It’s Valentine’s Week, and that means a couple of things. First off, it means it’s cold–at least where I am. It means your social media feeds are likely cluttered with declarations of love, and/or diatribes about how V-Day is entirely arbitrary and unnecessary. And it means every blog post or “how to” article posted this week is required (by federal law) to include motifs of “love,” “affection,” and “romance.”
Furthermore, since I’m the one doing the writing, you know we’ve got to talk about giving, generosity, and stewardship as well.
And so, to satisfy all of these competing requirements, I want to talk today about three ways your church can love your givers well.
Much to our detriment, caring for givers is another area in which churches often lag far behind traditional nonprofits. Too often, churches fall into the habit of expecting people to give. (After all, the bible tells them to!) When this attitude prevails, giving is assumed and isn’t always celebrated in the way that it should be.
And yes, while generosity is certainly a biblical mandate, it is also a spiritual discipline. That being the case, there are specific things your church can be doing to encourage healthy habits of giving within your congregation.
Chocolates and flowers would surely be appreciated, but the four responses below might go even further!
1) Thank Them
It’s one of the first things we teach our children how to say. It’s a social requirement after a graduation, wedding, birthday party, or baby shower. And yet – all too often – a simple “thank you” seems conspicuously absent from church financial communications. But it shouldn’t be!
Think about it. Someone has just voluntarily handed over a portion of their hard-earned income to support the ministry of your church. If that isn’t cause for a timely, enthusiastic, and preferably hand-written thank you note, I don’t know what is! Not only is this is a great way to make your givers feel loved, studies have shown that first-time givers who receive a personal thank you note within two days of giving are four times more likely to give again.
2) Update Them
When speaking about “the ministry of your church,” be proactive about providing financial updates to your congregation. Don’t wait until the end of the year. These updates should happen at least on a quarterly basis, and they should focus on ministry opportunities and lives impacted. Dry recitations of budget items aren’t half as effective as a simple story. (Tell people about the names behind the numbers.)
It’s a simple fact that churches who regularly communicate with their congregations about budgets and ministry expenses see a greater response rate than those who do not. It’s also a simple fact that your congregation is hungry for this information. Time and time again, surveys of charitable givers list “transparency” and “knowing where my money goes” as key factors in determining where individuals give. Give your members a peak “behind the scenes” this year and see what a difference it makes.
3) Involve Them
While your givers love to know where the church has been, they’ll love it even more when they are asked to provide input into where the church is going. This is what transforms your givers from simple financiers of your operations to true ministry partners. They’re not just writing checks, they’re an integral part of a movement that is making an impact for the Kingdom in your neighborhood, and around the world.
You may not be able to solicit feedback from every single person who has given to your church this year, but you can (and should) make an effort to spend intentional time with your top givers. These people have contributed significantly to the financial health of your church, and they have earned the right to share their perspective on where the church is headed. From future ministry opportunities, to important organizational changes, it’s always nice to have a fresh perspective. And they’ll love the fact that they were asked.
And, speaking of “love,” does your church have a digital giving platform that is LOVED by your givers and your finance team alike? If not, you should. Checkout Mogiv today and learn more about the system that is already transforming the way 100's of churches across the country “do giving.”
Those are a great place to start. Any “acts of love” I’ve missed that you have seen work well at your church? Share the love in the comments section below.