Last Friday night I attended a community band concert with my father, age 91. He never met a stranger, and I found him chatting to his neighbor when I came back from the restroom before the concert started.
Turns out she was a church lady, and not just any church lady: she had actually read Clif Christopher’s Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate. She said, “At our church they get up and say, you need to give so we can keep the lights on. It’s not very inspiring.” She was struck by Christopher’s comparison of churches with nonprofits, which are very good at staying in touch with donors, thanking them, and asking for more. “Our pastor doesn’t even know who gives.” She said she understands why that is, but it makes it hard to thank people and ask them to give more according to their resources.
People want to give to organizations that are making a difference. What stories can you tell about what your church is doing in the community and in the world.? Why do you want to keep the lights on? What ongoing and new ministries will you engage in this coming year? Who are the people your church touches, whether they come to worship or not?
People want to be thanked. One pastor recently wrote notes on every stewardship letter thanking individuals for what they do for the church. “I started out to write just a few,” he said, “And ended up writing a note on every one.” It was a great experience of appreciation for him – and it also led to a big increase in giving for the next year.
How are you asking people to give? And how are you thanking them when they do?
4 replies on “How does your church ask for money?“
Fantastic, Jim. Just sending letters of thanks is huge. Many churches have a hard time with this. Thanks for the comment.
After reading a number of texts about non-profit giving which noted the various differences between other NPs and churches, the stewardship team reconsidered the sending of thanks letters. Which we are doing – time will tell how this is received. The team also wanted to have a special hand-written note on the letters of the top 5 (20% of total givers) donors. But were stymied by other leaders in getting this sub-set list. Seems to be expected in other NPs. Not within God’s churches – a great reticence to such disclosures – maybe great guilt?!
Fantastic story. Thanks, Ron.
The stewardship group at one church I pastored called all donors of the current year to thank them. People were shocked. Some thought there must be an emergency in which extra funds were needed. After being assured they were just being thanked, most responded by contributing more the next year.