Talking about money in church often feels cumbersome. In a world full of televangelist and schemes manipulating people out of their money, how do you talk to your congregation about giving in a way that is inspirational?
Churches may dodge the topic of giving and donations to avoid the perception of being solicitous. Inevitably you will need to address the subject of money with your congregation. Waiting until there is a budgetary issue, or saving it for that one sermon a year can actually make the conversation more awkward. Here are some ways to incorporate Godly giving principles that will inspire faithful giving.
Motivate Gifts From the Heart:
People will give time and resources to what they value. Often fundraising for a Pastor’s salary, or church overhead, can make it sound like giving is another “bill to pay”. Emphasize giving as a response to God’s generosity and use the goals of your congregations’ mission to make it personal for them. How are you working in the community? What or who are you impacting? How is God’s kingdom being furthered by the work of your church? Regularly sharing and connecting to the ministry that happens through your presence is the most inspirational way to motivate your members towards the importance of faithful giving.
Encourage Giving. Period:
If the only time you are speaking to your congregants about giving is in relation to your church needs, then you can begin to sound solicitous. Encourage giving opportunities that are outside of your church. List organizations your church supports or ministries that help the populations your church is passionate about. God commands our generosity for two reasons: To benefit us as we recognize and trust in his provision and to benefit those around us. Identify the need around you and keep talking about it. In your bulletins, on your announcement boards, at the pulpit. Finding ways for your members to give either their time, goods, or money allows all income levels to practice in the joy of giving. Be mindful that giving is a part of spiritual growth. Faithful giving and spiritual maturity are both fruits of nurture.
Take a Page From Nonprofits:
Good nonprofits are great at inspiring giving. Two of the things they have mastered is convenient giving and expressing gratitude. Churches often overlook these essential parts of giving stewardship. End of the year tax statements may be the only time churches acknowledge giving, and they are often perfunctory. Quarterly thank-you’s, handwritten cards, a phone call, or verbal expression of gratitude can go a long way to encourage someone as they practice the discipline of giving. The more personal, the better. A thank-you, in any form, has the most impact when it is not associated with fundraising-so say it often with no strings attached. Making sure giving methods and policies are convenient and reflect the need and preference of your members (not the convenience of the cash handlers) is important. Have more than one way to give and publicize it regularly. Each generation manages their finances differently. Older generations may prefer an estate gift over a pledge or gift that requires them to dip into their fixed income. Younger generations will utilize online means or micro-giving and crowd-funding options. The bottom line is know your congregants needs and meet them where they are at.
Brass Tacks can be Inspirational.
Inspire gifts through sound management and transparency of church funds. People will give to where they feel confident the gifts are being used and managed responsibly. Create policies that reflect accountability in both spending and accounting. Good policies will help protect and guide your staff that manage funds. Simple things like two signature approvals for expenditures over a certain dollar amount and two people counting money at all times are great first steps to fund accountability.
Making sure all your funds are administered properly and keeping precise and available records will demonstrate health and wisdom to your members. Providing a consistent and regular financial report to your congregation as a great way to demonstrate transparency and keep them involved with the concerns of your church. You’re setting the example for fund management with these practices. This transparency allows your members to learn from you and make personal applications to their funds. Don’t be shy- try hosting a class on financial management to benefit your congregation as they learn how to use their resources to glorify God alongside you.
How do you talk to your congregation about giving? Does your church talk about giving? Is there a specific challenge we could help you with?