Are you a chronic tweeter? Do you find yourself thinking in increments of 140 characters or less? Did you know Twitter is a non-profit? Well, they’re not, but please stick with me and I think this will make sense.
I initially resisted joining Twitter thinking, “Why would I join another social thing? I already use Facebook.” The more I heard about Twitter the more I resisted using it. I kept thinking it sounded way too intrusive into my life. Something changed, eventually, where I decided to give it a shot and sign up as a casual user of the site (@pastortimk).
I wouldn’t say I’m now addicted to Twitter but I have tweeted more than 10 times this week. I’ll probably also tweet once I post this on the blog. I then might tweet how people are responding and then tweet again about how I feel about how people are responding. Ok, I’m drinking the Twitter cool-aid. Maybe I should tweet about that?
I was surprised earlier this year as I was listening to NPR (@NPR) on my way home from Credo House (@credohouse) to hear that Twitter never had a profitable quarter until the fourth quarter of 2013. WHAT? The company started in 2006 and for 7 years never once turned a profit. How in the world is that even possible? I started to wonder. How can a company like that survive? WHY should a company survive for seven years without a profit? Shouldn’t they have just let that thing die? Why did they keep it alive for so long?
It then became clear to me that I would have never joined Twitter if it would have cost me $4.99/month to sign up. No one would have. Even as a totally free service it still took me a few years hearing from my “early adopter” friends talking about Twitter before I decided to give it a try.
Did the employees of Twitter get paid every 2 weeks for 6 years? Absolutely. Even if you have a great long-term idea mortgages still need to be paid and kids still need to eat (not in that order of course). Twitter undoubtedly had outside help to survive. Twitter had a combination of banks and private investors who understood the value and vision. They knew there would be no way to expect Twitter to start off with enough subscription payments and enough advertising revenue to pay all their bills from day one. In order for Twitter to exist it took a unique way to look at business.
Even six years into Twitter it was very clear the vision was working. With 600 million users they were not profitable but it didn’t really concern their investors because they knew it was working for the long-term. In order to accomplish something no one had accomplished, people approached the problem in a totally different way.
I feel like the Credo House is a lot like Twitter (in the most humble way). The vision of Credo House is working. It’s even working at the level that our coffee shop is profitable. We create curriculum that the most “early adopters” know they need but millions of other people don’t know they need yet. So we provide tons of free training and spend a lot of money waiting and being ready for when people realize they really need the Credo House and its training. We can’t wait until everyone is ready to then start the ministry and get it off the ground. We lay the groundwork now so when they know they need the Credo House we are right there in their neighborhood to help equip them as Ambassadors for Christ to our postmodern world.
Amazingly, the Credo House has grown to an organization with more than a dozen employees and reaching more than a million people a year and we have never taken an operational loan. Our private investors (donors) are those who share our vision. They see the potential positive influence if Credo Houses existed on University campuses throughout our country.
We strongly believe Credo House will get to the place where donations may not be necessary for survival (we will always remain a non-profit). We strongly believe that day could come in the next year or two where donations are only spent on new locations. Our online church memberships alone could be the thing that makes donations no longer a necessity. Today, however, we are still in the zone where the Credo House is very much working but is also very much dependent on kingdom-oriented investors.
When the Credo House has a solid financial foundation it can build an organization that needs to exist long-term and not one that necessarily produces the greatest short-term profit margins. Twitter would have never become what it did if it didn’t have those 6 years of long-term sustained focus.
Would you consider being one of those long-term investors helping us to fully become something that is already showing amazing success? We would be most grateful.
You can join the movement by giving here.