Ministry Types

By | August 3, 2017

Based on the questionnaire you just filled out, your ministry probably falls into one of the following broad categories:

Church Based Ministry – Your ministry is sponsored by a church. They provide you with space and utilities at zero or little cost. You are run entirely by volunteers. Your church provides some amount of funding, but this is supplemented by gifts from the volunteers. You don’t have any professional fundraisers or any plan to use professionals. The Church provides non-profit status for you and donations to your ministry are officially donations to the Church.

Small Non-Profit – You have created corporation and gone through the necessary steps to receive non-profit status from the IRS (in the US). You have an official board of directors that meets regularly according to the requirements of state and federal laws. The board of directors largely run the show, though you might have 1 or more paid staff. You don’t have any paid fundraisers, but your money comes primarily from people close to the organization.

Direct Mail Shop – You are a large enough non-profit that you have developed a mailing list of donors who regularly support your work. You send one or more fundraising letters annual to request funding from your donors. The direct mail provides the bulk of your revenue, with some larger gifts from people close to the ministry.

Multi-Church Cooperative Ministry – You are non-profit that is sponsored by a number of area churches that supply funding, space, and volunteers. Most of your budget comes from contributions from the supporting Churches, but you might do additional fundraising like an annual event or a regular direct mail campaign.

Mid-sized Non-Profit – You have full-time staff devoted to raising money to support the ministry. The leader of the non-profit helps with fundraising, but that is not their primary role. You have multiple fundraising programs, but are limited to what you can accomplish because there you have more opportunities than staff to deal with them.

Local Affiliate Organization – Your organization is a local branch of regional or national organization like the Red Cross, United Way, or Christ Central Ministries. You have access to high quality materials prepared by professionals, and are run by paid staff members. You have full-time development staff, and raise money through one or more fundraising programs… direct mail, grants, major gifts, etc.

Charitable Enterprise – You’re ministry derives a significant portion of its revenue from an associated business. You run a thrift store, paid educational programs, or provide jobs for unskilled labor. You have other fundraising programs running but a significant amount of your resources come from and are invested in the charitable enterprise.

Government Funded Non-Profit – The majority of your funding comes from local, state, or federal government grants. Your fundraising staff primarily consists of grant writers and evaluators who handle the copious reporting requirements.

National/International Non-Profit – Your non-profit has a national or international presence and brand. You have a full development staff with specialists that handle major gifts, grants, planned giving, online giving, direct mail, and mass market fundraising programs. You raise hundreds of millions of dollars a year and your fundraisers could write every article on this site, plus some I’ve never thought to write.