By Ashley Chambers In an age of diminished resources, church and nonprofit organizations face challenges when they seek to generate money to sustain services and programs. However, entrepreneur Yvonne Lawrence is optimistic that agencies and churches can find solutions to their economic struggles. An independent business owner, Lawrence has been in the industry of network marketing and has discovered an innovative system for organizations to generate revenue. “Fundraising is so different now because of the economy,” said Lawrence, whose nonprofit Our Family Circle provides a social center in Oakland for seniors 55 and older. “We’re a nonprofit, not funded by any agency. We have to pay for everything.” According to Lawrence, fundraising for churches and nonprofits is not very profitable. It can be taxing on parishioners and supporters, digging deeper into their pockets for funds, she says. The alternative is capitalizing on the “economic river” that we all have, a concept Lawrence learned through Visionbirth. Pastor Keith Street of North Carolina created Visionbirth to assist nonprofits and ministries find resources without taking any additional money from their members. Using this system, nonprofits can receive up to 10 percent of the bills paid each month for services including local and long distance calls, cell phone bills, home security, and internet. “It’s a very creative, powerful concept,” Lawrence said. “It is just so simple; we’re paying bills anyway. It’s just another way of stepping up to the challenge. A lot of people just don’t know about it.” Lawrence shares this opportunity with everyone, encouraging churches, nonprofits, and other entrepreneurs to take advantage of these resources, which in turn serve the community. “There are a lot of nonprofits and organizations that have closed down, but this is the way to keep the doors open,” she said. “We have a responsibility to our community, to our children, to our youth,” she said. “I remember (that) when President Obama won in 2008, in his acceptance speech he said, ‘God bless America. Take care of yourselves and each other.’ So its not just about making money for yourself, it’s about helping each other.” For more information on Visionbirth, visit www.visionbirth.org.
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