I recently posted a poll in the Theology on the Web Facebook Group asking for suggestions as to how I could secure regular funding to continue to develop Theology on the Web. This is because Income from affiliate links, Google ads and one-off donations have fallen, while server costs will rise in September this year as I add more web space to the server. Before I begin I wanted to thank those who contributed their ideas to the post and to give some feedback in the hope of provoking further discussion. I also want to thank the couple who have now signed up to support the sites regularly.
Here are the options the Group suggested:
Open a Patreon Account
For those not familiar with it Patreon provides a superb service intended to offer support for artists and creators by offering regular supporters special deals, such as early access to new products, etc. 14 people voted for this option.
There are several reasons why I cannot take up this option, but for brevity I will mention only one. As part of my agreement with the publishers and authors who contribute content I undertake not to sell their work, but to make it available to everyone free of charge. I think that offering such content for payment, even for only a short period, conflicts with this obligation.
Add a PayPal Donate Button
8 people voted for this. To be honest I was a little bemused by this suggestion, as every page on my websites (over 2,000 of them), already has a PayPal donate button at the very top of the left-hand sidebar. I wondered if it was not obvious enough?
Approach your Church to Make it a Ministry of the Church
2 people voted for this. I know from experience that getting for support for providing theological resources is difficult even from those who are using the websites regularly. Promoting to those who have never heard of it is not likely to succeed.
Initiate a GoFundMe – Education Fundraiser
4 people voted for this. A few years ago my supporters responded very generously to my GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a new laptop. GoFundMe is great for one-off requests, but I would not be comfortable about making the same request each year. However, if I reach a funding crisis, I may have to take up this option in the short-term to keep the sites running.
Advertise my Bible College / Seminary on the websites
11 people voted for this option. As I mentioned above that income from Google ads has now fallen to such a low level. SO low, in fact, that I have today removed all the Google banner ads from the websites. This will give me enough space for two more seminaries / Bible Colleges to place vertical banner ads.