This holiday season, there will be many opportunities for congregants to give of themselves; no doubt, you’ll be looking at several ways to encourage Christmas giving. Giving kicks off with the Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign at the entrance of many neighborhood supermarkets beginning Thanksgiving weekend. Hearing volunteers ring handbells and recognize their familiar signage is part of the holiday-giving culture that invites us to reach into our pockets for loose change and dig a little deeper for a more significant offering. You can bring that same momentum into your sanctuary with these 4 ways to encourage giving to your church this Christmas.
Focus on what is important to your church’s vision and how monetary gifts will fulfill it. Set goals and invite everyone to participate in one or more of your Christmas ideas for church offerings. Share heartwarming stories that help create a clear message for giving. Don’t stop there- give daily or at least weekly updates and communicate the continued efforts online via social media and your website. There’s a reason why telethons in the good old days would have a clock ticking until the time is up or another way to gauge how many pledges have been received to date. People are motivated in their participation by deadlines and success markers. Be transparent and work hard to name those tangibles that donors can underwrite with their generosity.
Establish your church as a reputable nonprofit organization. People are generally happy to give when they trust the organization makes a difference. You should be able to demonstrate solid financial discipline to your congregation, guests and vendors alike. Find ways to communicate the impact of giving on everything. From your daily budget to special projects and how those decisions are made. When technology is utilized fully, it provides incredible opportunities to make connections, inform, instruct, and communicate. Furthermore, by providing every available option (i.e.- giving app, donor-managed profiles, and recurring giving) for making and viewing personal donations, you are removing any potential barrier that stands in the way of giving, enabling them to better link arms with your church.
People give with their hearts, not their heads how to encourage church members to give includes communicating a powerful narrative about how the church is changing people’s lives through the generosity of others. Pew Research reports, “In contrast to other types of charitable contributions, which often involve some background research, or are directed towards organizations with which the donor has an existing relationship, mobile giving is often an ‘impulse purchase’ in response to a major event or call to action,” said Aaron Smith, senior research specialist at the Pew Internet Project and author of the report. “These donations come from people ready to give if they are moved by what they see and hear.” It’s important to inspire. It’s also no longer okay to expect people to give without telling them why, for what, and how.
For most people, generous giving stems from a personal, life-changing experience with the church. And, if the church is going to attract and retain younger members and donors, it has to learn to give them opportunities to give back through experiences. Many do not simply write a check but want to be involved in whatever they support. The church has to give younger generations a chance to be the hands of Christ in a literal way. Once that happens, people are more eager to invest in the work of the ministry. With acts of service and monetarily.
Numbers alone won’t ever tell the whole story. Knowing financial statistics and data will shed light upon the potential charity of total offerings and church Christmas giving, such as these from NPTrust:
- Americans gave $484.85 billion in 2021, a 4% increase from 2020.
- In 2021, the largest source of charitable giving came from individuals, who gave $326.87 billion, representing 67% of total giving.
- In 2021, the majority of charitable dollars went to religion (27%), education (14%), human services (13%), grantmaking foundations (13%), and public-society benefit (11%).
It takes time and diligence to nurture and cultivate generosity. Take heart, as the statistics above prove that people are giving! When your church is passionate about purpose, people will participate and – more importantly – stay committed to the journey. This giving season is a time to be thankful for God’s provision in our lives and to pour blessings on others. It’s an opportunity for the church to be the hands and feet of Christ inside and outside its walls.
STRATEGIES TO ENGAGE
YOUR DONORS NOW
While it can be difficult and costly to secure new givers, it’s actually far more challenging work to retain those donors over a long period of time.
Five Strategies to Engage Donors Now provides concrete and practical steps for managing your donor relationships in a way that keeps givers inspired, informed, and excited.
David joined ACS Technologies in September of 2021 as the Financial Planning and Analysis Director. He has over 15 years of experience in finance and equity research, financial planning, corporate development, and strategy to drive growth and efficiency. He previously worked for HighRadius, Bristow Group, Clarksons, and CGGVeritas. David enjoys time with his family and participates in various roles at his church.