Increase giving without becoming a pitch-person and turning off members.
Money can be a touchy subject, especially when we start talking about how churches can increase donations. There is always a fear of making the turn and feeling like the stereotype of the church that “always” is begging for money.
In The Presbyterian Church USA, our offerings provide many opportunities to be in ministry together. When we combine our gifts to The Christmas Joy Offering, One Great Hour of Sharing, Pentecost Offering and Peace & Global Witness Offering , we make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Not only do people want to give to your church; God also calls them to do so. That means any reasonable effort to help them give is the role of any faithful congregation. Here are five ways to increase giving.
1. Bring your giving into the 2000s.
A massive shift in how we make financial transactions has occurred over the past several years. According to one study, about 70 percent of transactions happen electronically.
Adding electronic payment to your church service does not require you to add a credit-card kiosk to your offering plate. With the advent of smart phones, texting payments and other solutions, all people need to give electronically is a cell phone. Many services are available to help your church walk down this new road. Some even offer a rebate of all fees if giving does not increase 5 percent in the first year. Imagine what a difference that would make for Presbyterian Mission and Ministry!
2. Make recurring contributions easy.
Most people prefer to automate the important things in life. They use various systems to make sure their mortgage payment is paid automatically and their water bill is deducted on the due date. Many people even use their bank’s system to make these payments.
That means that, at the very least, you should have an “automated contributions” page on your website with instructions on how people should designate their contributions using their bank’s automated-payment settings.
If you want to take it to the next level, sign up for a system that will allow members to schedule contributions – regular weekly offerings, Special Sunday contributions and more – using their debit card without ever having to leave your website. This feature is often an option with the type of companies we mentioned in No. 1.
3. Offer a Christian financial counseling ministry.
The reality is that many people’s finances are so tight that they cannot see a way to give to the church. Although the goal of ministries like these is not to increase giving, they do help people find financial stability and freedom so that they can discover the joy of giving to the cause of Christ. What an opportunity for members to take giving to the next level – to support, not only the Presbyterian World Missions but also local mission opportunities.
4. Help businesses give.
When churches look only to their members and attendees as those who are interested in supporting the mission and ministry of their congregation, they miss a whole category of contributions. Often, local businesses are eager to collaborate financially in what the church is doing. Here are a few possibilities.
A. Sunday lunch – Many restaurants will share a portion of customers’ bills as a fundraiser for an organization. Consider having a first-Sunday lunch location where members can give back by enjoying lunch after church. This would be very effective as a six-times-a-year event – following worship on each of the six churchwide Special Sundays and increasing the special offering!
B. Event sponsors – Many local businesses love to work in partnership on events like fall festivals and Easter-egg hunts. Next time, offer local businesses the opportunity to sponsor a specific game or area. Perhaps connect a ministry of The Advance to a particular type of business. A plumbing company, for instance, could help your church raise money for an Advance water-development project. The possibilities are endless!
You do not have to turn your church service into a religious infomercial. With simple updates and soul-focused ministry, you can help enable your parishioners to do what they already want to do: give generously to God’s work.
Adapted from a MyCom article by the Rev. Jeremy Steele, Next Generation minister, Christ United Methodist Church, Mobile, Ala.