150,000 on Patreon pledges, and this is only a small fragment or people or organizations who add this income model to their organizations. It can be done and you can do it!
14. Offline and Online Donations
With the new wave of opportunity online, it’s important for organizations to enable supporters to give online and offline. You should set up processes to accept money offline and online (on your ministry website), and to keep the recordkeeping clean and accurate.
Companies who add the SaaS model are thriving in immense ways! Software as a service ranges from email marketing to webinar software to donor management software, and on. If you have tech savvy supporters or an idea to create a valuable and sustainable software that can create a recurring revenue stream, you can add a solid revenue source (potentially even a leveraged income source) for your organization.
Final Words on Multiple Streams of Income Ideas for Ministries and Nonprofits
The goal of this article was to show you 15 multiple streams of income ideas for ministries and nonprofits that can sustain your organization with financial stability. The work done in ministries and nonprofits is so paramount to creating peace, love, character and enjoyment in our world, so I really hope you take the information here to create a massively successful organization. If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section. I’d love to help you out!
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Now, it’s Your Turn…
Have you used any of these multiple streams of income ideas for your organization? Do you have any other streams of income ideas that could add value to ministry leaders or nonprofit administrators? Leave your comments, questions, and concerns below.