Whichever end of the spectrum your church falls on — big, small, urban, rural, tech-savvy or still improving — I’m sure there are things about your church’s online presence that sometimes make you cringe. With that in mind, I’d like to talk about the five most “cringe-worthy” mistakes I see churches make with their digital giving strategies. My intention here is not to “throw stones,” but rather to shine a light on some of the low-hanging fruit in the oft-confusing and ever-changing world of digital giving.
On May 18, 2014, Powhatan Community Church (Powhattan, VA) enjoyed its largest single giving day in the church’s 13-year history. And, founder and Senior Pastor Brian C. Hughes reported that the church was on budget to make the most aggressive budget increase in 10 years. All this exceeded the giving increase for which Hughes and his staff’s planned and prayed.
In this series installment, Paul Gage — who has consulted more than 500 church capital campaigns, with results exceeding $1 billion — focuses on the second phase of a campaign: Organization. According to Gage, the three most critical components of this phase are Prayer, Presentation and Preaching.
Anyone with resources — whether believers or not — will only give generously to what they understand and value. If your givers can’t articulate the result, or if they don’t fully support the outcome that their gift is meant to achieve, they won’t give much. Typically, they won’t give consistently, and they certainly won’t give lavishly or at great sacrifice.
Clearly communicating vision provides both the roadmap and the destination for the generous heart.
I recently conducted a small Facebook test. Survey participants were asked to answer three questions about giving. Here’s what I found:
• 96% of people consider themselves to be generous
• 80% of those same people want to be more generous than they currently are
• 92% feel held back by a lack of money
These findings represent a strange tension between who we are, who we want to be, and our perceived lack that stands in the way.
We are a check-less, cashless society. Yet, in 2011, Lifeway Research discovered that only 14 percent of churches offered online giving. Recent studies are showing that that number is increasing. Hopefully, yours is one of those churches that has implemented online giving.
With more than one-third of all charitable giving happening at the end of the year, this is an important time for churches and ministries to double-check their stewardship practices.
How one church increased its online giving from 6% to 14%
This summer — at the National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) annual conference — Church Executive hosted a live roundtable on two top-of-mind topics for church leaders: lending and finance.
Our first of three articles in this series — in the September / October 2014 issue of Church Executive — explains how heart transformation sets the tone for church growth. In this issue, we take a closer look at the role of generosity in church growth, viewed in the context of “Big Picture” thinking. To put this into perspective, we must first examine what motivates people to be generous.