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Ep. 224: A “Giving Tuesday” Update

We usually do interviews on these mid-week episodes, but today an update on what’s going on at MinistryWatch.

The main reason I wanted to do this episode was to talk with you about Giving Tuesday.  I’ll admit that this short episode is shamelessly self-referential – it will be almost all about us.  So I hope you will show me a bit of grace for that, but – on the other hand – I consider you listeners to the podcast a part of the inner circle here at MinistryWatch, and I want you to knows what’s going on.

The first thing I want you to know is that we’re doing fine.  This is not a panic or crisis communication, I’m pleased to say.  The budget for MinistryWatch is about $450-thousand a year.  Our fiscal year begins July 1.  That means we’re nearing the end of the fifth month of our fiscal year.  And I’m happy to report that we are more or less on budget both in terms of revenue and expenses.

Our year-end goal – and by that I mean our combined goal for November and December – is $81,000.  That’s $25,000 for the month of November.  As of Monday night, the day BEFORE Giving Tuesday, we were at about $15,000.  That means that we need to raise about $10,000 on Giving Tuesday and on Wednesday the 30th to stay on target.  That’s certainly a do-able number for us.  We raised about $10,000 last year.  But our average donation is less than $100, so that means we will need about 100 people to step up on Giving Tuesday to get us to our goal.

But the bigger challenge for us comes in the month of December.  Our goal for the month is $56,000.  These are big numbers for us.  I also know that for a lot of people, maybe for you, times are tough, or they are – at a minimum – not as good as they were last year.  The stock market is way down.  Inflation is up.  Lots of us are watching our purse strings.

That said, if you can afford to help us out over the next month, we would be grateful.  And whether you give to us or not, I hope you’ll use this day as a reminder that Christians are supposed to be joyful, generous, and wise givers.  Here at MinistryWatch we encourage people to give to their local church first.  I’m not ashamed to say out loud that I think that’s where the vast majority of Christian giving should go.

After that, we think Christians should carefully and prayerfully consider supporting a few ministries that God has placed on your heart.  But which ministries – of the more than 1-million that are out there – should I support.

Well, that’s where MinistryWatch comes in.  Our goal is to help you become a more effective steward.  We are intentionally not a mega-ministry.  We utilize technology in ways that we think are hyper-efficient, designed to keep us small while at the same time giving you the data you need to make good giving decisions.

And our strategy seems to be working.  About 140,000 people receive our daily emails.  And in a recent survey we did, more than half of respondents say they use MinistryWatch to help them make giving decisions, and a third said they had changed their giving decisions based on information they received from MinistryWatch.

All of that is to say this:  We think we’re making a difference, and we couldn’t do what we do without your support.

So we hope you’ll consider a gift to MinistryWatch either today, on Giving Tuesday, or sometime December, and – if you can – the earlier the better.  I’d love to take some of the drama out of the last week of December – and I’d doubly love not to clutter your inbox with emails.  I can promise you this, if we meet our year-end goal, the emails asking for money will stop.

Before I go, I did want to mention that we have a few needs here at MinistryWatch that are not financially related.  First, we covet your prayers.  Pray that we will remain faithful.  Here at MinistryWatch, we often write about ministries that started out strong but ended poorly.  I’ve written enough of these stories myself to know that it could happen to any of us.  We’ve tried to follow our own advice, to put safeguards, guardrails, in place, so that we finish well.  But none of these guardrails are of much help without the power of the Holy Spirit.  So please pray for us.

And pray specifically about our long-term future.  I am in the midst of writing a long-term strategic plan for the ministry.  We have had a strategic plan for the past few years, and we update it annually, but this year it’s getting a real overhaul, and I’m excited about that, but I also face the task with some trepidation, because the plan is now looking farther into the future than I will likely be here.  So issues such as succession planning, and fundraising after I am gone, are starting to be a part of the conversation.  Please pray for wisdom for me and for our board.

I also want to let you know that we need a couple of volunteers who would be willing to work a couple of hours a week from home for us.  You would need a computer, and you’d need to be able to use an Excel spreadsheet.  But you don’t need to be a power user.  The skills needed are very basic.  If you think you might be able to help, please send me an email:  [email protected]

Well, thanks for indulging me these few minutes to give you an update of things here at MinistryWatch. If you have any feedback for me, you can always just hit the reply button on our daily emails.  Those responses come directly to me.  I’m always delighted to hear from you.

The producers for today’s program are Rich Roszel and Jeff McIntosh. We get database and other technical support from Stephen DuBarry, Emily Kern, Rod Pitzer, and Casey Sudduth.

Until next time – May God bless you.