It was 1996 when Bishop George Davis and his wife Pastor April Davis moved from snowy Detroit to sunny Jacksonville, Florida to plant Faith Christian Center. But eight years ago, Bishop Davis felt strongly that the church’s name should be more reflective of its mission to “go out” to change lives and communities. Since then, Impact Church has grown to over 6,000 members with satellite churches in the US, as well as India and Peru. Every day, the word “impact” reminds the church leadership of its mission.
The importance of words didn’t stop with a name change though. Words were chosen to emphasize core values of the church, words such as authentic, joyful, and generous.
Understanding the Goal
Twelve years ago, when Manch Kersee became Executive Director of Finance at Impact, the church was growing quickly, as were the needs in the Jacksonville community. He and other church leaders wrestled with how to build a generous church.
“We had ACST solutions from the beginning,” Manch recalls. For the congregation of mostly younger members, moving to online giving didn’t pose much of a problem. However, there were questions about how to incorporate the giving message into the church calendar and how to communicate the need for consistent giving through automation.
Building a Better Giving Campaign
Prayerful consideration—along with trial and error—helped Impact leadership understand how best to connect members with this core value. An early lesson was not to over-communicate about giving. “If there are too many contacts, members will simply unsubscribe from emails,” Manch warns. In time, the church landed on a just-right solution for encouraging consistent giving in their church culture. A twice-yearly giving campaign was introduced and cleverly named: Automate the Important. The first campaign kicks off in March, an ideal time to remind members to give over the summer months. The second comes in October, the beginning of the holiday season. A separate year-end “Legacy” giving opportunity is also offered for special projects.
The new campaigns both sparked generosity and increased automated (or recurring) giving. Today, 90% of Impact Church giving is online, and the number of recurring gifts continues to rise through Realm.
Delivering the Giving Message
According to Manch, the challenge of carrying the giving message across a noisy culture is accomplished using a “three-pronged approach.” Campaigns begin with a message delivered by leadership from the pulpit that can also be shared via video. Next, that message is “reinforced” on social media (or by text or email) so it reaches every member. Meanwhile, the giving message is included in all church communications and printed “tangibles” are created for distribution and display. Lastly, designated areas of the church lobby are manned to handle one-on-one questions and assist those interested in automating their monthly gifts.
Automating Gifts for Greater Impact
Is it possible to link generosity to recurring giving? It happened at Impact Church. And the benefits are felt across all ministry areas.
“It’s phenomenal to be able to manage cash flow when giving is online and particularly when it’s automated with Realm.” – Manch Kersee – Executive Director of Finance
As Manch explains, the Realm tools count and track giving, signaling fluctuations that need to be addressed quickly. Further, automated giving decreases variations in month-to-month giving numbers, making it possible to forecast even an annual budget with amazing accuracy.
To learn more about Impact Church click here
To learn more about Online Giving with Realm, click here