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Media Movers: Profiling Media Nonprofit Amazing Facts

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MinistryWatch’s annual roundup of the 50 Largest Media Ministries in the U.S. is usually a fairly static list, but not this year: One of the biggest movers in the mix is Amazing Facts, ranking 16th as a new member of the lineup.

The California-based organization has been around since 1965, originally organized under a church based in Maryland. But it didn’t appear on MinistryWatch’s radar until recently, when it changed its tax-exempt status and began filing annual financial statements with the Internal Revenue Service as a public charity. With two years of Form 990 filings now publicly available on the IRS’s website, Amazing Facts became listed on MinistryWatch’s database earlier this year.

Amazing Facts is a newsworthy player in the Christian media market, reporting $35 million in revenue and nearly $90 million in assets in 2020. TV and radio are its primary segments, featuring programming hosted by its president, Doug Batchelor, who is also the pastor of Granite Bay Hilltop Seventh-day Adventist Church. Amazing Facts has shows broadcasting on networks across the U.S. and internationally, along with a library of video and audio streams, books, DVDs and CDs on its website. It also hosts training programs, meetings, and Bible studies.

Amazing Facts has expanded globally over the last five decades, opening offices in China, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines. Andrew Taylor, vice president of ministry development at Amazing Facts, says the organization decided to become an independent ministry and reclassify as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2018 because it had grown to the point that local church governance didn’t match its international operations. At that time, it changed its name to Amazing Facts International and became a tax-exempt public charity.

“Our programs have evolved from originally being a radio ministry to include online Bible schools, numerous website outreaches, television broadcasts, 24×7 satellite/internet stations, translated materials in various languages, several documentaries, expanded publishing materials produced, and continued expanding our missionary discipleship training and prison ministry,” Taylor added.

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Taylor says it’s difficult to estimate the precise size of the Amazing Facts’ audience because of its international presence. However, he added, the stations on which it broadcasts could potentially reach over 2 billion.

“We reach a wide demographic consuming our programs,” Taylor says. “Some of our broadcasts target certain audiences such as Lifetime station, which targets a female audience. We have experienced an older audience that engages the ministry, and we have a very active social media program that engages younger audiences as well.”

Amazing Facts has ramped up its operations in recent years, growing its donor base in the process. The nonprofit’s revenue from contributions/grants increased from $21.7 million in 2019 to $32 million in 2020. Asked what drove that jump in revenue, Taylor said, “We experienced growth due to expansion on various distribution channels and a new campus enabling more staffing to accomplish our mission, as well as a church based platform to produce more content in a more readily available church-style auditorium.”

A percentage of Amazing Facts’ audience engages through its call center, visiting its websites, enrolling in events, signing up for devotionals, purchasing products and becoming new donors. According to its 2021 annual report, most of the organization’s donations come from individuals or their businesses.

Taylor says Amazing Facts has very limited appeals for donations on its broadcasts, adding, “We do not have any subscriptions related to donations but have many of our donors sign up to become one of our Champions of Truth monthly partners.”

In the near future, Taylor says Amazing Facts is working on formally organizing its programming in Australia, adding new station times on several networks.

Main photo: Amazing Facts’ headquarters in Granite Bay, California (Image via Google Maps)

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Shannon Cuthrell

Shannon Cuthrell is a journalist with a background covering business, technology and economic development. She has written for Business North Carolina magazine, WRAL TechWire, Charlotte Inno and EE Power, among other publications.