The two things that drive most churches are the message (Gospel) and the funds to spread that message to those that God has called us to minister to. An idea was presented to me sometime ago that does both.
We started a newspaper ministry that has brought in visitor after visitor, charged our other ministries, pays for itself, and raises additional funds for our other ministries. No matter what your current financial situation is, starting a newspaper ministry may be the best and most delightful fundraiser you have ever done.
Our newspaper ministry usually nets us over $ 4,000 a year. This may not seem like very much to you, but consider the other benefits:
- We get scores of visitors from each issue to our church.
- We get scores of inquires into our other ministries.
- We have had people join our church and begin tithing.
- The paper has provided us with other 'free' opportunities to business men and women who enjoy the paper.
- We get the gospel out to 40,000 people each year.
- People begin to associate our paper with our Church. It is powerful name recognition.
- We have built relationships with local businesses.
Printing your own newspaper is not as daunting as it may seem. Here is a brief list of things you will need to think about and know:
- You pay for the newspaper by selling AD space. This is also how you raise funds. Our church does a newspaper each quarter of the year and we usually clear (after the paper is paid for) over $ 1000 each time. This will also enable you to build a relationship with local businesses.
- You will need good content . For us, we have found that we get around 10 articles for an 8 page paper. We divide our paper up into sections-marriage, family and children, self-improvement, and Christian living. This has been very effective for us. We also add a comic strip, cross-word puzzles, and so forth.
- You will need to distribute them . We do this in a variety of ways. We canvas neighborhoods, place papers in libraries, doctor's offices, restaurants, and any other place of business. If you make your paper appealing to the needs of the general public instead of just your own church members, many businesses will not mind putting them out for people to take. Our church put a newspaper stand in front of our building. We've had a variety of visitors who just picked up a paper right in front of the church.
- You will need to establish the character or purpose of your paper . You can replace church newsletters with a newspaper. You can, as we do, target our community as an outreach ministry, or you can tailor the paper to a specific group, ministry, or even set it up for mass mailing.
- You will need to find a place that can produce your newspaper. Sometimes a local newspaper can print it and there are a few places on line that will. We use http://www.makemynewspaper.com .
Ultimately, a fund raiser that can do much more than raise funds is the by far the best sort of fund raiser. We allow our youth to sell ads and they often keep the majority of the profit for camps, conferences, and activities. There is no doubt that you can find an incredible use for a newspaper.