Tag Archives: Non-profits


How You Ask Matters

Chris over at Movie Mondays interviewed donors, asking the simple question, “How do you like to be asked for a gift?”.  In this video, you will see three separate donors answer that question and explain what they like to be asked and what they don’t.  Is there application from this to the church world?

I think so:

  1. Relationships matter.
  2. Clarity of the vision matters.

Ask, Thank, Report

Do you make things too complicated sometimes? I know I do. I also know that after 15 years of working with churches in the generosity arena, churches make things too complicated as well.

I think we all agree that simplifying often times brings clarity.

In this video, Jim Shapiro simplifies and brings clarity to how you should approach your givers on a regular basis.

“Churches; is your vision too big for people to give to?” Huh?

A long time pastor friend sent me an audio clip from NPR on what causes the brain to compel someone to give or not to give to a certain cause.

I found the 4 minute clip absolutely fascinating.  I think you will too.

I ask the question: Is your vision too big for people to give to?  I never thought I would ask that question.

Why Your Brain Wants To Help One Child In Need — But Not Millions

Pastors: Turn Stats into Stories

Do you believe stats have a story to tell in your church?  One of my best friends is an accountant and he certainly knows how to make numbers come alive and help connect numbers to real life situations.

Why don’t our churches do the same thing?  Isn’t your church impacting your people, community and world?  The proof of this is often in the numbers.  If you want your people to invest more of their dollars in the ministry of your church; connect the dots between giving and life change.

Learn how to turn stats into stories.  This short video will change how you communicate the numbers to your people.

This video is provided by Christopher Davenport at Movie Mondays.  If you like this video you should subscribe.



5 steps to increase end of year giving

It is that time of year in the non-profit world where everyone is talking about end of year giving.

If you are a church leader then you should too.  It is not uncommon for churches to receive in excess of 25% of their total annual giving in December.  With that in mind does your church have an end of year giving plan?  Here are some basic steps to increase giving for the people who would like to give to your church.

  1. Make your people aware of the accomplishments in mission and ministry for 2013 and celebrate them.  You can do this in worship, video, website, email, letter, Facebook or better yet; all of them.
  2. Send an end of year giving letter to thank the people for their giving thus far in 2013 and to encourage them to consider an end of year gift.  Be sure to include the schedule for the church office during the final days of December.
  3. Email the same letter you mail or consider a video version of the same content included in the letter.  This could be a 2-3 minute video from the pastor.
  4. Make sure your people are aware of the electronic giving options your church has.
  5. Include end of year giving language in the Sunday worship bulletin/guide and in the worship announcements on December 15, 22, and 29.  If you don’t remind them they will forget.

This may seem like a lot to do but the ROI could be substantial.

If you would like a guide for an end of year letter please comment below and/or email me and I will provide it for you and make myself available for questions.  alan@generis.com

End of year giving strategy

The end of the year brings about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.  It also brings about end of year taxes for many people who are looking for charitable donations to improve their taxable income situation.  December is the largest giving month for most churches.  People wait until the end of the year to either give to the church the entire amount they planned to give or a large portion of it.  People’s incomes vary greatly and so does the timing of how they receive it.  End of year giving is crucial to all non profits and the church is not an exception.

However, non profits other than the church are much better at communicating to their potential donors the vision of their organization and how the donor can help the vision become a reality.  They do this better during the entire calendar year, but especially at the end of the year.  People ask me all the time “Why do other non profits receive such large gifts to their organization?”  The answer is simple; they ask for it.  They ask for it and they make it easy for the donor to give to their organization.

What is your church’s end of year giving strategy?  When is the last time your church leaders communicated the vision of the church to the people?  Do your people know the vision of the church and how the dollars they give can help that vision be accomplished?  Does your congregation know where the financial situation of the church stands going into November and December?  Have you sent our third quarter statements?  How easy is it for your people to give to the church to help fulfill the vision? 

Here are a couple of suggestions on how to communicate an end of year giving strategy for your church.

  1. Send at least one letter in late October/early November to everyone in the church with a financial update as to where the church stands entering into November and December.  The letter should include many of the goals accomplished in the first ten months of the year.  The letter should include life change stories and statistics.  Show the people that the money they are giving is changing lives and the church wants to continue to change lives through the end of the fiscal year and into the next.  Their generosity will allow this to happen.
  2. Have a lay leader communicate the same information of the letter to the congregation during worship.  Choose a Sunday in early to mid November to have the finance chair, deacon, elder, etc. give the church an oral update on the financial situation of the church and how their generosity can propel the church toward fulfilling the God inspired vision for their church.
  3. Send a letter right after Thanksgiving with an 11 month personal giving statement for each family in the church.  If your church does annual estimate of giving cards be sure to include the person’s pledge and how much they have given through the first 11 months of the year.  If you have an over and above giving phase going on be sure to include that financial information as well.  Thank them for their giving thus far and encourage them to finish the race as strongly as possible.  Be sure to communicate the special December offerings and outreach opportunities of the church which are funded by the generosity of the people of the church.

These are basic steps for any church to undertake for their end of year giving strategy.  There are many more intentional strategies and steps to choose from.  However, these are a good place to start.  If you would like to have more dialogue about other end of year generosity strategies please contact me at alan@generis.com and we can talk.

Non-profits out compete churches

Originally posted – December 2, 2009

I read a blog posting today from Mark Clement http://www.markclement.typepad.com/, spoke to Ben Stroup www.LifeWayStores.com/DoMoreMinistry and had dinner with Josh Newton, Senior Associate Vice President Arts & Sciences Development at Emory University.  All three had one theme in common today; non profits are out competing the church for the tithe.

I get asked all the time why is it that non profit organizations other than churches receive large sums of money for their organization.  The short answer is they ask for it.  The longer answer is the successful non profits create and nurture relationships with their donor base, cast compelling and life changing vision to their donor base, and they allow their donors to participate in a hands on way with their organization.  According to Josh Newton “People in their late 20’s, 30’s and 40’s don’t just want their name on a scholarship anymore.  They want to meet the student who received the scholarship.  They want their children to meet the student who received the scholarship.  They want to have the student over for dinner.  They want to keep up with the student after graduation.  They want to participate in their giving.  They don’t just want to write a check.”

There is much more to this discussion and debate, but three men from different walks of life all communicated the same vision with me today; in order for people to give their hard earned money to an organization, they need to see how the organization changes lives and how the dollars they give will go directly to changing people’s lives. 

Do our local churches communicate that type of vision?