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07 May 2012

How We Raised Over $40,000 in Three Months

Raul Rivera

My wife and I always had big dreams for our outreach ministry. We wanted to maximize all of our opportunities to engage our community, both Christians and non-Christians, at a level that could be understood by all. We also wanted to ensure that the necessary resources could be raised to fund all of our outreach events.  Despite all of our best efforts, we always seemed to fall short.  So, One day my wife and I decided to take a bilateral approach to the way we did outreach.

Why a Bilateral Approach?

In planning our outreach, we started a secular, nonprofit corporation (also known as a CDC) which would host all of our outreach events. Because grant money is more readily available to secular organizations, we decided to set ours up as such. It was through this new CDC that we did all of our planning, speaking and most of our fundraising. The CDC involved as much of the community as it could at every event, including the faith based community. Our church was the primary faith based organization to partner with the CDC to offer prayer and counseling. Our plan, as presented to the general public, was to partner with the entire community to solve ongoing problems. Outreach partners included individuals, corporations, entrepreneurs, local education agencies, elected officials, government agencies and other churches. While the CDC provided the bulk of services, our church provided the prayer, counseling, food and clothing. Our church also distributed literature to those who received services through the CDC. The majority of our volunteers came from the church, and at every event, individuals made decisions for Christ that bore fruit.

Experiencing Growth

Through our outreach work, we realized that we had two fields to harvest from. Not only did we have the opportunity to pray with countless individuals for salvation and healing, but we also saw an opportunity to reach the hearts of our volunteers. Because we experienced growth at a rate that was unexpected, we decided to allow non-Christians to serve as volunteers. In order to volunteer, workers were required to come to our church for planning meetings, which gave them the opportunity to see us work on a day-to-day basis. They experienced our community and saw firsthand how we supported each other. It did not take long to realize that a new harvest field lay among our volunteers. These new hearts turned out to be the ones that bore the most fruit.

At our conferences we discuss outreach programs and how widely they can affect your community. Please look through our conference schedule and consider attending a conference near you.

Why Two Organizations?

Our church was already incorporated and had 501(c)(3) status when we started our outreach program, and it too, was required to apply for 501(c)(3) status. I was the pastor/president of the church and also president and founder of the CDC. The church and the CDC had their own board of directors, respectively. Given that the CDC was a secular organization, I had access to individuals and corporations that would not normally give to churches. I still came to them as Reverend Raul, but I came on behalf of the CDC.

Those that know you will never separate you from the pastor hood. People like to see a pastor that is deeply concerned for his or her community. James 2:18 use the phrase "I will show you my faith by my works."

How Did You Manage Two Organizations?

Managing two organizations was the easy part. I just had to remember what "hat" I needed to wear when conducting business.

The CDC offices were at our church, and used our telephones and Internet free of charge. Having the offices at our church was not only fiscally sound, but it was also convenient because all central planning for the CDC took place at the church. After some time, nearly everyone in the city (volunteers, elected officials, community groups, government agencies and non-Christians) knew about our church and where it was located.

The most difficult part was explaining why we had a "secular" organization. Some pastors could not understand why it was necessary to start a new organization, while a small handful thought that we were compromising. I never saw it that way. I had big dreams, and I wanted to touch everyone in the community with the message of the gospel.

For years prior to this outreach, I tried accomplishing the dreams that the Lord placed in my heart. Unfortunately, I had little success. My ideas were not working, and funding was scarce. People were reluctant to come on board simply because we were a church.

It was not until I reworked my thought process that my dreams became reality. For many, the difference between dreams and reality is looking at your ideas from a different perspective. Remember the "The Biggest Part of Receiving a Blessing is Being Ready When it Comes!"

We Can Help With Your New CDC!

If you are one of the many who feel the Lord's pull to engage in community outreach that is meaningful and bears much fruit, we are here to help you. We have years of experience in setting up CDC's that reflect your dreams and visions. From incorporation all the way to the 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, we can strategize a plan that will open doors for you and your church to reach out like never before!

Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Blessings,
Raul Rivera

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About the Author

Church Planter. Speaker. Author. CEO. Raul Rivera has had ample experience in the church planting world. His current venture, StartCHURCH, has helped 1000's of churches to start right. Raul has compiled an array of manuals and software tools that help churches stay compliant with the IRS. He also hosts over 35 national conferences per year, training pastors on how to launch their churches. Raul is married to his wife Genel, and they and their five children live in Atlanta, GA.