Church Funding—6 Types of Donors You Should Thank Regularly

It seems like every time I talk to church leaders the topic of increasing revenue comes up. It’s understandable because oftentimes church funding is the only thing standing between our vision and its execution.

Church Funding - 6 Types of Donors You Should Thank Regularly

Stock Donation Donors

There will be a segment of your community that may give various negotiable assets (including stocks and bonds) to your church. This is an important group of donors to acknowledge; these individuals are literally giving a piece of their future to the church. Unlike income that’s replenishable every month, when people choose to give you a stock today, they’re giving you future earning potential. People could choose to hold onto these assets as revenue-makers for their own personal futures, but they’re choosing to give it to your ministry instead.

This is an important, tactical area to thank, because a large percentage of all wealth is actually contained within equity like this rather than within income. Develop the habit of acknowledging and thanking people who choose to give equity to your church. This best practice can go a long way. I would suggest making a personal phone call (or adding some kind of personal touch) as these individuals are giving at a deeply generous level when they decide to give from their future potential earnings. We want to make sure that we match the emotional intensity of that gift in our appreciation.

Other Organizations

From time to time, other nonprofits or businesses in town will make donations to your church. These gifts are important because they represent a group of people within a business supporting the work of your church.

Sometimes gifts like this are a risk for the organization or business because there are many other opportunities for them to give to within the locality. Other nonprofits—like hospitals and food banks—do an incredible job of publicly acknowledging these gifts. With that in mind, take the time to reach out to the leadership of the organization and ask them how you can publicly speak about this gift. Let them decide the best way to make any form of public acknowledgement.

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Core Donors

There are a group of donors who give a disproportionate percentage of your budget. This small group funds a sizable portion of what makes your ministry happen. These individuals need a regular connection with the leadership of your church to help them continue to invest in your ministry. It’s not a matter of giving this group special treatment; rather, it’s about encouraging them in the amazing gift they have. The Bible is pretty clear that some people have the gift of giving, and our job as leaders is to help everyone develop their spiritual gifts. If you don’t acknowledge or work with someone who has the gift of giving, it would be as if someone had the gift of teaching and you denied them opportunities to use and grow those gifts or failed to provide feedback on the difference their teaching is making.

I’ve found that coordinating regular meals with the top 20 to 50 donors at your church is a best practice in this area. You don’t need to overdo this, but if every one of those donors had a meal with a core leader (if not the lead pastor of your church) on an annual basis, the relationship that develops through that interaction will help the church continue to thrive. The conversation around the meal isn’t all about finances or the fact that someone’s given. In fact, I think 95% of the time together is simply about getting to know them, understanding what’s happening in their world, finding out how you can pray for them, and understanding their business.

Then in the last 5 percent of your time together, let the donor know how thankful you are for their investment in the ministry and ask them if they any questions about the church and its areas of growth. This will give them an opportunity to ask questions that they may feel a little bit sheepish about asking in other forums. Again, you’re not giving these people special treatment or special influence over the church. You are acknowledging that their gifts are making a profound difference, and you want to make sure they have access to the information they need to continue to feel comfortable investing in the church.

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A bonus tip for this group: After you’ve had lunch with one of these donors, why not ask to come and see their place of work? You’d be amazed what happens when church leaders ask to visit a donor’s workplace. They’re always coming to your place of work, and it’s a great blessing for them if you return the favor. A lot of people love to show off their work environments and introduce you to the various people they work with. It also gives you more insight into how they lead and what’s happening in their world.

Which type of donor do you need to thank today?

Taking time to thank donors is critically important for the future of your church. We want to acknowledge the amazing work that God’s doing in people’s hearts as they choose to invest in our ministries, and you want your people to know how thankful you are for their gifts.

Which area do you need to invest more time, effort and energy into? How can you develop a more robust strategy to thank donors? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

 

This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.

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Rich Birch
Rich serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. He blogs at UnSeminary.com and is a sought after speaker and consultant on multisite, pastoral productivity and communications.