Thinking Out Loud

April 2, 2016

Being Needy While Wanting to Help Others in Need

Filed under: blogging, Christianity, writing — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:44 am
Crowdfunding websites make it possible for ordinary people to get financial help and support when needed.

Crowdfunding websites make it possible for ordinary people to get financial help and support when needed.

Because of the particular path our lives have taken, there have been times when we have accepted financial help from friends and acquaintances. In the process, we’ve often said that the people who are least able to help are usually the ones who give. I’m not positing this as a universal truth, I’m just saying that it’s been the case in our situation.

In Wednesday’s link list, I felt moved to post a story about a family who faced unusual financial hardship during Lent because of their daughter’s illness and are asking for help. You can read that link here. 48 hours earlier, my wife showed me a crowd funding page that was set up by students (or former students) in a local high school for a guy who part of our church plant ten years ago and has had a medical diagnosis that will result in unexpected costs. You can read that one here.

I’m reading these through the lens of our own situation.

My wife came to me a few weeks ago — she’s our family and business bookkeeper — and said, “We have enough in the savings account to last us one more month, and then we’re done.” By ‘done’ she means we don’t have a back-up plan, unless we cash in one more savings fund — which is currently locked — and take a huge penalty for so doing.

I announced in Monday’s column here:

We’ve never monetized Thinking Out Loud, but this labor of love — along with our Christian bookstore — have totally depleted our savings. Still, how does one do effective fundraising in the face of other families and individuals with seemingly far more urgent needs? After our US/Canada 800-number, toll-free, call-in-a-pledge appeal failed last year, we’re looking for something that will actually help us keep going. We hope to have an answer late this week. 

But as the week went by I keep fighting taking this particular approach. Surely the two stories listed above are far more worthy of my readers’ support, right? Still, I know there are longtime readers both here and at Christianity 201 who might give if we created the right vehicle for processing donations.

Within the Christian realm, there are bloggers like Tim Challies who is able to blog full time because of referral income and sponsored posts. Author Skye Jethani is not currently on staff at a church (or at CT) and is supporting his writing and podcast ministry (and his family) through the sale of monthly devotional subscriptions, and eBooks. (Check out, How Churches Became Cruise Ships.)

Because of my involvement in a brick-and-mortar Christian bookstore (which loses money almost every day the doors are open) I still can’t bring myself to be a referrer to A-zon or even CBD, both of which have contributed greatly to the closing of such Christian shops all over North America. So I’ve never monetized the blog in that manner.

And there is the pride issue. As a twenty-something, I was told that I have difficulty accepting hospitality in all its forms. Plus there is the fear of putting it out there only to find the donations embarrassingly meager. Add to that wanting to be hero; wanting to be the one helping others, not the one asking.

So the announcement I was going to make this week is postponed for now. I leave you the comments section — if you wish — for two purposes today.

  1. If you can recommend a crowd funding type of website that isn’t time-limited and would allow people the opportunity to support Thinking Out Loud and Christianity 201, I’d love to hear it. Bear in mind that I’m in Canada, but nearly 80% of my readers are in the U.S., so it has to be American-based, but able to pay us up here.
  2. If it’s got a Christian connection, feel free to mention any fundraising page you’re aware of that’s running now. Honest! I don’t mind. (I might delete the comment after any relevant expiry dates.) Today is one day you can use the comments to promote a cause.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Comments »

  1. While I ponder the other items, #1 – Do NOT cash in your savings.

    Comment by Janis — April 2, 2016 @ 4:24 pm

  2. I suggest going to a pay site model (with a bare minimum teaser-type free page). I am in ministry and don’t have a lot of disposable income but I still find a way to come up with money for various pay sites (baseball, and a couple of news sites). I am as lazy about paying for stuff as the next guy but I have been coming here for a couple years and if I had to pay I would. I am thinking $3-4/month would be an easy decision for me.

    Comment by jeffrey jenkins — April 4, 2016 @ 5:14 pm

    • Jeffrey, thanks for your comment. The pay-site model wasn’t something we had kicked around at all. With so many incoming links from Google, I’m not sure I would want that at this point, but the idea that you would pay it is most encouraging. We could still accommodate the monthly concept if we went with something like Patreon.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — April 4, 2016 @ 6:11 pm

  3. I’m including a “blog” link as an example of fundraising.
    If you click on any of the featured ‘article’ choices (today there is one on “The Little Prince” amongst many, if you don’t see it keep scrolling down, ) a new will page open up with more information on that feature/article and on the right side of that newly opened page is a donation link. I have always thought this was a very gracious fundraising style.

    http://explore.brainpickings.org/

    Comment by MJ — April 7, 2016 @ 10:03 am


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