You’re ready to make your first fundraising ‘ask’. Do you have everything in place to process church plant fundraising when a supporter says ‘yes’? Here’s how you can get that done fast, and in most cases, free.
Before you make that first ask, you need to have your processing infrastructure in place. Just imagine – the supporter has caught the vision, you’ve made a clear, compelling ask, they’ve committed to a specific dollar amount, and then you say, “Um, I’m not really sure who to make the check out to or where you can give online. Let me get back to you.”
There’s a lot to do to be ready. You need:
- a bank account
- which requires a legal entity to be established
- accounting systems to keep track of the money
- a donor tracking system to send thanks and tax receipts
- for most, an online giving option
How do I get all of that done fast & free, you ask?
Process Fundraising through a Sending Church
Any of your sending churches already has all of the things above in place. They could create a separate fund for your church plant and use their existing systems to do everything. Theoretically, that could happen in one day, and you’d have everything you need.
There are some great reasons to ask one of your sending churches to do this for you:
- It’s much faster than waiting to have all of your new church’s formation paperwork filed
- You don’t have to pay for duplicate accounts, systems & personnel
- It keeps the sending church highly connected to the planting process
- Some high-capacity donors may require a 501c3 Determination Letter to substantiate their tax-deduction; your church plant won’t have one of those for months after you file
Before You Decide
Of course, there are a few pretty significant drawbacks you have to consider:
- There may be confusion when you tell the donor to make donations out to your sending church (why not your church, exactly…?)
- Your sending church won’t want to do this for you indefinitely, which means you’ll have to go back to your recurring givers at some point and get them to switch over
- Sometimes the information moves slowly around existing churches, so it might be harder to get updates right away
- The receipts and year-end statements will have the sending church’s name, not yours
- You’re going to have to file your own formation paperwork and get your own bank account eventually anyway
There are pros and cons to processing everything yourself in-house versus asking a sending church to process church plant fundraising. Generally I like the long game of doing everything yourself, but there are times when fast and free makes a lot of sense.