10 Funding Models for Non-profit Organizations

Sustainability is the one issue that comes up time and again in operating a non-profit organization or ministry organization. While it is not easy to discuss funding and finances especially in faith-based endeavors, they are very much a real world necessity.

The Stanford Social Innovation Review (Spring 2009) published this very valuable article, Ten Nonprofit Funding Models, by William Foster, Peter Kim, Barbara Christiansen. Thanks to The Bridgespan Group for linking to it as a blog post. The original article is also available in PDF format. Here’s an excerpt that introduces the complexity of non-profits when compared to a for-profit business:

In the for-profit world, by contrast, there is a much higher degree of clarity on financial issues. This is particularly true when it comes to understanding how different businesses operate, which can be encapsulated in a set of principles known as business models. …

… The nonprofit world rarely engages in equally clear and succinct conversations about an organization’s long- term funding strategy. That is because the different types of funding that fuel nonprofits have never been clearly defined. More than a poverty of language, this represents—and results in—a poverty of understanding and clear thinking.

Through our research, we have identified 10 nonprofit models that are commonly used by the largest nonprofits in the United States. Our intent is not to prescribe a single approach for a given nonprofit to pursue. Instead, we hope to help nonprofit leaders articulate more clearly the models that they believe could support the growth of their organizations, and use that insight to examine the potential and constraints associated with those models.

… One reason why the nonprofit sector has not developed its own lexicon of funding models is that running a nonprofit is generally more complicated than running a comparable size for-profit business. When a for-profit business finds a way to create value for a customer, it has generally found its source of revenue; the customer pays for the value. With rare exceptions, that is not true in the nonprofit sector. When a nonprofit finds a way to create value for a beneficiary… it has not identified its economic engine. That is a separate step.

… As a result of this distinction between beneficiary and funder, the critical aspects (and accompanying vocabulary) of nonprofit funding models need to be understood separately from those of the for-profit world. It is also why we use the term funding model rather than business model to describe the framework. … A funding model, however, focuses only on the funding, not on the programs and services offered to the beneficiary.

Read the entire article for the 10 funding models.

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14 unmet needs among Korean Americans and Indian Americans

According to this article in The Intelligencer, “Breaking down cultural barriers,” there are 14 basic “problem areas or unmet need themes” among Koreans and Indians in the northern Philadelphia area:

  • Concerns of the elderly
  • Mental health issues
  • Domestic violence and child abuse
  • Discrimination, lack of power and lack of trust
  • Health and medical issues
  • Health insurance issues
  • Immigration concerns
  • Intragroup conflict
  • Lack of awareness of community services
  • Language issues
  • Generational conflict
  • Poverty
  • Substance abuse and addiction problems
  • Transportation problems

The article also highlights top issues that are specific to the Korean and Indian communities:

The three key themes among Koreans were concerns of the elderly, language issues and mental health issues.

The three key themes among Indians were concerns of the elderly, mental health issues and domestic violence issues.

These findings come from interviews cited in a report titled “Koreans and Asian Indians in the North Penn Area”, compiled by Family Services of Montgomery County and funded by the North Penn Community Health Foundation.

Do you find similar needs in your Asian American community? What can be done to better address these issues?

The Dragon Awakes at San Diego Asian American Leadership Conference

On April 4-5, 2008, a group of San Diego pastors and ministry leaders (mostly from the area’s InterVarsity chapters) hosted the San Diego Asian American Leadership Conference. What stood out about this conference for me was the level of creativity, contextualization, and going above-and-beyond to serve the attendees (and to bring glory to God). For instance, Saturday’s buffet dinner had not only a wide range of pan-Asian cuisines but the dining room was decked out in beautiful candle-lit decor and ambiance! This really raises the bar for Asian American conferences!

L2 Foundation’s contributing writer, Cindy Hong, wrote up this excellent report about what happened there. This is an excerpt from “The Dragon Awakes”:

“Hoping to Awaken the Sleeping Dragon.” Such was the desire of the planning team in the conference brochure welcome message. For a generation that thinks, lives, and is inspired by metaphors, the image of a sleeping dragon waking up aptly describes the 2008 Asian American Leadership Conference. With 200-plus in attendance, the energy and excitement matched the fire of a roaring dragon: Asian Americans living kingdom-minded lives, making a difference for Jesus Christ, knowing that God has called and positioned them to change the world.

Read the full article online (in PDF format).

The audios from the plenary sessions are online for free listening and download, including talks from Dave Gibbons, Peter Cha, and Ken Fong. Also see the photo gallery.

the future of religious charities

Chronicle of Philanthropy hosted an online discussion last month on the future of religious charities. These 3 panelists fielded questions:

  • William O’Keefe, the senior director of advocacy for Catholic Relief Services, in Baltimore, an organization that receives federal money to provide overseas development aid.
  • Paul Lichterman, an associate professor of sociology and religion at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, and co-editor of the book Civic Life in American Religion.
  • Joshua Hale, executive director of the Big Shoulders Fund, in Chicago. The fund has raised more than $155-million to help defray tuition and operating costs for 93 of Chicago’s most-needy inner-city Catholic schools.

Read the chat transcript online.

worshiping in English at a Chinese church in Canada?

From the Project Contempo blog::

Project Contempo is doing a national online survey of the English-speaking congregations of the Canadian Chinese churches. This national survey is not primarily a survey of churches but a survey of individuals. These include all who attend the English service of a Canadian Chinese church, irrespective of their age, employment and ethnicity. All responses will be kept anonymous and the results will be tabulated and analyzed nationally.

… The deadline of the survey is May 31st 2008. It will only take 15 minutes to complete. Simply go to http://projectcontempo.ca and follow the link provided.

They need you to respond to the survey — and please spread the word to Canadian worshipers too.

Conversation about Homosexuality & the Asian American Christian Church

I just got word of this special event from Pastor Ken Fong of Evergreen LA . This conversation is especially for Southern California Asian American evangelical churches and they are making a short film about this for release in the coming year.

Saturday, May 10, 7:00 p.m. @ Sanctuary of Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles www.ebcla.org

WE NEED TO TALK: A Conversation about Homosexuality & the Asian American Christian Church. Sponsored by the Christian Social Issues (CSI) group, an informal gathering of Asian American Christians who discuss wide-ranging social issues and how they relate to our Christian faith. Join three old friends – two straight and one gay – who will engage in a conversation that needs to happen more often in order to dispel ignorance, quell fear and hatred, and foster greater understanding. Debate about scriptural interpretation or scientific evidence is not within the scope of this dialogue. It is not our intent to resolve this highly complex issue. Though we may ultimately arrive at different conclusions, at the very least, we need to break the awful silence in our churches surrounding this subject. We really need to talk.

If you have a friend or loved one who is gay, or you are gay yourself, or you are a Christian who is concerned about this issue, please join us in this much needed and long-awaited dialogue.

why God made you an Asian American

Russell Jeung (Associate Professor of Asian Studies at San Francisco State University) gave 4 talks at the first Asian American conference hosted by Bread of Life Church in Torrance, California, March 7-9. We recorded the first talk from Friday night. (Videos from all the talks may be made available later, but no guarantees.)
Russell Jeung
With permission from Russell Jeung, we are grateful for being able to post the first talk online. Here’s the audio (mp3, running time = 75:41) and slides from his March 7th presentation titled, “Daniel 2: Asian American Values of Wisdom, Community, and Humility” >>