In business, there is often more than one way to bring in money. Some companies choose to offer a combination of products and services, while others offer related and/or complementary services. Having multiple streams of income can help grow a business and can also help insulate a company during difficult times.
The importance of this was highlighted during the pandemic, when many businesses weren’t able to conduct their regular business activities. Those with multiple streams of income were able to focus on the areas of their businesses that were still viable during a quarantine. Restaurants that already had take-out and delivery systems in place when the pandemic hit fared much better than those that had to create them on the fly. Companies that offered online services in addition to in-person services were also less affected in the early days of the pandemic.
However, having multiple streams of income isn’t only advantageous during a pandemic or any other type of crisis. It’s a good idea for any business that wants more stability and greater growth potential.
Nonprofit Organization Diversifies Income Streams
VitalChurch Ministry is a nonprofit organization, but unlike other nonprofits that rely heavily on charitable contributions, VitalChurch largely supports their own organization by providing much-needed services to churches and denominations, making them similar to a small business in many ways. Although they do receive some charitable donations to their nonprofit, the majority of their funds come from churches using their services.
One of the main services they offer is sending their team of interim pastors to churches that are currently without a lead pastor on staff. A VitalChurch interim pastor will provide leadership to a church as they seek to fill the vacant position and will also help the church sort out any issues they may have. VitalChurch interim pastors are equipped to handle everything from conflict resolution, to staffing issues, to policy and procedure changes. They can also help a church create mission and vision statements that will give the church a path forward and help them determine what characteristics to look for in their next permanent lead pastor. VitalChurch’s interim pastors often stay at a church for 12-24 months, and the organization is compensated by the church for their work.
Another service that VitalChurch Ministry offers is church health assessments. Churches can bring in the diagnostic experts from VitalChurch to assess various aspects of their church, or the church as a whole. VitalChurch will conduct surveys and interviews with leaders, staff, and congregants in order to give a church an accurate picture of their current reality. They can assess things like the congregation’s trust in leadership, the emotional health of the church, or areas of conflict.
VitalChurch offers three tiers of church health assessments. Tier 1 provides a church with a fairly basic assessment, Tier 2 is a bit more customized, and Tier 3 is a full ministry assessment with customized questions and face-to-face interviews. Comprehensive written and oral reports are delivered to the church at the end of a Tier 3 diagnostic analysis, which address the church’s issues and also offers carefully considered recommendations for moving forward.
Recently, VitalChurch Ministry has decided to offer a couple of new services, which will provide the organization with new streams of income, while still fitting within their areas of expertise. These offerings are also lower priced than their primary service offerings, making them great options for churches that don’t have the budget for their primary services.
Interim Pastor Training Seminars
For the last couple of years, VitalChurch has begun to offer training for other interim pastors. Often, denominations will staff their own team of interim pastors to serve in denominational churches. These pastors don’t typically have any special training in helping churches in transition or crises. VitalChurch’s seasoned interim pastors provide in-depth training, based on their years of experience, to those who are currently serving as interim pastors or who are thinking about engaging in this type of work. The seminars are also great for other types of church leaders—not just interim pastors. The presenters teach on topics like diagnosing problems, facilitating change, and resolving conflict within churches.
These training events have been well received by participants, who have found the training sessions and the accompanying manuals and materials extremely helpful. VitalChurch benefits as an organization by receiving additional income through the event registration fees, and their interim pastors are able to pass on what they’ve learned through their years of experience working in churches.
Church Health Assessment Online Surveys
While VitalChurch does their best to make their church health assessments as affordable as possible for every church, some churches simply don’t have the funds to bring in VitalChurch for one of their traditional assessments. Because of this, VitalChurch is developing a church health assessment that is completely online, and which they can offer at a lower price point for churches with smaller budgets. Churches still get the benefits of going through an assessment, and VitalChurch is able to bring in additional money to the organization without a lot of “hands-on” time from their limited staff. VitalChurch is anticipating that their online church health assessments will be available later this year.
What Small Businesses Can Learn from VitalChurch Ministry
VitalChurch was very strategic when creating additional sources of income. They didn’t go outside of their areas of expertise. Rather, they found new ways of monetizing them. They tapped into their strengths and considered what potential clients would find useful. The organization is stronger for it, and they are able help more churches and individuals as a result.
In the same way, small businesses can capitalize on their strengths and bring new goods and services to the marketplace that will diversify their income streams and help grow their businesses.