Part 1 of a 4 part series
Givers in our congregations are asking certain internal questions. Either spoken or unspoken, which we need to answer as part of our church’s ongoing relationship with them. Do you know what they’re asking? Do you know how to answer?
In this blog series, we’ll give you a peek inside the mind of the donor to better understand what questions givers may have and want to know …and might not be asking you. Pastors, church leaders and staff who can anticipate – and effectively answer – donor questions will build stronger, healthier and growing giving relationships with donors.
As I’ve mentioned in prior blogs, our church’s top givers are often generous to other organizations and charities. Nonprofit causes can scarcely afford to take donors at any level for “granted.” Thus they often do a better job than the church of (1) valuing donors, (2) anticipating and answering their questions, and (3) demonstrating the impact of their giving.
Where those charities struggle – and where the church has all the advantage – is building connection. And building community and deep meaning among their donor bases. Our tithers and givers have a spiritual commitment and faith-based calling to our church that undergirds their passion and their generosity. So understanding the God-filled community, trust and relationships we already enjoy with these givers, let’s step into the donor’s mind to be sure we can keep them engaged and excited by answering What Your Givers Want to Know.
#1. Givers are asking questions about your mission, goals and objectives.
Because each congregation and church campus is unique, the mission, partnerships and goals are also specific to that church. It’s important that your leadership and your frontline staff can articulate those missional aspects. And distinctions that make your church different. Donors are looking for ways your goals and mission intersect with their faith and passion. What impact are you really making? What sets your ministries apart or makes them different from others?
Remember that givers – and especially long-time members – will rarely ask you these questions. So you as a pastor or leader need to look for ways to answer those questions in a variety of ways. The end result? You’re arming your congregants with the very reasons others might seek out your church so they can be more effective ambassadors. All the while you’re stoking the fires of their continued passion for your mission.
#2. Givers are asking questions about your accomplishments as a ministry.
Again, don’t assume even long-time members remember the success stories of your church and your prior track record. Seek ways to share those stories and how your church has come together missionally in the past. Celebrate and remember those accomplishments.
Major donors especially are wary of organizations – and yes, churches! – who have “mission-drift” and whose goals and priorities seem to shift often. Not staying on your intended mission for a period of time doesn’t inspire donors to give long-term or major gifts.
We often see this when there’s a revolving door of leadership. Or in pastors/leaders with a strong entrepreneurial bent, who seize on new projects or passions as they strike a chord. This doesn’t mean the church can’t evolve and re-tool its goals. But each new warp of the church’s mission may mean a re-building of the donor base. No one wants to be paying on a pledge for the once-needed, hot project that isn’t the center of attention anymore.
Sharing and maintaining a strong record of on-mission accomplishments can help assure givers of your long-term congregational health.
In the next blogs of the What Your Givers Want to Know series, we’ll explore the next questions donors are asking. Including those sticky ones about money and accountability.
Get more information on online giving solutions from ACS Technologies.
Loyal church donors are usually generous to other organizations and charities, too. Those nonprofit causes often do a better job than the church of (1) valuing donors, (2) anticipating and answering their questions, and (3) demonstrating the impact of their giving.
The tools in What Your Givers Want to Know (…and likely won’t ask will help you and your staff anticipate – and effectively answer – the questions donors have but aren’t likely to ask you. Explore the six things your givers MOST want to know today.
Tim Smith has over 30 years of experience in Church, Non-Profit Administration, Management, and Fund Development. Serving as an Executive Pastor and Chief Development Officer in growing Churches and Non-Profit Organizations has provided a wide range of expertise and resources. Tim serves as Founder and CEO for Non-Profit DNA, a boutique firm committed to helping nonprofits and churches build their capacity through fundraising, leadership, team building, staff recruiting, and coaching.