The Competition is Heating Up

Generosity // September 22, 2010

“People no longer give to the church simply because it is the church. The church must prove it is worthy of donations.” George Barna.

This quote from Barna and the following statistics should sound an alarm. More than ever, you and your church are competing for charitable contributions. And the church is losing.

Facts you need to know:

  • From 1985 – 2009, the total percentage of all charitable dollars that went to religious causes fell from 53% to 33%.
  • From 1995 – 2010, the number of non-profit organizations has almost doubled, from 654,000 to 1,238,201.
  • The majority of those non-profits have a dedicated person on staff who is focused on raising funds to support the organization’s mission. Some have entire departments!
  • Most are professionally trained; some even hold their CFRE certification.
  • They already understand the implications of the growth in the non-profit sector and what that means to their future funding.

My parents are both in their 70s and are consistent, disciplined, and generous givers to their church. They, like many in their generation, give to their church without question or hesitation. It is what they have always done. Not out of duty or obligation (alone at least), but out of love for their church and their Savior. They do not require an evaluation of a “return on investment” to keep giving there.

Younger generations however, view their charitable dollars differently. They don’t “automatically” give their money to the local church, but spread their giving around to several worthy organizations of their choosing.

They see their giving as an investment and want to know that the investment is wise, that it will be well managed. They want to know the good that will result from their investment, and, if not good enough, they will give elsewhere.

In this and future articles, we will look at ways you can effectively compete and WIN the battle for contributions. It is not simply a checklist of things you can work on for two weeks and move on. But instead, it will require a significant amount of time and energy.

For many of you, this may mean a complete rework of how you currently approach stewardship and generosity in your church.

It will be worth it. We can’t afford to lose this battle!

About Rusty Lewis

As a church leader, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the funding to do what God’s calling you to do. But when you think about trying to address that problem, you feel overwhelmed, you dread the potential pushback from your congregation, and you’re not sure where to turn for help. Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped more than 120 churches close the gap between their current financial reality and what they need to move forward in ministry.

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