Changing our Fund-Raising Methods
During the course of 2005, I mentioned several times that I hoped to find low-stress ways to increase revenue. Among other things, this led to the development of our RC line of merchandise. But now we’ve launched a much more serious fund-raising effort. What’s changed?
First, our costs have risen as we’ve steadily expanded the scope of CatholicCulture.org in several small ways and as the other Catholic organizations we serve have asked us to do the same for them. Second, while our small ecommerce efforts have been helpful, they haven’t provided sufficient revenue even to cover the growth in our costs. Third, there is only so much our for-profit consulting company can do to subsidize our apostolic work. With the subsidy now running at several hundred thousand dollars a year, the strain is rapidly becoming too great.
For those of you who aren’t aware of the funding model for Trinity Communications, note that I run both a for-profit consulting firm called Trinity Consulting and a non-profit corporation called Trinity Communications. The former provides staff to the latter and pays the vast majority of all other expenses as well. But the non-profit also has two direct sources of revenue: (1) Whatever the Catholic organizations we serve can pay; and (2) Whatever we raise through donations among users of CatholicCulture.org.
In addition to CatholicCulture.org, Trinity Communications serves a number of key Catholic organizations either free of charge or at a small fraction of market rates. These include Catholic World News, Catholic Distance University, the Catholic Information Center, Pastoral Provision, March for Life, New Advent, and a pro-life medical facility, the Tepeyac Family Center. See our 2005 Report Card for details. These important apostolic organizations do not have the financial resources to pay market rates for their technical infrastructure and web presence.
I want to emphasize that Trinity Consulting (the for-profit company) does not mind subsidizing Trinity Communications (the non-profit). That’s how we’re set up to operate, and it has been an effective model. But as our non-profit work grows and becomes increasingly known, it is important to develop enough direct support to keep the annual shortfall within reasonable bounds. Otherwise, the whole arrangement will come crashing down around our heads.
CatholicCulture.org is Trinity Communications' public face and our means of interacting with potential supporters. But while gratifying, the support we have received hasn't grown fast enough. For this reason, we have launched the current 2006 campaign. With more help from those who use and benefit from CatholicCulture.org, we will be able to continue all of our apostolic work.
If you'd like to help now, please start here.
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