The Case for For-Profit Chaplaincy

Ministry is one thing. Starting a business is another. Starting any kind of business raises many questions. Starting a chaplaincy business raises one more: Would a for-profit or not-for-profit business model be best?

At first glance, a not-for-profit model might seem like the obvious choice, given the tax breaks donors receive and investors’ seeming eagerness to support non-profit social ventures. But it is important to think long term.

The ultimate goal is a sustainable business model that will be able to focus on providing chaplaincy services in the community for years to come. And for-profit corporate chaplaincy can meet this goal for a variety of unique reasons.

  1. Because chaplaincy organizations have very little capital outlay, the for-profit model allows for natural growth without the additional obstacle of fundraising in the traditional sense.

  2. The owners of for-profit chaplaincy organizations can focus entirely on acquiring and serving clients rather than having some of their focus, time, and attention diverted to the purpose of seeking and serving donors.

  3. New contracts create income. Because the contracts are long-term retainer agreements, you’ll know you have consistent support that can be used to cover business expenses and hire quality chaplains to serve alongside you.

Why else should you consider a for-profit model?

  • There’s a consistent cash flow.
  • It’s easier to attract and retain talent.
  • It inherently creates a customer-focused organization.
  • It’s easier to relate to business owners because you are one.
  • Operating costs (such as office space, vehicle use, networking meals, etc.) are tax-deductible business expenses.

With minimal competition in this emerging industry, chaplaincy as a business also has a tremendous amount of growth potential in the marketplace.

As when starting any new business, your chaplaincy organization may take awhile to develop into a self-sustaining entity. Consequently, it is important to have an alternate source of income during the first few years as you get your business off the ground. Meeting potential client companies, building trust, and earning their business takes time. But in the end, it’s worth it. And the ROI includes not just a profit, but changed lives.

To find out more, see our Start Your Chaplaincy Business Kit.


Our mission as a consulting team is to mentor and equip emerging workplace chaplains. Our vision as chaplains is to reach out and bring care where it is needed most and where it can make a meaningful difference.

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