It’s e-book launch month again! And after the feedback I received from my last e-book, I can hardly wait to get this one in your hands. As I promised in my last blog post, this is another very practical resource to help your church accelerate generosity – this time with a focus on intentional communication.
While my co-author and designer Kaycee and I are finalizing the very last details, I wanted to provide you, my faithful blog readers, a sample of what this resource holds for you and your church.
So let’s take a look today at chapter 4 – specifically the section on worship bulletins. (I told you it was super practical!)
FROM GENEROSITY SPEAKS:
Part of the purpose of your bulletin, whether you are intentional about it or not, is that it informs and educates those who have just come through your doors, especially the very first time.
What you say (or don’t say) impacts what your people give (or don’t give). There’s a direct correlation between the two. And, if done well, you can increase the generosity of your church by implementing a basic (but strategic) communication plan.
That’s the premise of our new e-book called “Generosity Speaks: Designing Communication to Impact Giving” launching here in just a few short weeks.
I’ve teamed up with Kaycee Parker, founder of KP Communications, to write this one. I know you’ll appreciate her insight from 15 years of experience in the communication world – namely the last few as communication director for a mega church in the St. Louis area and now working freelance to support churches across the country.
So what’s in this new resource designed to help you accelerate generosity with solid and intentional communication? Here’s a quick list of wins for you and your church:
Last week’s post – “An Annual Giving Statement That Will Impress and Delight Your Givers”
– stressed the importance of leveraging your church annual giving statement mailing. A couple of dedicated readers and executive pastors sent questions to me after reading the article, expressing some frustration with the cost of following the eBook’s recommendations. They are larger churches. One even outsources their mailings to a professional fulfillment house. The expense to prep and send the personalized mailings via the US Post Office would be considerable.
“Are there affordable options to mailing out giving statements?”, they asked. Absolutely! And here is the suggestion, which is applicable for most any church, regardless of size.
The recommendation would be to move from mailing hard copies, to emailing. There are several advantages to this approach:
It’s January. Another year has passed, and a new one has begun. And for many pastors and financial church leaders, that means it’s time to prepare the (often dreaded) annual giving statements. You find yourself trying to make the somewhat daunting process more efficient every year, don’t you? But what if you focused this year on making them more effective instead?
Are your annual statements effective? By that, I mean do they encourage the future generosity of the giver?
Many churches send an official, transactional-looking statement each January to those who have given the previous year. In fact, we’ve talked about this before. I get it – it meets the IRS requirement, right? (And you would be right.)
But consider this:
“Giving statements are not an exercise in efficiency… our end goal is effective and meaningful communication with the giver,” my Generis colleague Brad Leeper says in his new e-book.
You’ve heard me talk about “connecting the dots” for your church – helping your people see how their giving is making a difference in other people’s lives.
Because many people tend to think of giving only as a means to fund a budget, helping them connect the dots to ministry impact is critical! In fact, it encourages them to continue giving. It shows them the fruits of their efforts, that their generosity is hard at work making a difference.
I thought you would value seeing a video from one of my clients in the St. Louis area. They created this video as part of a series of videos they are showing as part of their one-year anniversary for their One Fund initiative. Wisely, they are intentionally playing the clip just prior to the offering time during the service. While it’s a bit longer than I would typically recommend, what a great way to connect the dots between giving and progress, between generosity and making a difference!
Looking for an in-depth look at how you can design communication to impact giving? Check out my e-book called Generosity Speaks!
It happens every weekend. Well, I’m guessing you at least pray for it to happen every weekend. A family who has never been to your church walks in the front door. You identify them by the “I’m-not-sure-where-to-go” confusion on their faces. Your friendly greeter welcome them. You introduce yourself and thank them for coming. You offer them directions to the children’s ministry for the kiddos. You encourage them to get free coffee in the guest area.
We’ve become very good at this part. It’s almost natural, isn’t it? Offering a bit of warmth and hospitality just feels good!
Did you ever get one of those tee shirts from your parents after their amazing vacation trip to Hawaii? Well, I had that same kind of feeling after opening my mail early this year.
It was the feeling of “I gave to your ministry and all I got was this lousy statement.”
Yes, the IRS requires churches and other nonprofit organizations to provide a statement of giving to its donors each year.
But your giving statement doesn’t have to look like it came from the pages of a legal handbook. Quite the contrary, this is yet another opportunity to connect giving to ministry impact!
In my last post I wrote about why you should consider a video blog. Now let’s consider some best practices to get your new blog started on the right foot.
Use a Sidebar - I was watching some highlights of the Sochi Winter Olympics on ESPN’s Sports Center last night. There is something I love about their show.
It’s on the side of the screen – the sidebar showing the list of topics they are discussing next. As I watch, I realize that’s what, at least partially, keeps me interested and tuned in.
It’s knowing what is coming up next. So I keep watching. (OK – I’ll admit it – it also lets me know when I have a moment to run to the kitchen for a quick snack!)
Sometimes some pastors do some things better than other pastors. In this particular case, lead pastor of Morning Star Church, Mike Schreiner hits a home run with his weekly video blog.
To bolster this idea, a recent ChurchMag post also explains clearly why communicating via video is successful. So I don’t doubt the success Pastor Mike has with his video blog.
Every Thursday, each member who signed up for the video blog subscription gets an e-mail notification of the video that plays straight from the church website.
Now that you have all the numbers crunched, the photos gathered, and the stories compiled, you can make a big fat check mark on your to-do list and take a nice deep breath… your annual report is finished!
Or is it?
What you have in your hands is a compilation of some of the greatest successes of your ministry over the last twelve months.
That’s far too important to set on top of that pile of papers on your desk you’ve been meaning to get to for the last year and a half.