Stories – Part Six – Telling Your Story

Here is the final post in my six-part series about stories.

giving stories

What do you suppose is going through the minds of your church family when you mention money? Sure, there’s the standard, “Oh, great. Here we go again with the money sermon again.” But what else might be going on? Is it possible that some, if not many, are thinking one or more of the following?

Stories – Part Five – Sharing Stories

So let’s review. This series on telling stories started with four blog posts.

sharing ministry stories

As we near the end of this series, my guess is that you have one big question: How, exactly, do we share the stories we collect? Here are a few can’t-miss methods:

Assimilating People Into Ministry Accelerates Generosity

Every client I serve employs some form of internal church management system – Church Management Software, or ChMS. Some are dedicated to tracking financial information while others do that and much more. From simple systems (Excel spreadsheets – yikes! and/or Quickbooks) to complex models, there are many choices in the landscape from which to choose.

ministry accelerates generosity

One of the best I have seen is Church Community Builder (CCB), a web-based solution that offers a vital component that others don’t – the ability for not only staff, but ministry team leaders and volunteers to access the system at any time from any place. To better understand the system and it’s advantages, I recently sat down with my friend Steve Caton, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, to discuss what to look for in a ChMS solution.

Limiting Charitable Deductions Under Consideration

The joint committee on deficit reduction appears to be stalled, with the deadline this month for them to have proposed sweeping changes to avoid automatic cuts in government spending. As of this writing, it is still up in the air whether the committee will actually produce any recommendations.

charitable deductions

Regardless of the ineffectiveness of the committee, there is one important part of the tax code that was on the table for possible revision and you need to know about it. In exchange for the permanent reductions in the marginal tax rates set by congress, Republicans are now willing to consider the elimination of certain tax deductions. Among them is the tax deduction for charitable contributions.

Year-End Giving Plans At Church

Many of your givers plan on making that year-end gift on the very last Sunday of the year. What many haven’t thought of this year, however, is that they may not be in one of your worship services that weekend due to holiday travel or other reasons.

year-end church giving

I anticipate there will be several who drive to your church office during that last week of the year to give that last gift in time for the 2011 tax deduction. What should you be doing to prepare for this?

Vision Ownership Accelerates Generosity

The importance of people understanding your ministry vision and mission can never be understated. Prior to asking for any kind of support (prayer support, volunteer support, and financial support) you must help people grasp the enormity of your vision, and how the funding of that vision will make a difference in the lives of those you are trying to reach.

Find God's Favor

I was with a faith-based non-profit client this past weekend, leading a group of their high capacity givers (and potential givers) through a retreat experience designed to build ownership around the ministry’s mission. Many of those in attendance were already supporters of the ministry, but greater giving potential was still untapped.

A New Revenue Stream for 2011

Beginning January 1, 2011, working Americans are going to realize a 2% increase in their paychecks. As part of the extended Bush tax cut plan passed by congress in December, payroll taxes (also called FICA taxes) have been reduced from 7.65% to 5.65%.

church revenue stream

Payroll taxes go to fund Social Security (6.2% on income up to $106,800) and Medicare (1.45% with no income limit). For a person earning $106,800 in 2011, their tax savings will equal the maximum $2,136.

For those ministries who have been diligently encouraging their congregations to “step up” their giving, there is now a new source from which giving can occur. If your church is in a capital campaign season, your participants have a new pocket from which they can fulfill their financial commitments.

Eleven Reasons NOT to Offer Online Giving

For every church, non-profit, and other organization who is wondering if they should offer online giving- Here are 11 reasons NOT to offer online giving:

church 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.

Random Act of Culture

I just learned of a surprise “Random Act of Culture” that occurred on, Oct. 30 at Macy’s in Philadelphia.

church giving

A project of the Knight Foundation, they are offering 1,000 random acts of culture over the next 3 years around the United States.

The act at Macy’s involved the Opera Company of Philadelphia, secretly posing as shoppers when suddenly, accompanied by the world’s largest pipe organ, all 600 singers burst into the Hallelujah Chorus.