If you want to improve the level of giving in your Church, then you need to understand why people actually give. No doubt you’ve heard many of the cliches like “Money follows Vision”, but assuming you have a Vision in place already, lets take a closer look at why people give, so we can make sure we have the right pillars in place.
So why do people give?
Trust – people give to organizations and Churches that they trust. Money being the sensitive topic that is, requires us to not only ‘be’ trustworthy, but to actually be ‘perceived’ as trustworthy as well.
“For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.”
2 Corinthians 8:21
Notice the seriousness of this statement; we are to ‘take pains’. In other words in our Churches we need to have the systems and processes in place to not only make sure we are doing the right thing, but so that people will see we are doing the right thing as well.
So, let me ask you a question, can your Church be trusted? If I gave to your Church could I be comfortable that you are going to be good stewards with it?
Relationships – People give to people, not to organizations. A number of years ago, I got a phone call from the head of a mission organization that my wife and I had been giving to for a number of years. I had never actually met him. He said that he was calling around and introducing himself to the organization’s supporters and that he wanted to meet me for a coffee to give me an update and share the vision. As a result of this initial contact, we have become friends, still to this day, and have helped each other in many different ways, but most importantly I was also able to understand even more the heart and soul of the organization, and its kingdom impact. As a result I became more involved, not only in terms of increased giving, but also by bringing people along to fundraising events, and so forth.
So, let me ask you this question, how are your relationships with your members? Do they know you? Do they know your driving vision and passion for people to be saved? Sure, you will never be friends with all your members, and they don’t expect that, nor can the Pastor of a very large Church know everybody’s name, however, where possible and with the help of a leadership team, you can build genuine relationships with people who share your heart for the Gospel.
Results – Yes, people want results. As a businessperson, I am used to assessing new products or services to determine if I will get a reasonable return on my investment. Truthfully, when people give to Church, they want a result greater than just the lights being kept on and staff paid. They desire a kingdom impact!
Don’t be disheartened here; ultimately the results are in God’s hands. But people want quite rightly want to see the following:
– A clear and compelling, faithful but realistic vision
– Thought out and planned strategies to achieve the vision
– Assessment and reflection on the results
– Intention to alter the strategy and improve based on the assessment.
Your members aren’t expecting perfection. But the more you demonstrate a compelling vision, backed up with great strategies and a willingness to assess, reflect and improve, the more people will be willing to give. Over time, the results will improve and it will have a snowball effect.
So, let me leave you with this question: “What are the results from your Church programs and activities, is it same old, same old, or is it wow, this Church is really moving in the right direction?” How can you encourage people to participate in the vision? How can they feel they add value through suggestions/ideas?
Regular Information – it is important that people are kept up to date with what is happening with the funds they have entrusted into your care. This is less about facts and figures, and more about the stories of changed lives. Yes, the money side needs to be discussed, documented and presented, but ultimately people need to be kept up to date with the impact. They want to see that the Church is willing to adjust its strategy based on how things are tracking.
Which leaves me with one last question: “Do your members really know what is going on? Can they connect the dots between the vision, the strategies, the execution and the results?” What do you need to do to make sure everyone is up to date and on board.
Call to Action
Review how you communicate with your members. Build a communication strategy to ensure you are providing up-to-date information on the Church’s stewardship and the results being achieved. If you don’t have it already, put into effect policies and procedures that ensure the Church is not only doing the right thing, but also being seen as doing the right thing.