Building and sustaining the Word‑n‑Will ministry will require a substantial amount of financial support. The ultimate goal is for the ministry to be self-sustaining by having enough users who are willing to support the ministry with small contributions. However, in the initial years when the ministry is being built, we will need to raise support from other sources.
Financial Support in the Initial Years of the Ministry
We currently have an annual operating budget of $40,000. Consequently, over the next three years, we need to raise at least $120,000 to cover basic expenses. Ideally, we would like to raise significantly more than this so that we can add staff and increase the number of new studies that we can create each year.
We are pursuing three different sources of income and would like to raise approximately a third of what is needed from each source. Our first source of income is major donors. Major donors are those who are in a financial position to be able to make a substantial donation to the ministry and who would be supportive of what we are trying to accomplish.
Our second source of income is individual donors. These donors would be people who use our lessons and find them helpful. While such an individual may make a small donation, as the number of people who use our lessons grows this source of income could grow substantially. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so the donations people make are tax deductible.
Our final source of income is foundations. Because our ministry is still in the developmental stage, we have discovered that foundations are not yet willing to support us. Hopefully, as we begin to build and expand the number of people who use our Bible studies, we will have more success at convincing foundations to support our ministry.
Concerning expenses, Seth Seppanen is the only full-time staff member of the ministry, and he plans to continue to donate all his time for the foreseeable future. Ken Gilmore plans to devote about 30 hours per week to the ministry and is being paid as a contract worker. Seth’s wife, Janene, is also currently donating some of her time to review the materials that are being created. To learn more about them, click here.
We would like to add another staff member as soon as possible. However, before we bring on an additional staff member, we want to raise enough support so that we can be confident that we can keep them on staff long term. As we add staff members, we will be able to complete lesson modules more quickly. As we complete more modules, we should be able to get more and more people to use or lessons and to support our ministry. Having more completed modules should also make it easier to convince major donors to support our ministry.
We believe the key ingredient to having a ministry that can eventually be self-sustaining is to pursue excellence in the development of the lessons. If we create first-rate lessons, then many of the people who use them will recommend them to others and many of the users will be willing to support our ministry financially.
A Scenario for a Self-Sustaining Ministry
For this scenario, all of our users reside in the United States even though our Bible studies will be available to anyone who has internet access and understands English. The following scenario is simply a way to illustrate the feasibility of raising the support needed to make our ministry self‑sustaining:
- If an average of 20 study groups in each state complete one of our Bible study modules in a given year, then 1,000 groups would complete a module that year.
- If each group had 10 members (to keep the math simple) and each member donated $10 to our ministry upon completion of a module, then the total amount of their donation would be $100,000 (1,000 groups X 10 members per group X $10 per member) for that year.
- If each following year the average number of study groups increased by 10 in each state and the size of the groups and the amount that people donated remained the same (10 people per group and $10 per module), then the donation total would increase by $50,000 per year (500 groups X 10 members X $10 per member).
- If this growth continued for five years (counting the initial year), then an average of 50 study groups would be using the lessons in each state and the total annual donations would be $250,000 (2,500 study groups X 10 people X $10 per member) or enough to support a small team.
- If the average donation was $20 per group member per completed module instead of $10, then the total donations in the fifth year would be $500,000.
- If more modules are created and more groups use the modules, then the amount donated would continue to grow, and we would be able to add more members to our team and create modules even more quickly.