Alex Lim is the founder and director of Five Two Foundation, a crowdfunding platform based in Seoul, South Korea. Find out more about Five Two at www.fivetwo.org.
1. What is Five Two Foundation?
We are a ministry devoted to helping other ministries raise funds online. Our mission is to multiply God's resources for the common good. We believe that technology can be used as a lever to raise more funds for God's global mission.
In practice, we offer GrassRoot which is a fundraising platform that allows any organization to create their own crowdfunding website. They can use their own brand/logo, donations go straight to their bank account, and we even automate tax receipts. The platform is "project-based" meaning that every ministry can create targeted giving pages for missionaries, short-term teams, events, and campaigns. In short, every org can now have its own version of GoFundMe to manage their own fundraising.
2. Who is your main client/user base?
Our primary clients are ministries based in the United States. Although our platform can be used by almost any organization in the world, our focus has been the US due to the number of nonprofits and level of donations. We also have a fair number of clients in South Korea. From a missions funding perspective, the US and Korea are by far the largest donors to global missions, so it makes sense for us to be focused on serving clients in those two countries.
3. What has the process of driving Five Two Foundation's vision been like?
I think anyone who has ever started something new will tell you that it's extremely difficult yet rewarding at the same time. We believe we have something to offer and help ministries raise more funds and save time and money doing so, but it's not easy trying to convince someone that you can help them if they don't think anything is wrong or if there is nothing to improve. And because our clients are so diverse, they all have very different needs. From a design perspective, it's very difficult to create an easy-to-use platform that has particular features to meet the needs of many different clients. Anyone can throw together a million options and settings but to make it seamless is another story.
The other side of running a ministry is fundraising for our own operational expenses. Let's just say I know exactly what other ministries and missionaries go through when trying to raise funds for a cause. Fundraising is a labor intensive job. I would like to think that going through this experience helps us know our clients better and translates to a better product.
4. How has the church crowdfunding landscape changed over the past five years?
Crowdfunding as a general concept is nothing new. In some ways, churches have always been crowdfunded since it relies of many donations from many different people. The average church is still under 100 members with a budget of under $100,000. It has changed in that more and more donations are now coming from online sources. That includes giving for offering/tithing and missions. It still has a long way to go since online giving for all nonprofits still only represents less than 7% of all giving. I also think donors are becoming more savvy. They require more engagement, more feedback, and they want to know exactly how their funds are being used. It requires churches and other ministries to be more transparent and accountable for how they use donor funds.
5. What is a concrete way to share the Gospel with digital tools available and developing now?
To be honest, I don't really know. We focus on giving, which is only part of the process since ministries need funds to help share the Gospel. I've read about the Jesus film and how many people have been saved through it, and how some are smuggling digital/audio Bibles into some countries. I still think sharing the Gospel digitally is just part of the process and in most cases, it requires a person to walk them through the story as well. However technology changes, the Gospel will always require offline follow-up because it lives and breathes in community.
6. What advice do you have for Christians who are using technology and social media as a platform to advance the Kingdom?
Content still counts. Technology and social media are just different tools to carry the same message. Although the content often needs to be contextualized, the core message of the gospel remains unchanged. The medium has always changed so that's nothing new, even though modern technology seems so advanced. Papyrus or leaded pencils were considered technology at one point.
Also keep in mind that "advancing the kingdom" can also come in many forms. I think most people think of direct evangelism or gospel presentations as kingdom work, but any form of good work can advance the kingdom. We need a much broader understanding of work and kingdom and how integrated they are.