Mar 012013
 

The campaign known as February is Fundraising has ended. Here’s a list of 28 things I learned in making a daily video update about my online fundraising effort to support my work as a Strategy Consultant for Ambassador Network – a new church planting network of multiplying, multiethnic, missional churches. (This list is in no particular order)

djchuang-feb

  1. Fundraising is not easy. I knew that going in. Doing this month-long campaign gave me a chance to experience it first-hand. And there’s a particular challenge for any person, especially one of Asian heritage, to be asking for help. Very humbling; very hard.
  2. Fundraising takes time. A staff-worker with a campus-ministry for over 25+ years passed along this insight based on his experience: “… it really is a process with tough critical mass (8-30 months of near full-time effort) plus 4-10 hours week afterwards (forever).
  3. I’m too much of a pioneering experimenter. I love trying new things that have huge potential for breakthrough results. But, I had a small “aha” by about day 25, that for my own livelihood, and sanity, maybe I have to pull back from pushing the envelope of innovation and more of doing things that meet people where they’re at, doing what they find value in, and answers the “WIIFM” question most other people ask, “What’s In It For Me.” Gotta play to the market.
  4. Funding for innovation is elusive. Where can I find financial resources for research and development (R&D) in the Christian ministry world? This is not the world of getting research grants for trying to find the cure for cancer or HIV.
  5. I’m glad I didn’t quit. I did finish all the way through 28 days of videos. Confession: I have a habit of quitting in many parts of my life. I’m not a Type A driven kind of guy, so I’m personally quite okay not reaching goals. But I know what it means to be responsible too; this ministry is not about me. It’s sincerely my best effort to serve the next generation of multi-Asian and multi-ethnic churches.
  6. People like tangibles more than intangibles. I’ve been told this feedback on several occasions, both before and during this campaign. Goes with the territory of my unconventional profile as a strategies- and ideas- guy.
  7. Some people have a hard time finding links on a web page. Someone told me they couldn’t find the “donate” link. If 1 person told me, maybe 10 others didn’t tell me. Even though that donate link is on the top of every page here at djchuang.com, in the top navigation menu, and there on the web pages for #FebruaryisFundraising, I didn’t make it big and loud enough for some. Not sure that I would.
  8. Google+ Hangout on Air streamlined the work flow. This was the technology I found to be the fastest way to get a daily video recorded and posted. It’s not the highest quality, granted, and to do more quality, would definitely take a lot more time – post-production, converting, encoding, uploading, potentially more equipment. Made do with what I got for speed-to-publish and near-real-time content.
  9. My Android phone (HTC Inspire 4G) is unable to post and upload a video. It’s supposed to be able to. A 3-minute video I made for day 24 only had audio captured for the 1st minute. #Fail.
  10. More technology is great, reliability not so much. Yes, I tried recording-and-uploading with a wide range of equipment: a smartphone, a webcam on a MacBook Pro, webcam on an iMac desktop, on a Flipcam. I used a wired earbud headset, built-in mic on the Mac, Blue Yeti USB microphone. I tried YouTube web-based video recording, Google+ Hangout on Air recording, QuickTime recording, Photo Booth recording, iMovie recording.
  11. Stable equipment setup can yield better results. When I was out-and-about like a road warrior, finding a reliable wifi connection with good upload speed was inconsistent. And I don’t have one of those MiFi hockey pucks. (So I made do with what I had.) Yes, having a studio setup would have been extravagant.
  12. It’s okay to go live and record a video on one take. Thanks to Seth Godin for the sagely words in his blog post: Will you choose to do it live? My answer = yes.
  13. Doing something is better than doing nothing. Not having all the optimal resources doesn’t mean I can’t do anything. Or, it’s been said: scarcity brings clarity, or limited resources + willingness to fail + increasing passion = exponential innovation.
  14. Advocacy has value for the long-term rather than short-term. My approach with the messaging these daily video updates were to raise awareness for the vision, need, and opportunity, rather than to keep making asks in an infomercially / televangelistic / telethonish style. My hope is that the content in these videos will be eye-opening for future viewers, especially Freedom & healing from guilt & shame for Asian Americans, Being generous is being Godly, why pastoring is the hardest job ever.
  15. Friends and family support is so very valuable. I did not do this campaign on a whim, and having their emotional and spiritual support helped me to persevere through the month. And, thanks coach Marc Payan, for the call to do something hard every day. Done.
  16. Some people give to people; some people give to vision. In my situation with this campaign, people gave to this more because of the person than the vision, per se. The vision for planting multi-Asian/ multi-ethnic missional multiplying churches and for me to do the work of ministry as a strategist seems to be too leading-edge bleeding-edge, maybe, too intangible, abstract, mushy, risky.
  17. Online fundraising has seen a lot more success for individuals with interesting projects, a la Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Projects are more tangible and many of those creative crowd-funded projects are like pre-orders of niche products.
  18. Crowdfunding works better because lots of people can contribute smaller amounts. My tiered giving levels were probably too high as a general online ask. With a target of 43 donors, I needed a lot more viewers with the interest and the capacity to buy-in and support the strategic role I have with the Ambassador Network vision.
  19. Fundraisers were more interested in this campaign than funders. I had a good handful of people give me good feedback, cheering me on, watching the videos, liking, sharing. Appreciated!
  20. The 29 daily videos had 770 views. I know there’s only 28 days in February, this year; I made a bonus video on Day 1, with Kevin Nguyen, Campus Pastor of Saddleback Church Irvine, that’s why there was one more.
  21. The #FebruaryisFundraising playlist had 115 views, with a total duration of over 4 hours and 20 minutes. That’s a lot of content. Maybe it could be repurposed into an e-Book or seminar.
  22. Landing page for “Donate Now” had 300+ views. Feedback I heard was that it was clear. But not enough specifics on results.
  23. Results? $2,320 of $90,000 raised. From a total of 4 donors. I’ll keep the thermometer updated at my ministry_support page and continue fundraising efforts offline via one-on-one meetings and personal outreach. I accounted for how the $90,000 goal was arrived at as the sum of the average Asian American family median income of $66,000 + ministry expenses + network infrastructure costs. [cf. see current funding status]
  24. Social capital doesn’t automatically convert into financial donations. I’m told I have a substantial network of relationships, and I’m grateful that I’ve had favor with many people who are church and ministry leaders. That doesn’t translate into funders, since many of them live on the generosity of those who support their ministry-based work.
  25. Too much talk about faith and not enough help about fiscal reality is not helpful. There’s this whole hidden business side of ministry life that doesn’t get much air-time. Having a theological training and credentialed with a degree didn’t give me the financial street-savvy necessary to run a non-profit enterprise. And my being much more interested in meaning over money doesn’t help.
  26. I’m too much of an idealist and impractical, not so much practical nor pragmatic. Not to be redundant and not to be beating myself up over coming up short. Money is such a pragmatic kind of thing, where the rubber meets the road, as the saying goes. Ouch. I’m much more skilled at finding and developing creative solutions and new ways of how things could be done.
  27. There might be a fine line between living by faith and living foolishly.
  28. I’m going to be bi-vocational for a while — months, years, or maybe the rest of my life. I’m available for hire as a freelance strategy consultant. Contact me.

There is much more to learn in this part of life in fundraising, and I’ll share it along the way as I journey on. Thanks for reading.

Jan 312013
 

Welcome to old friends and new visitors here to djchuang.com! You’ve come at an opportune time for my initiative called “February is Fundraising.”

I’m very grateful for the response to the OC Register article about next-gen multi-Asian churches, as Asian American churches are growing in creative ways to reach all peoples in Orange County, California, and beyond.

That article has also prompted me to step out in faith and commit more of my time and energy to serve this next generation as my full-time work. I’ll be fundraising for my staff position with Ambassador Network. I’ve never done this before in my life, so it is with mixed emotions, both faith and fear, to put myself out here.

For the entire month of February, I’ll be making a daily video update (powered by Google+ Hangout on Air.) This means it’ll be a live recording and you can watch in real-time or on-demand. It’s like reality TV but with no editing.

Unfortunately, my schedule is too erratic to set a consistent time for the livestream, but I am aiming to finish recording before 5:00pm (Pacific Time) each day. Follow me on Twitter @djchuang for when I go live on air. Submit your questions in a comment here, via email, or any of the social networks I’m on (use buttons on the upper right corner of this page).

As the saying goes, I’m “building the plane as it flies.” I’m building a topics list as I think about all the things I want to share with you — suggestions welcome! I’ll be talking about many things like: the need for this kind of work to plant new kinds of churches; what my work will look like when I say I will be working to strategize, coach, and resource multi-Asian and multi-ethnic churches; the Biblical reasons for fundraising, and what better way than to crowdsource it in the 21st century; tips and insights about professional fundraising from my 15+ years of experience working in the fundraising world, both in a large non-profit and in a private foundation; hear the back story of how the article came about; my history with Ambassador Bible Church (in Virginia) and how Ambassador Network was launched. Plus, I’m looking to have special guests join me on the Hangout.

And I’ll also give updates on how my fundraising is going, my goals and budgets and all that jazz. I want to be do fundraising in this way and be totally transparent, because accountability and financial responsibility is so very important. (I think you’d agree.) I love how Marin Foundation provides full disclosure and I want to do similarly.

It’ll be fun to connect with you in this way! I want to educate and share what I know, to help others working in cause-oriented non-profits to make the world a better place. I do hope you’ll join me to giving hope to 18+ million Asian Americans and 7+ billion people around the world. As we partner together, may many more churches flourish, the tribes thrive, and all peoples prosper!

Sep 172010
 

I have no idea who all might visit this website, so thought I’d put it out there to see how it can reach the right person(s) who could respond to this incredible opportunity to support Kingdom work in an upcoming event that “the Lausanne Movement” is having in South Africa called Cape Town 2010 this October 16-25, that’ll gather 4,000+ Christian leaders from around the world to address global issues on behalf of the Church.

I received this email today from a reliable source (not named just in case that’d be a sensitive matter) about the Cape Town 2010 financial need & fundraising effort as it pertains to Asian Americans :

In the last couple of weeks, an Indian American businessman and a Korean American businessman both pledged $1 million each to Lausanne World Congress to further the work of world evangelization.  The mainland Chinese house church leaders under pressure and attacks from the government have just sent in their final total amount of $350,000 to Lausanne to support 100 neighboring participants from developing countries in South Asia and Africa yesterday.  An Overseas Chinese church in the US has pledged $7,000 USD.

Lausanne World Congress Contribution Pledges: (last 2 weeks)

Korean American =      $1,000,000

Indian American =       $1,000,000

Mainland China =      $350,000

Chinese Am =        $7,000

The Apostle Paul in (II Cor 8:1-15) encourages the Corinthian church to “excel in this grace of giving” by showing how the Macedonian churches who “under the most severe trial and extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity”.   With less than a month to go and another $2 million yet to raise, I want to ask the Chinese American church.

“With Lausanne III congress being possibly the most significant event for World Evangelization and Missions and especially the church in China in the next decade, where are the Chinese American and Overseas Chinese American Christians?”

…  With only 3 week left, time is running out.

… due to time urgency, please feel free to pass this message along to any Chinese American or Overseas Chinese Christian who has a heart for missions and the gift of giving

While I realize that when it comes to major donor gifts and donations, it almost always requires a personal relationship to make that connection, my hope in posting this in the open is that it’d raise awareness of the need and even a topic of conversation about giving and generosity in an Asian American context. If you know of someone who’d want to financially support Lausanne, whether Chinese American or not, please contact me and I’ll promptly put in you touch with the right person.

Apr 082010
 

At the Ideation Conference this week, one of my aha moments was realizing a new breed of non-profit organizations that primarily serve the role of fundraising and raising awareness. I was touched by the collaborative spirit of the humanitarians at #theideation, and how each org finds the role they play best, and partner with others for the rest, to tackle the biggest problems in the world together. Here’s 3 of them that presented both the compelling need and provided easy entry points for how anyone can help::

One Day’s Wages uses the best of social media to cultivate a grassroots movement towards ending extreme global poverty, currently raising funds to support the excellent work of 6 partner organizations. Founded by voracious blogger Eugene Cho (a church pastor), One Day’s Wages was notable for launching with a million members on its Facebook fan page. I thought I heard Eugene say that One Day’s Wages‘ big hairy audacious goal was to raise $1 million, but that might have been a figment of my imagination. Here’s a visual graphically-drawn capture of his talk: Continue reading »