You know deep down that your givers are the engine that fuels your ministry. You couldn’t do what you do as a church without them. But if you’re like many churches, you struggle with creating and maintaining relationships with your donors and encouraging them to grow in their generosity. And it’s no wonder — money is a complex, emotional subject that’s often challenging to discuss. So, because of those challenges, many churches avoid it altogether. Unfortunately, the effects of that avoidance are starting to show up in church financial statements across the country.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. The fact that it doesn’t is demonstrated by the hundreds of growing nonprofit organizations across the country that, like churches, are funded entirely by donations. The difference is that many nonprofits have entire departments dedicated to learning about donors, taking care of them, and communicating with them in ways that connect and inspire. They leave the accounting and reporting to the CPAs.
That’s the critical difference between churches and other nonprofits. Churches pay close attention to the financial reporting and accounting around their giving efforts, but often forget about the people behind the gifts.
If you’re wondering if this is true in your church, ask yourself if any of these statements apply to your church and your finances:
- You pay thousands of dollars to your their finances managed, but don’t spend anything on efforts to engage members to give more.
- Every money-based conversation your leaders have revolves around meeting the budget, rather than encouraging new and growing givers.
- The stewardship committee spends all its time crunching numbers rather than finding and sharing stories that inspire members to give.
- You rely on accounting professionals to make decisions about church management systems based on the accounting tools included, rather than whether the system will truly steward the donor and help grow that relationship (which would lead to increased giving).
- The same staffer who pays the bills also manages the donor records.
Keeping finances and donor management in separate spheres helps churches create more accountability and lets church leaders give each area the attention it deserves. And when each area receives separate attention, they all improve.
How do you separate financial management and donor management? How has it paid off in your church’s financial success?