With the end of the year approaching, both your church and your congregation are looking at budgets and finances and preparing for the new year. This can be a hectic time for your church — but it’s also a time with unparalleled potential for cultivating generosity, not just around this one season, but forward into the next year and beyond. It’s just a matter of knowing how.
Brad Leeper and Greg Morris of Generis have written a new eBook, the Year-End Church Giving Guide, designed to help you create a year-end giving project that will breathe new life into the generosity culture of your church. There’s more in there than I could delve into here, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about just a few of the important principles they mention about giving and ministry.
- Tell stories. Money is an important, sometimes emotional topic for people. It represents our time, our labor, and our material safety. It’s hard to convince anyone to part with the fruits of their hard work for an abstract goal. People are moved by stories — so tell them. The ministry you’re funding touches and transforms lives, and when you communicate that, people will want to be a part of it.
- Clear and Concise. You might have the best cause in the world, but if you don’t communicate clearly and concisely its impact, you will lose people. Make it simple, with a clear call to action, or you will limit your ministry’s potential. Mention your church’s ministry projects from the pulpit, not just one week, but several in a row, so you don’t miss people who weren’t there that first Sunday. Create videos that capture the faces behind the words. And always give people several options for how to give.
- Show gratitude. When people take that step to give to your church, it’s vital that you acknowledge their investment. This affirms both their decision and the relationship between the ministry and the giver. Send a first-time giver a handwritten thank you. Maybe create an appreciation video that showcases the ministry their gift helped fund. Remember to stay personal, and your givers will never feel like they’re just a faceless number in your budget spreadsheet.
- Celebrate wins. You aren’t asking for money just to ask for money — you’re doing great work with the resources your donors are entrusting to you. They need to see it! Take pictures or video of physical projects that were completed and people whose lives were touched. Publicly celebrating these victories solidifies your givers’ feelings of being a part of something important and life-changing.
- Don’t stop paying attention when the project’s over. Generosity is an ongoing lifestyle, not just a signature on a single check, and it needs to be cultivated just like every other area of someone’s spiritual growth. Tracking metrics throughout the year is vital not just to your church’s financial health, but also to looking out for your members’ physical and spiritual wellbeing.
If you’ve ever considered organizing a year-end giving project, but weren’t sure where to begin or how to maximize its impact, I highly encourage you to check out the Year-End Church Giving Guide. A well-designed, well-executed giving project can strengthen your ministry’s entire generosity culture, not just for the year’s end, but for the long haul.
Have you ever implemented a year-end giving project before? What did you do, and what impact did it have on your church, your members, and your mission?