Creative people needed to figure out fundraising through social media

Last week we ran out of gas [butane] and could no longer cook for the crowds at our campsite. Not to worry, someone else had some gas and we were away again, brewing coffee and flipping crepes. Same thing just happened with our finances. Our mission funding took a wicked hit this year and we have been compensating by cutting expenses and getting creative. Even becoming homeless for a season. But a big unexpected cut just happened and we no longer have enough funding for our personal needs as well as some mission projects over the next few months.

Thus, I had to cancel my USA trip this week to the Christian Web Conference [thanks for being understanding – I think Cynthia Ware might be taking my place in the Great Debate and she will do much better than me]. And we will not be doing our furlough in USA this year [last time was 4 years ago] because it is too expensive and because we think we can raise funds just as easily through the web. Or maybe we can just postpone it until we get our feet on solid ground.

Anyway, this week we are putting our heads together on how to raise funds, how to be more economically creative in our lifestyle and ministry, and how to become more sustainable in the long term through social enterprise and micro-business.

A few things have been put into motion including the idea of monitizing this blog with some link ads that you will probably hate and will complain about but hey . . . I need to feed the family . . . and this is one way I think I can make ends meet.

But the immediate need is for some creative people to help me figure out how to involve more people in our mission projects and raise some immediate cash. And so, if you have some good ideas for doing this, please let me know. I am working on a account, btw, which will give people the chance to help spread the word through their social media accounts. Any advice?


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Sam says:

    I make a few hundred $$ per month by selling t-shirts online, this will help us through on our half-year (or so) travel through Asia starting at the end of this month.
    So, idea:
    – “tallskinnykiwi” is a good name for funny design
    – get some graphics people to donate some t-shirt designs
    – open a shop for USA/CAN…
    – open a shop for Europe
    – I guess your readers would gladly buy a shirt with a cool design, even if it’s a bit more expensive, when they know they support you like that.
    Cool thing about Spreadshirt: you have no work to do after the initial cool work of choosing t-shirt and logo colors.

  • andrew says:

    Sam. This is a GREAT idea. In fact, this morning we were already discussing a few t-shirt ideas based on blog images. The challenge is to source some fairly traded and environmentally responsible t-shirts from people within our network to help with printing and sending it out. i was talking with our indonesian friends this morning about this.
    the other idea is a t-shirt of the month club.
    i will look into spreadshirt. much thanks.

  • Simon says:

    Andrew, I think this is one of the most important questions around for anyone in pioneer ministry, I will send you some of the thoughts I have had, as well as some contacts who may be able to help. Cheers.

  • Liam Byrnes says:

    Leaving my job on Friday to go into full time voluntary work with YWAM and thinking through a lot of these things too. Ill be keeping an eye on the comments feed. I have been thinking about a little side tentmaking on the tech consultancy and web design front, but apart from that not too sure. Andrew you certainly have a good avantage of having an excellent large audience to help you out! Great Stuff!

  • Eddie says:

    A lot of our folks have found these people helpful – may not work for you, but worth a look.

  • Andrew – prayers with you.
    A few thoughts …
    Don’t rule out the T-shirt idea. One option is to connect with Jon Birch – we have been BUGGING him to print his cartoons on T-shirt format for the past few years. Heck, I’d wear it around and then carry cards telling folks where they can get in on the action here.
    Another thing to think about all the small ministries you’ve met whose ministries you can vouch for (and therefore we trust you that this is the real deal). A lot of them created CDs, crafts, etc. to fund their ministry but they barely get enough traffic to make any dent in their sales. Meanwhile, you have the #25th Christian blog. Why not set up a retail store where you can be the middle man for these ventures – take a small percentage for your efforts and I see a win-win situation. here.
    Become an Amazon associate and set up an Amazon store on your account-you are SUCH an amazing font of information re: those books that are actually worth reading. You get paid a small bit every time someone orders a book by clicking on the link. And then as you continue to review books, keep adding the item to your Amazon store.
    IF a blogger explains why there is ad crap on their site, then I’m cool with it provided they are really walking the walk (which you do in spades). Just make sure that the ads doesn’t support anything that you don’t believe (e.g., I can’t see you running pro-hunting items).
    As we’ve discussed the publishing/media world caved in and I’ve had to take on some non-writing work so I can eat. What’s key for me (and I know you) is to keep Wormwood at bay. The temptation is great to sell out but as you know, the short term cash flow might feed our bodies but we have to make sure it doesn’t kill our soul in the long run.

  • Tk says:

    Andrew! U know i’ve been in grad school studying public admin for nonprofit mgmt, right? Anyways, we take a series of fundraising classes. I often think of u and Shannon. Course much of it is traditional ask and receive type fundraising, but pol really are looking into online ways bc even Obama took the $5 donations and made loads!!! So theremust be a way to do the same
    for u. Will be thinking it thru for u!

  • Eric says:

    I pray that God gives you everything you need, but not at the expense of a fellow missionary who also needs it.
    May the water level rise.

  • Simon, do please share your ideas with the rest of us! I am wrestling with this issue right now as well. I want to do missional church planting among secular college students, and need to be bivocational. Everywhere I turn for advice, I find consultants wanting to sell their services! How about an informal network utilizing an online forum for practical idea sharing?
    Thanks, Becky, for the ideas. I’d like to learn more about the Amazon associate concept, as I’ve heard of church planters doing this and supporting themselves by it.
    Andrew and others, if you know of or come across any sites like the one I just described, please let me know!

  • becky says:

    Matt – Here’s the URL for the Amazon Associates program ( It’s pretty self-explanatory – I didn’t set up a store but I do use this for creating text links of book titles. In addition to setting up a web store, you can set up a text link to use EVERY time you reference a book. And you can sell items other than just books assuming they’re for sale on the Amazon network – if the item is available in more than one country,you might want to try and list the item in all the countries where the bulk of your readers live.
    This doesn’t work when trying to sell a number of ministries products that aren’t sold via which is why I suggested that Andrew set up a store of sorts to offer items from the ministries he knows are the real deal.
    And I get needing to make money but we also shouldn’t overlook temporary gigs that aren’t directly related to our ministries which can help get us over the hump (assuming you can find even that in this crappy economy). What you don’t want to do is cross that fine line from promoting a ministry and pimping oneself – and as Andrew has pointed out, the author/speaker puppet shows aren’t sustainable in this economy.

  • Praying my dear….. yup things are tight! Not sure if you got my email on what’s up here.. … … … oy….
    Blessings my dear.

  • Right, that’s exactly what I’m thinking… find a ‘secular’ job that’s flexible, low hour, high yield… which is obviously some form of self-employment.
    Thanks for the tips!

  • wilsonian says:

    I follow a few photographers who have been producing e-books. Far shorter than print books, but full of great content and beautiful. I’ve purchased a few, and they’ve ranged in price between $5 – $12 (USD). You’ve gained so much knowledge on a range of topics, I’m quite sure you could produce some very helpful resources. And if you “published” even twice a year at the lower end of the price scale, it would definitely be worth the effort.

  • matybigfro says:

    hey Andrew
    have you thought about throwing fundraiser pizza parties in different cities (i know you guy’s are in England) in an organic way

    find a city where you have friends in, they find a place(venue i know you know guy’s here in Bristol and i would happily lend a hand if helpful plus the lovebristol guy’s you know have links with a cool coffee shop in part of town you’d totally vibe with)
    any way they invite friends, church leaders/associates, artists, business folks and other people of good will and host an evening with you and your family (even if only by web cam link or something)

    maybe display some of the photo’s of your journey and work and family almost like a gallery, share food stories and maybe get local musicians to provide light entertainment – charge on the door? have stuff like T-shirs and anything else available to buy (maybe get artist/creative friends to donate works to auctions?) and ways for people who are interest to become personal supporters

  • becky says:

    And Andrew – If the host is really tech savvy, maybe you can host some of the pizza parties virtually e.g., via Skype so anyone can participate with a donation bar on your website where people can donate if they like the vibe of the party. This could also encourage others to do likewise in their communities cause as you know we’re all suffering in this down economy.

  • Lindsay says:

    Hi there – this is Lindsay from Spreadshirt – just wanted to see if you had any questions about Spreadshirt or if there is anything we can help with!

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