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Church Finance Church Thoughts Growing Your Giving Base

Reasons to Thank First Time Givers

Let’s just face it; talking about giving is often the elephant in the room for churches. Yet, we all know what the Bible says about giving. It needs to be encouraged as an act of worship and given that importance and priority in our church.

But really, what are some practical ways we can encourage giving? One way to instill confidence in your givers is to send a thank you note to first time givers.

Everybody likes to be acknowledged

Sometimes it’s just nice to say thank you. I’ve never heard anyone that was upset because someone thanked them, even if it was for something they were supposed to be doing anyway.

It shows you are truly thankful and will be a good steward

One key difference between ministry and business is that you have little to no control over your income. A ministry in most cases is completely dependent on the financial gifts of donors and supporters.

For that matter, it is vital to let those who are donating know that you are truly thankful for their gift and you understand your dependency on their faithfulness and generosity.

It builds trust in your system

It shows givers that a system is in place to track every dollar that is given. Most people will assume something is in place, but go the extra step and show them the accounting process you have in place.

It’s a chance to share your vision

Vision usually costs money. People will give to things they believe in and usually give more in amount and frequency when they can see their money is going to a goal. Communicate your vision for your ministry and the God sized plans you have.

Use every chance to remind people of the vision and stay consistent with it.

Here’s a bonus idea, my friend Lance Johnson (@pastorlancej) at Skyline Church (www.skylinecc.com) also includes a book from Andy Stanley called Fields of Gold which talks about being a generous giver. It’s a nice touch to say thanks, but also reinforce the message about faithful giving.

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Church Management church technology Growing Your Giving Base

Top Reasons to Accept Online Giving

LifeWay research revealed earlier this year that only 14% of U.S. Protestant churches offer online giving. That means that although 78% of churches have a Website, an even higher number–86%–of churches offer no method for online giving. It’s most commonly offered in larger churches, and usually has only been in place for one to two years.

While there are equally valid points on either side of the argument, it’s quickly becoming the norm rather than the exception for churches to offer online donations and electronic forms of payment.

Here are a few reasons to offer online giving in your church.

1. Make Giving Easy –

Let’s face it. Very few people are writing checks anymore. In fact, I’d contend that most people only write checks when paying their tithe at church. We are steadily heading towards a time where people don’t carry cash and using a debit card is just easier.

2. People Spend Money Online, Why not Give Online?

The boom of ecommerce sites in the late 90s wasn’t a fad. In fact, it was a glimpse of what the future had to hold for us. The days of a brick and morter store surviving on their inventory alone are gone. With the rise of online shopping, the consumer is now in charge. We are able to shop an available inventory of potentially thousands of products.

People are already spending money online, and comfortable with it. Make it easy for them to give to your ministry online.

3. Stay ahead of “slump” times of giving –

It’s a given that churches will go through seasons where giving slows down. This generally is around secular holidays and summer. People are on vacation, out of town or just get busy. Also, there are times throughout the year when weather makes it impossible to get to church. Chances are, there are only a few faithful givers that will make up the gifts they missed because they were unable to attend. Offering online giving options makes that simple.

4. It’s Easy to have the giving conversation –

We all know that money sermons are often ones that make us uncomfortable. Most pastors will avoid them, and even when they do approach the topic, they tread lightly. Online giving options make those talks non-confrontational. Write an article about the reasons to give, engage people online, send an email reminder or newsletter. Oh by the way, remember to include the link to your online giving link in that conversation. It’ll be a good ice-breaker.

5. Stamps are expensive –

Who knows how long the USPS will stay in business. With the cost of stamps going up, people are looking for alternatives to send documents and such. Can your out of town members, visitors, family members easily give to your ministry? Don’t you think they’d rather hop online and make an electronic gift instead of using a stamp?

6. It’s easier on your financial team –

Volunteers are great. Having a team available to count donations from your service is great. However, anytime people are involved, mistakes can be made. Counting cash, recording checks, counting envelopes, there are any number of ways that someone could make an error. Not to mention the threat of stealing.

7. It’s a hedge against embezzlement –

I know, I know, your church is immune. No one would steal from you, you have complete trust in your team. That’s the same thing most people said before they were the next victim in a long list. A transaction directly from the givers account into the churches account is the safest transaction that can happen to receive money. Now, use a good system to manage that money to keep it safe under your control.

8. You’re limiting the amount people will give –

This one is a small stretch, but studies have found that people will tend to give more when doing so electronically. Offering the ability to give online adds another option for giving and may increase the amount you will receive.

If you’d like to know more about how your church can get started offering online giving, we have tools to get you setup. It’s really simple and easy. Contact Us Here to find out more.

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Accounting Church Money Saving Ideas Growing Your Giving Base

Only 6 Sundays Left…

Only 6 Sundays Left…

Before the end of 2011. Pastor, now is the time to begin to remind member’s that their donations must be received by December 31st to be counted in this giving year. December 31st this year is a Saturday.

What are you doing to encourage year end giving?

Let me suggest five ideas:

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Church Management Growing Your Giving Base Leadership Priorities

1% Increase to Cooperative Program

While not all of our clients are Southern Baptist, we do have quite a few that are. Read the post below by Nate Adams, the Executive Director for the Illinois Baptist State Association. It’s amazing that a 1% increase in your church’s giving to the cooperative program would have a $100 mil. impact.

You can see Nate’s post Here or read below:

Categories
Church Management Growing Your Giving Base Leadership Priorities

5 Ways to Break Through Barriers to Church Growth

By Pat Pajak, associate executive director, IBSA Church Strengthening Team

Has your church growth leveled off or even started declining? Every church faces growth barriers at various times in its lifecycle. Most churches face growth barriers when attendance reaches 65, 125, 250, 500, and 1,000. By learning to identify and break through these barriers, you can keep your momentum and continue growing for God’s glory. What is keeping your church from growing? Healthy organisms grow. If you feel stagnation setting in, barriers are inhibiting your growth. Implement a plan to remove them.

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Assimilation Growing Your Giving Base Outreach Visitors

Nothing Better Than a Personal Invitation

I spent sometime this morning listening to the Rick & Bubba Show on my way into town. They brought up something that I wasn’t aware of going on this Sunday. Sunday, September 18, 2011 is National Back to Church Sunday. Some interesting facts were shared.

“Only two percent of church members invite an un-churched person to church. Ninety-eight percent of churchgoers never extend an invitation in a given year.” –LifeWay Research

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Church Funding Friday Church Management Growing Your Giving Base

Church Funding Friday

I’m going to start a new series focusing each Friday on an idea to implement that will help increase giving and revenue for your church.

Disclaimer: God trumps all. Nothing will substitute a congregation of people that acknowledge that everything is God’s and we are just stewards. Pastor, be true to the word and preach giving without apology. Ok, that being said, let’s work on some ideas to help people realize God’s call to give.

 

[quote]People will give where they see results.[/quote]

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Accounting Church Management Growing Your Giving Base

Budget on Faith, Spend on Reason

For many churches, we are coming into the season when it is time to start planning for the upcoming year. That planning includes setting a budget on how to allocate the resources God has provided the church.

There are no churches that should be operating without a budget. Even churches that think they are too small or don’t have enough income should still have a budget. Actually, some of the smallest churches should budget more as money is scarce, and it’ll provide key analysis for requesting assistance should that be necessary.

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Church Management Church Money Saving Ideas church technology Growing Your Giving Base

11 Reasons to not Offer Online Giving

11 Reasons to NOT Offer Online Giving

Originally posted by Rusty Lewis at ToddRhodes.com on March 2, 2011

I am often asked to support my recommendations that ministries offer technological solutions to giving. Let’s look at the flipside of the question – what happens when we don’t make it easy for our constituents to contribute financial support?

As we begin the new year in 2011, here are 11 reasons to not offer online giving:

1. You want to frustrate those who no longer use checks or carry cash. Many today, especially those under age 30, do not carry or use checks. Nor do they carry much cash. Their financial lives revolve around the use of debit and credit cards. So when offering time comes, they are frustrated, even embarrassed that they are unprepared to participate.

2. You do not want to link stories of life change to generosity. After watching a video you’ve uploaded that tells the story of a new life in Christ that occurred as a result of your church’s ministry, why not provide a link to your online giving page? Help your donors connect the dots between their generosity and the impact it is having through your ministry.

3. You would prefer people give to other non-profits who DO offer online giving. Just a reminder – there are over 1.2 million charities in the United States alone. If one is led to give and doesn’t find an easy, convenient way to give to your mission, they will find another one that does and make their gift there.

4. You do not want to tempt your donors to use credit cards. That’s great! You don’t have to. Several online giving providers offer the option of accepting debit cards without taking credit cards.

5. You do not want to pay transaction fees – while there is a small percentage fee (less than 3%) for contributions made from debit and credit cards, those fees are more than covered by the new money you will receive from donors who begin to give to your ministry now that this option is made available to them. Many invite online donors to add 2-3% to their gift to cover the transaction fees.

Know too that electronic funds transfers (EFT) and similar options a donor can select have a small $.25 – $.50 fee, but no percentage fees that credit cards charge.

You will save money in at least a couple of ways, including administrative time saved not having to manually enter gift data or processing checks each week along with occasional insufficient funds charges.

6. You want people to view giving as if they are paying bills. People can use online bill pay through their bank so we don’t need to offer online giving. Yes, they can. I pay most of my bills that way each month. But do we really want our people to view giving to God as if they are paying a bill? That truly is not the heart position from which we want our people giving.

7. You do not want to receive impulse gifts – often a donor will be led to make a gift on the spur of the moment – perhaps due to a story they’ve read on your website, or a sermon they just heard online. Maybe they just finished their morning devotional and are moved to be generous. With a link on your site to make an online gift, they can do so quickly and easily. Without an online giving option, the urge passes and the gift is lost.

8. You do not want gifts from Unique visitors to your site – the webmaster at our church tells me that our website had 12,000 UNIQUE visitors to our site in the first six months of this year. That is an incredible number. Many are accessing our pastor’s sermons weekly. An online giving portal would provide a way for those visitors, people who may never cast a shadow on our physical campus to offer generous support for the ministries of our church.

9. You do not want to receive larger gift amounts – Dave Ramsey’s organization reports that users of debit/credit cards at McDonald’s spent 47% more than those using cash. Statistics exist that people typically spend between 18 – 30% more when using a debit/credit card over cash or check. Would not the same trend hold true when giving with a debit card? Consider the Salvation Army – when they began testing electronic payment machines at their kettles in 2008, average donations jumped from $2 to $15. Big surprise…they are rolling out those payment machines in more locations this year.

10. You are not interested in receiving year-end gifts – According to Network for Good, 22% of all online giving occurs during the last two days of December! This seems to indicate that tax implications may be a bigger motivation than some believe. In Australia, where the tax year ends on June 30, there is a similar bump in online giving the last few days of June. So if a donor desires to make that last-minute tax-implication gift online and doesn’t find an option on your webpage, she will find another place to make that gift.

11. You do not need offerings on weekends when you have to cancel services. We had snow last weekend – did you? The list of cancelled worship services scrolling on the TV screen was really long. With online giving, you can offer a reminder and a link to your people reminding them to remain faithful with their giving even when they physically are unable to get to your campus.

Rusty Lewis, CFRE

Senior Generosity Strategist, Generis

www.rustylewis.net

Twitter: rustylewis

Rusty Lewis joined the Generis team in 2001, following a fourteen-year career raising money for schools and non-profit youth groups. With experience in education and as vice-president of a $22 million corporation, Rusty’s breadth of experience fuels his calling to serve churches and faith-based non-profits.

See Original Post Here

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Church Management Growing Your Giving Base Leadership

Aware of But Not Focused on Church Numbers

A growing trend among evangelical pastors is to focus on their attendance numbers.  Many have even joked about pastoral counting, which basically means that pastors inflate numbers to make their ministry look larger.  We all know that our society has become enthralled with the notion that bigger is better.  Unfortunately, in ministry we have also at times fallen victim to this mindset.

What can the numbers do for us though?  While counting people to boost your ministry ego is not the point, keeping an accurate count of crucial benchmarks can allow pastors and church leaders to effectively gauge their ministries’ effectiveness.

The opposite extreme is also just as dangerous.  Not keeping track of crucial metrics or ignoring poor counts can cause just as many problems as over-exaggerating the numbers.  A pastor that says he is not concerned about numbers is either so in touch with the congregation that he understands the pulse, or he is ignoring the facts.  Having an accurate reading on key metrics will help a pastor get an idea of the effectiveness of his ministry and outreach.

Some key metrics to keep in mind:

1. Worship Attendance – this may be the most obvious of the things to count, but watching trends in attendance can help church leaders really get an accurate picture of the congregation.  These numbers can be tallied and evaluated against local events, holidays, vacation seasons, etc. to get a real picture of whether the ministry is growing bigger or smaller.

2. Sunday School/ Small Group Attendance – having effective small groups is the best way to grow disciples.  Churches with growing Small Group Ministries will quickly find themselves a healthier church growing and duplicating themselves.

3. Giving per Person – This number can be found by taking the total weekly giving amount and dividing by the giving units.  This number is not an exact figure but rather an approximation but provides an idea for financial forecasting as well as whether the church has healthy givers.

Each of these metrics are just a small part of accurately measuring ministry effectiveness.  For more information on how to accurately measure your church’s health, shoot us an email and we’ll help you out.

What numbers are you using to get an accurate picture of your church?