by Patrick Bradley: Should you give your church plant staff fundraising requirements? You could have a bigger staff if they could offset some or all of their own salaries.
Every full-time, vocational church planter should raise funds for their plant. It’s as least as much for the vision casting practice as for the resources. But you can certainly get more ministry and community service done with more resources.
Which could include having more staff. More staff means more volunteer leaders recruited and equipped. Many hands make light work, right? But more staff comes with a price tag.
What to Consider
So you’ve decided to give your church plant staff fundraising requirements. If they’re self-funding their position (you can’t otherwise afford them), then it starts to look like “we’ll pay you what you raise.” There are different ways to structure it, but whatever you do should take into consideration:
what to do if they come up seriously short: you may not be able to make up the shortfall
what to do if they raise more than expected: they shouldn’t be able to double their salary on their own effort
Common Fundraising Requirements
Here are some of the setups I’ve seen over the years:
Staff raise a certain goal as a matter of job performance; if they under-perform, their hours or even their position can get cut
Staff raise the equivalent of half their salary and the church plant pays the other half (which usually means the church planter is raising it); sometimes it’s understood that ‘their half’ is correlated to their performance, so if they under-perform, they take a pay cut by as much as their half
Staff raise the equivalent of their entire salary and with that same performance correlation; anything extra raised over and above that amount in a month gets banked for the next month like rollover minutes
Strictly speaking, I’m not sure that’s it really fundraising in the IRS sense; your staff are really just inviting people to give to your church for intangible religious benefit. They’re not out selling cookies or asking for junker cars.
But you still want to avoid the inference or appearance that they’re getting paid a commission or bonus for raising funds. I hope for obvious reasons. So don’t say (or put in writing) that they’ll get paid what they raise. Figure out how to tie it to job performance and job requirements.
If that seems too complicated, at least don’t take the cheater way out and pay them by stipend.
You’ll have to decide for yourself whether to give your church plant staff fundraising requirements. If you do, it doesn’t have to be too complicated, and there are growth opportunities for your staff built in.
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