10 tips for a successful review of giving?
The lockdown and absence from buildings will have hit some churches harder than others. Yes, some will have included a "give now" link in Zoom and YouTube services but many will not have done, and of those that have, some will have gained a greater response than others.
In the almost 30 years that I have been working with churches, I have assisted countless numbers with planned giving reviews. The work has been challenging - quite often the leadership don't “get it”. They come with the approach, “We have income of X and expenditure of X+, so we need the gap filled.”
No you don't!
What you need is a review of giving – not just the what (although that helps) but also the why and the how. So, here are a few pointers.
- Include all those on the membership list and those who would consider themselves members. Do not assume that Mrs Muggins cannot review her giving. Let her make the decision for herself.
- Do talk about why we give. It is much more than enabling the bills to be paid. It is about saying Thank You to God for all that He has given us.
- Do this every year (why not base it on the Sundays nearest to the American Thanksgiving Day?) so that you talk about money more frequently than when it is a crisis. If it is only spoken of at a time of crisis it will always be a crisis.
- Have a response mechanism that involves a physical act (completing a form) and dedication.
- Encourage giving by standing order on the day that income is received.
- Produce information for the AGM that is clear to understand and communicates what money does in your church.
- Say thank you.
- Produce and deliver annual thank you letters that do not ask for money. They just say thank you.
- Try and abolish the collection plate. A welcome to seekers and pilgrims is far more effective when not accompanied by a request for money.
- Have FUN and FAITH raising events and stop having Fundraising events. They can soon become fun draining (only one letter different).
Action Planning can help you draft your communications. We even have people who are experienced in speaking with fellowships of all sizes.
Andrew Rainsford is a specialist consultant in the Christian sector, helping churches with matters concerning buildings, capacity building, project development, income generation and community enterprise. He has 28 years experience in funding and third sector management and now engages with projects that will make a difference to the community.