Every spring, The Banner launches its annual appeal for donations. I am most grateful for all the financial support that readers have given to us over the years. Over 6,000 readers gave in 2020. We certainly cannot continue our ministry without your generous support.
Some readers, however, aware of the Christian Reformed Church’s ministry shares system, do wonder why we need to fundraise at all, as they presume that the denomination’s ministry shares would suffice to fund us. Let me briefly explain this.
Three Revenue Streams
As our faithful donors know, The Banner has three main revenue streams: denominational ministry shares, advertising, and donations. The more funds we can raise through advertising and donations, the less we need to rely on ministry shares. Those extra ministry share dollars can be released to fund other denominational ministries. Giving to The Banner, therefore, also indirectly helps other denominational ministries.
Advertising currently accounts for about 30% of our revenue. Ministry shares account for about 25%. The rest of our budget is funded by donations from readers. Without these donations, we would have to draw a lot more from ministry shares than we do.
Not a Subscription
Some of our readers might still remember our old subscription model. Synod 2005 ended the subscription model by turning us into “an every household Banner,” sending a copy of The Banner free to every CRC household. Ever since then, we have been sending our publication (online and in print) freely to anyone who wishes to have it. By doing this, The Banner helps connect all of us to each other and to be a mirror and a forum for the entire Christian Reformed Church.
However, even though all this content is free to anyone, anywhere, it is not free to produce. There are costs to printing. Writers need to be paid. Online work requires staff time and effort. That is why we need our donors’ partnership.
Why Readers Give
In summary, we are not a journalistic business but a Christian journalistic ministry to the CRC and beyond. It warms my heart to read the kind encouraging notes that accompany some of the donations every year. These readers partner with us because they believe in our mission.
With their help, we are able to achieve, among other things, the following:
- Send almost 75,000 print copies every month
- Over 65,000 web page views per month
- Reach almost 6,000 subscribers to our free weekly e-newsletter
- Reach over 3,600 people who downloaded our free mobile app
- Reach thousands of followers over Facebook and Twitter
- Be consistently ranked among the “Best in Class” denominational magazines, winning multiple awards from both the Evangelical Press Association and the Associated Church Press
But beyond these numbers and facts, the most important is how we affect and touch readers’ lives. We don’t often hear the stories of how our ministry blesses readers, but when we do, it makes our work worthwhile.
Like the person in prison who feels connected to his “first church” through The Banner. Or the senior who was inspired to offer hospitality by a Banner article. Another reader told us about how he regularly shares his copy of The Banner with his non-churchgoing neighbor and has had faith conversations arise from that. A Christian high school teacher used some of our Cross Examination apologetics articles with his students for religion class.
We love hearing stories like these, as it shows us our journalistic ministry’s impact.
I hope this helps you to understand why we run our fundraising campaign every year. So when our appeal letter or email arrives, or when you see our appeal pop-up on our website or on social media, or when you see our Donate page, please take a moment to consider partnering with us. Thank you.