Partner Spotlight: Northgate Christian Fellowship

 In Blog, Resources

Meet Larry and our Friends at Northgate Christian Fellowship

Have you ever heard of crowdfunding? Crowdfunding is an increasingly common way of funding a project or initiative by inviting a large number of people to give a small amount of money. Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of projects on sites like GoFundME, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Rockethub. Many of these projects are worthy and interesting, but just as many are ridiculous and indulgent.

Just for fun, here are a few crazy projects;

  • Shaving Products that are caffeinated – that’s right. – Raised $23,000 so far.
  • Help THIS GUY hitchhike around the globe. He is actually raising money to get a free ride from place to place. Shocker – he has raised $0 so far.
  • Who doesn’t need a 10-foot tall inflatable statue of Lionel Richie’s head? This project raised over $11,000.
  • Anyone interested in helping Kanye West  pay off his $53 million dollar debt? Didn’t think so.

Even Though these projects are totally nuts, there are many projects that are worth supporting and there is no arguing that crowdfunding has changed the fundraising landscape. One of the key reasons why it’s working is that it enables people to be a part of something in a small and simple way. Larry at Northgate used these same concepts to engage people in their church by helping meet others’ needs and serving their community.

“We started the Dollar Club as an easy, low barrier way that people could see the impact the church can have, and possibly want to join in,” said Larry. “We wanted our congregation, new visitors, basically anyone who is in that church on Sunday, to see that their dollar has the potential to change our community.”

The intent behind the Dollar Club is simple: help a family in need who has contacted the church or who was nominated by someone in the congregation. The church gives a dollar for every person in attendance for that Sunday. The money is gathered from congregation donations in amounts as small as $1 and given to the chosen family or person in need.

“Obviously, the gift varies,” said Larry. “But if we have 1,000 people in church on a Sunday, you can bet the impact on the person getting that gift is huge.”

The Dollar Club has gained traction in the congregation through Northgate’s mobile app. On the home screen, there’s a button where people can nominate someone who is in need – whether it’s someone they know, or someone they hear about by word of mouth. “We have people who will go out to dinner, strike up a conversation with their server and find out about someone in need. In the moment, they can share with that person about the Dollar Club and nominate them from the app.” Larry explained. “Having the chance to help someone through the device in the palm of their hand has helped our initiative immensely.”

Like other crowdfunding efforts, there are a few clear reasons why this was successful.

Make it Easy

First, they made it easy to engage. No matter how important your cause is, if it is difficult to get involved, people won’t. By using their mobile app, and putting the link on the app’s homepage, everyone with a mobile device (which is pretty much everyone) could get involved in only a few clicks. You could give, you could nominate someone that you thought needed help, or even request help, all in one place.

Make it About Mission

Northgate is located in the Bay area of California, and in that community, Church isn’t seen as the most relevant or generous place.  In fact, church is often associated with legalism, and being out of step with the community. Northgate’s vision is to change how people view church by investing in and giving back to their community. The Dollar Club is just another extension of their core mission. They might have been able to give to people in need at the same amounts without the Dollar Club, but by involving everyone in the congregation, they are all connecting around the core mission of the church. Find creative ways to include people in the core mission of your church. .

Make Stories Available

It isn’t enough just to make it about mission and make it easy to get involved. In addition, you have to share about how the people that have given, or been involved in other ways, have made an impact. Was a family able to keep on their electrical service in winter? Tell that story. Did children receive Christmas presents that they wouldn’t have otherwise? Let people know. Your ability to keep a project’s momentum is directly related to your ability to tell compelling stories of impact.

In what ways are you making it easy for people to get involved in your core mission and how frequently are you sharing stories of transformation?

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