There are only two kinds of church leaders when it comes to money for their ministries … those who want more of it and those who lie about not wanting more of it! Like a seed planted in fertile soil, I believe each one of the following ideas can bear huge fruit down the road. If you are looking to increase the money for your ministry, try a handful of these ideas and then stand back and watch what God does!
Start Thanking People
Is your church thankful enough for the resources that are already being provided? What is your process for thanking donors? Here are a few groups of people that you could build a small process around to thank them:
1. First-Time Givers: Donating to a church is a really big deal. Send a letter to thank new donors and invite them to ask any questions they might have about the church.
2. “Becoming Regular” Givers: Figure out when people go from being causal givers to becoming regular givers and acknowledge it. Send them another thank-you letter and a small gift.
3. Significant Givers: There is a group of donors at your church that represent a disproportionate amount of your revenue. Call them today to say thank you for giving.
Implement Offering Talks
What actually happens in your service when you receive the offering? Do you rush by it because you don’t want to make people nervous? Or do you take the opportunity to cast vision for how the offering helps fuel the mission of your church? Do you take time to thank people for being engaged with the mission of your church through this part of the service? Well-planned and executed weekly offering talks could literally turn your church’s finances around.
Download five FREE Offering Scripts and Accompanying Slides Now. Use these sample scripts to get started this weekend. (These are just a sample of the six months of scripts available to unSeminary Premium members in a course titled “Offering Talks That Engage!”)
Start Working on a Year-End Campaign
We started doing year-end giving campaigns during the recession and they’ve become an integral part of the life of our church. In fact, throughout the year we have people who ask about what is going to be included in the upcoming year-end campaign! Imagine that … people asking you how they can get involved in funding important ministry projects! Pull together a small team today and ask them to do some research on how a year-end campaign could work in your church. Here are some places to start:
Book a “Generosity Message” on the Calendar
Every year you avoid it … you know that Jesus talks more about money than just about everything else, but you’re concerned people will get turned off. News flash: People think about money a lot. It’s not going to be a foreign concept for them to hear what the Bible has to say about money and generosity. Figure out where it fits into this year’s teaching calendar and book it. Here are some sample messages to check out for inspiration:
Giving 2.0—Andy Stanley Classic Message
How the Dutch Do Money—Bill Hybels is a seasoned pro at this … he does at least one message a year on money.
Go to Lunch
Looping back on a group I touched on earlier … there is a small group of donors at your church that represent a disproportionate amount of your revenue. Find out who they are and take them to lunch. Not to talk about money but to get to know them. Develop a relationship with them because they are like anyone else in your church: They need support. They are different as well because at some point the topic of the church finances is going to come up and they’ll prefer to talk with you about it rather than just read it in a report. Start building the relational bridge today to help make that conversation better in the future.
Ask Your Leadership Team
Donors don’t want to see their resources wasted. They don’t want you to cheap out and do a bad job, but they do want to see the resources they donated managed well. Gather your team together and ask the simple question: How can we be better stewards of our resources? Pick three things you can do right away and three things that will take longer to implement. (Sidebar: Remind your team that their volunteers are the donors who pay them … we’re working for our volunteers who pay us to manage them well.)
Audit Your Online Giving
Is your online giving system safe, simple and secure? Is it easy to use … I mean really easy to use? Can you find it quickly from the front page of your site? (We saw a huge bump in online giving by just moving it to a super obvious spot on every page of our site.) Ask three friends who don’t go to your church and you’re pretty sure have never given to your church to make a $5 donation through your online giving form … tell them you’ll spring for lunch later this week in exchange for their thoughts on how it went. (If you aren’t taking donations through your website … add it, today.)
Something for Them … Not From Them
People worry about money. They are trying to get out from under consumer debt. They’re not really sure how to manage the money they have. What can you plan for this year to give them financial help? Pick one of these two programs and find a slot for them at your church:
Financial Peace University—Taught by New York Time’s best-selling author Dave Ramsey, this course has been used by thousands of churches and has had a huge impact on millions of people.
I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.—Put together by former New Spring staffer Joseph Sangl, this course offers hope for people caught in debt who are not sure where to start.
Plan a New-Givers Event
Ask your finance team to pull together the list of all the people who gave for the first time in the last 12 months. Pull together a simple dinner event with them for six weeks from now. Send them nice paper invite cards … and follow up with an email RSVP form. Get them in a room and do three things:
1. Vision: Why does your church exist? Cast vision and connect the dots between their giving and the vision that is actually happening.
2. Huddle: Help them build relationships with other people in your church and your key team members. Make sure the night gives lots of opportunity for them to interact.
3. Fun: Laugh together. It’s good for building relationships.
Be More Generous
I almost didn’t put this point in because I didn’t want to come off “health and wealth,” but the reality is you can’t out-give God. How is your church being generous? Every time we’ve stepped out to be generous as a church, whether it’s a reverse offering, public outreach, supporting other organizations or whatever way we’re being open-handed with the finances God has given us … our revenues have increased. How are you personally being generous? How can your family give to others in need?