Donation Secrets

By Kersley Fitzgerald

When I came on staff at, it was because the board told the boss he was doing too much of the admin work that most CEOs shouldn't be concerned with. I still say my job description is "everything S. Michael Houdmann doesn't want to do." One of those things is logging donations.

Don't get me wrong — S.M.H. still sees all the donation emails (he likes to see where they're from) and picks up the checks. He just doesn't log them or send receipts anymore. That falls to me.

At first, I thought it was a confusing mess that was just part of my morning routine. My attitude quickly changed, however, into one of gratefulness and humility.

There are different types of fundraising models. Some organizations seek grants. Others look for a few big donors. I like our model. We are open to and appreciative of any amount. Sure, the smaller the donation, the more fees are taken out, but I like how it allows anyone the chance to be a part of what we do. And we do appreciate every donor and every donation.

Do you know what it's like to see a $5 payment come through and think, "Wow. This person believes in what we're doing so much that they trusted us with their money"? It looks a little obvious and simplistic written down, but seriously — that $5 just went toward translating a page into Afrikaans or sending out the weekend email — or paying my salary!

In the spirit of gratitude, here is some secret info about donations to GotQuestions:
  • I think it's funny when someone sends in a very specific donation, like $23.74. It makes me wonder what freelance job they did and how they tithed from it.
  • We get donations from all over the world, but a surprising number from Singapore.
  • Many of our writers also donate. The ownership they have in our collective ministry is awesome.
  • We switched from using PayPal to Qgiv for our primary donation service for a couple of reasons. PayPal was having difficulties with their email notification system (letting me know someone had donated), and Qgiv takes out less in fees, which means a greater percentage of the donation goes directly to the ministry.
  • The majority of donations come through Qgiv now, but we also get PayPal, Google Checkout, and even mailed checks.
  • If your card expired and your subscription didn't clear, it does not give us heartburn. We will send you an email, since it's most likely a new expiration date on your card. And we'll work with you if you'd like to restart the donation. But we won't hound you.
  • We do get income from advertising, but about 70% of our income comes from private donors.
  • We never, ever, ever, ever, ever sell or give out your information. You may receive an email plugging another company, but it comes through us as part of our own fundraising.
  • We work hard to be good stewards with your money. One example: we all have laptops — most of us for our primary and only computer. If we're home sick, we still work!
  • Don't ever appologize for giving "too little." There's no such thing. God can make a little go a very long way. You've given what you felt led to, and we're honored to receive it.
We are blessed in other ways that help us use your donations even more efficiently. Half our furniture was donated from another ministry that has since closed. Our building owner, amazingly, doesn't charge us rent. And the Waldo Canyon Fire didn't burn us down! It keeps costs down for such luxuries as...water for the cooler and birthday lunches. Yeah. Those are about our biggest indulgences.

Your blessings have meant the addition of four different sites since I started working here; in addition to GotQuestions, the Christian search engine SeekFind, and the kids' site GQKidz (which just launched a new look — check them out), we now have the teens' site 412Teens, the apologetics site CompellingTruth, the Bible commentary BibleRef, and, of course, Blogos.

So for everyone who supported us this year, whether it was $5000 or $5, a heartfelt Thank You. We will continue to strive to be good stewards with your sacrifice.

Image Credit: Michelangelo Carrieri; "Top Secret"; Creative Commons

TagsChristian-Life  | Got-Questions?

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Published 12-13-12; Updated 4-13-16