Connecting the Dots Between Ministry and Generosity

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.

ministry and generosity

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!

I Gave to Your Ministry and All I Got was This Lousy Statement

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.

giving tee shirt

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!

Knowing Your Audience

Communication experts tell us that it’s critical to understand our audience. Whether we’re giving our teenage daughter a lesson in changing a tire, persuading a friend to support a particular cause or campaign, or selling a product or service to a client, it’s helpful to understand our audience’s frame of reference: educational background, interest in the subject, relevant technical knowledge, economic circumstances, and so on.

sharing ministry stories

As we think about helping our church families expand their generosity, we ought to take seriously that same principle of knowing our audience. After all, how are we to help people move if we don’t know where they’re starting?

Stories – Part Three – Finding Stories of Ministry Impact

In this series, I’ve been writing about accelerating generosity through storytelling. I’ve explored the “why” in Part One and the “what” in Part Two, so now we’re ready to dive in to the “how.” In a later post I’ll tackle how to share stories, but first we have to find them.

Church Leadership Skills

When we’re first developing a culture of storytelling, we can’t simply cross our fingers and hope for spontaneous e-mails with subject lines like, “My life is completely different now that I trust God with my finances” or even “Your women’s retreat saved my marriage.”

(That would be great though, wouldn’t it?)

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.

7 Reasons You Should Produce an Annual Report

Hopefully 2012 is off to an outstanding start for you and your ministry. And as exciting as it is to look ahead to 2012, it is vital that you review with your people the ministry successes of 2011.

church annual report

January and February are the months companies are required to release to their investors annual reports on the previous year. You will note that many non-profits and churches have learned the value and are doing the same.

But rather than the staid format of spreadsheets and statistics, it is imperative to tell the success story of your ministry through compelling images, stories and graphics.

An Annual Mailing for Churches

The purpose of this letter is to encourage and thank the members of the congregation. It should be sent to everyone in your church family – not just those who have given financially during the year.

annual church mailing

A letter of encouragement sent no later than the first week of December can only have a positive effect on year-end giving. In doing so, this gives people time to plan for a gift and/or to catch up on a capital commitment. 

I strongly encourage that you enclose a copy of their 11-month contribution statements with this mailing.

Navigating Capital Projects in a Tough Economy

Our first “On the Table” luncheon was a hit!

Fifty Kansas City area ministry leaders assembled at the Hereford House for a great time of food and fellowship, with the opportunity to hear Senior Pastor Derrick Lynch of Blue Valley Baptist Church tackle the topic that was “on the table” - Navigating Capital Projects & Funding Ministry in Hard Times.

Here is a summary of Pastor Derrick’s comments:

Can you afford the project on the drawing board?

Ministry Expansion Project Trends

During the last ten years, three trends have been emerging for ministry expansion projects. (You may know these as “capital campaigns,” but even that language is changing for me.)

The first emerging trend is the replacement of the traditional-programmed format with personalized strategies. This takes more initial time, yet is more effective because it incorporates the congregation’s mission, culture and values into the project.