How is Mockingbird funded?
The work of Mockingbird is made possible by the gifts of private donors and churches. Our annual operating budget is roughly $195,000, and with virtually no overhead, your gift translates directly into mission and ministry.
Why would someone want to support Mockingbird?
Many reasons! We think some of these might include:
We do good work! At least, we think so. Odds are, if you’re reading this, you might think so too.
- Our work is reaching an increasing number of people. Not only have our ‘web traffic,’ publication sales, and conference registrations steadily spiraled upward ‘lo these many years’, but we also hear frequently from a surprisingly wide variety of folk who are benefiting from the material. These include preachers who find illustrations on our site, disenfranchised believers who finally feel at home, random citizens who simply share our cultural interests, Sunday school teachers who use our teaching programs, parents who are finding new ways to connect with their kids, kids who find an exciting (and robust) connection to the faith of their parents, people without any religious background at all who find the site thought-provoking and refreshing. The list goes on.
- It takes a relatively small amount of money to fund our work. In a very concrete sense, Mockingbird is a good investment. We have been able to do a lot with a little, and have every intention of continuing to do so. We have so many more ideas and initiatives that we are eager to get off the ground. Truth be told, the only thing holding us back at this point is money.
- We are devoted to figuring out how to spread the Gospel in an increasingly atomized world. Mockingbird feels to us like a vanguard – which is very exciting!
But more important than all that, we believe the Gospel is the word of life. It has certainly been such for us. And in a world obsessed with achievement and distraction, the message of God’s Grace needs a better airing. Suffering people need to hear about their savior! We need to hear about our savior. If you feel that you have heard the Gospel from Mockingbird, or found yourself inspired in some way, we hope you will give to keep it going. We cannot do this without you!
Isn’t Mockingbird basically just a blog? Don’t people write those in their spare time? For free?
No and, increasingly, no. The blog is certainly a big part of what we do, but it is far from all. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and we’re not just saying that. Running an organization takes time and financial resources, as do editing publications and hosting conferences, cultivating and encouraging our volunteers, etc. And the organizational structure not only protects what we’re doing, it lends our work credibility, continuity and heft (“brand” is too crass a word, but you know what we mean). Yet even in addition to those bricks-and-mortar products and events – our conferences, recordings, publications and teaching programs – Mockingbird also functions as a network, a safe haven for those who are committed to the gospel of Grace in all its fullness.
Yet, even if Mockingbird were ‘merely’ a blog, blogs are increasingly one of the top ways people get their information, feed their minds, and… their hearts. We can either bemoan that fact, or embrace it. Publishing and communication are changing in front of our eyes, and we would rather not be ‘left behind,’ pun intended.
Why doesn’t Mockingbird defray its operating costs by accepting advertising?
Laying aside the obvious objection that advertising opens an ethical can of worms and we treasure our integrity, online advertising is simply not a big moneymaker. At least not yet. The tradeoff, in terms of tax paperwork alone, would not be worth it. We also can’t deny the myriad evidence that ministry and money do not always make comfortable bedfellows, that caution is a good rule of thumb in that respect. At the risk of sounding pious, since we very much see this as a ministry, the less direct ‘control’ we exert over the funding, the better. Fundraising keeps people on their knees.
If I decide to support Mockingbird, where does my money go?
It goes into our operating fund, which goes straight to ministry and mission. There is no administrative staff, no development costs: little to no cumbersome overhead. We do all of those tasks ourselves, and contract out the ones that we can’t do. Even our offices are donated. That said, if you were to break down our budget, about 40% goes toward programming and the rest toward salaries. Which is relatively standard for non-profit organizations. When you consider what we do, you might say all of it goes to programming, our staff being our primary assets. All gifts are fully tax-deductible.
What is the best concrete way to support Mockingbird financially?
Automatic monthly giving is the most helpful way you can support Mockingbird. Like church pledges, it is income we can count on which makes the biggest difference. No amount is too small. We have folks that give $10/month and those that give $1000. You may sign up on our Support page. ANYTHING is an encouragement, the widow’s mite etc. Still, some prefer to give one-time gifts and that is wonderful too. You may give by credit card on our Support page. If you would prefer to do so by check, you may mail your gift, made out to “Mockingbird Ministries” to 100 West Jefferson St, Charlottesville, VA 22902. We send out appeal letters twice per year which give you the opportunity to give by check. To be sure you receive one, sign up for our mailing list. Each and every donation is deeply appreciated.
Finally, an increasing number of churches consider Mockingbird to be an important outreach! Important enough to include in their missions budget, in fact. We would love to make presentations, sit for interviews, or fill out whatever forms are needed to help make that possible.