With no prior experience in fundraising and barely tapping social media networks, Tyler Stanton and his team were able to raise $100,000 in forty days to successfully launch their church on Easter Sunday.
Continue reading to find out how!
Can you tell me more about Trinity Grace Church and its mission?
Trinity Grace Church-Williamsburg is one of eleven neighborhood churches in NYC and we want to join God in the renewal of Williamsburg. We want to be a church that exists in Williamsburg for the good of Williamsburg. We view it as our parish, which is a geographical area of spiritual responsibility.
How did Trinity Grace Church-Williamsburg come about?
To put it simply: it’s the merging of two churches. Robert is the other pastor of TGC-Williamsburg and I met him a year and a half ago. This is when we started exploring the possibility of starting a church together.
After many conversations, we discovered that we shared the same vision. His family lived in the neighborhood for almost ten years and intended to stay long-term and so did my family, although we’d only been in the neighborhood for a short time, since October.
Separately, we were in the early stages of church planting and decided to partner in October with the goal of publicly launching in Easter. That’s when we decided to fundraise.
What was the aim of the fundraising campaign?
On a large scale, at the beginning of a church plant, there’s a certain period of time when you need outside fundraising. You’re not ready to be financially self-sustaining because you’re new. So, we determined what length of time we’d need funds to stay afloat and reached out to engage our congregation and their networks to launch TGC-Williamsburg.
What was your fundraising approach?
“Create momentum. Don’t start at zero. Before we started our campaign someone told me it’s good to have 30%-40% of the final goal committed before you start. I aimed to have 35%. We didn’t get to 35% but we were close enough! I’d definitely strongly advise not starting at zero. It makes a huge difference to get the momentum going before launching. It would’ve been really hard if we were at the end of week one and only had $4000 with a $100,000 goal!”
“Recruit fundraisers. With a staff of three, we knew we needed an army of people to join us. Between the staff, 100% of our contacts were tapped out. We brought up the campaign at our weekly gathering and regularly talked about the feature on our page to make your own fundraising page to help raise funds. We made it clear: “We can’t do this without you!” We even made a thirty-second video of me showing people how to set up an individual fundraising page.
“Tell stories. We wanted to be able to tell the story of our church through our church. We did this by finding three people who have experienced transformation through our church and made three videos over the course of our forty-day campaign.”
Were you surprised by anything?
Yeah, I was surprised at some level that we reached our goal! Honestly, we didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t even know how much our goal should be. I went back and forth about how much to set it for – $40,000 or $100,000? We had talks about how we would need this many people to give ‘x’ amount of dollars to reach ‘x’ goal. We thought $100,000 was a lofty goal, but we decided to go for it!
How have the first few weeks been since you launched your church?
It’s been really phenomenal. The first Sunday was a massive celebration- such a beautiful time. We felt supported as a staff and the following day there were so many people texting me because they were excited that we’d reached our goal on the CauseVox page.
People were tracking it and I didn’t know they were paying attention to it. By the second Sunday, it felt like our church was in a totally new phase because we knew we’d established something significant, together.
Tyler and his team continue to meet for their Sunday gathering in Williamsburg and they are thrilled to have the support of their congregation as they dream, create, and launch initiatives in and for the neighborhood of Williamsburg.