Special Offerings for Specific Needs

Churches can have up to four special offerings for missions and other causes in a year – any more than that and it begins to affect the contributions to the ministry/operating budget of the church. Here are some ways to have special offerings that won’t affect your budget offerings

  1. Announce that “On Sunday, Month Day, there will be a special offering to help our XYZ Ministry. While there is money in the budget for XYZ, we need additional monies to pay for additional supplies and events that are planned. The first $XX,000 given will go to the regular budget but all monies given over $XX,000 will go for XYZ. Thank you for your generosity for this wonderful ministry.”
  2. The $XX,000 figure needs to be whatever the treasurer feels is a regular Sunday offering – the amount that would normally come in that Sunday for basic operations.
  3. Promote that special offering for 3-4 Sundays before the date using the offering time to show slides of last year’s event, interviewing people about their experience, etc. Any money received over the threshold helps lower the budget cost of XYZ. And any special offering funds not used for XYZ this year can carry over to the next year.  Alternate what is done each year so there is variety and so these offerings don’t get old.
  4. After the event, tell people how much was raised toward this ministry. If you don’t reach that goal, tell people that, too. You may get some designated gifts for the XYZ Ministry.

Lead On!

Steve

www.churchbestpractices.org – all kinds of FREE church manuals and sample documents
www.financeforchurches.org – 400 plus blogs on every church administration topic you can think of

Send Donor Statements More Frequently

Startup Stock Photos
  1. Let your donors know regularly how much they’ve given. Send contribution statements five times: the first week after each quarter ends plus an extra one the first week of December. A statement in early December reminds people of how much they’ve given (or not given) to the church so far that year and provides a reminder to make a contribution. Emailing statements is feasible with most church database systems at no or low cost.
  2. Every time you send out donor contribution statements, include a cover letter which tells 2 or 3 very short stories (tweets size) about the ministries of the church. This keeps people informed about what is going on. Also, the cover letter tells the donors who to contact the church office to correct erroneous data.
  3. For churches that mail offering envelopes to donors, send those out four times year.  Handing out or mailing offering envelopes just once a year means most people are aware of giving just once a year. Also, some people lose their packet of envelopes in a month so getting packets four times a year helps those people.
  4. Five contribution statements plus four mailings of offering envelopes = 9 times a year that members are being reminded to give.

Lead On!

Steve

www.churchbestpractices.org – all kinds of FREE church manuals and sample documents
www.financeforchurches.org – 400 plus blogs on every church administration topic you can think of

First Impressions

People who come to your church for the first time have made a serious investment of two or three hours of their time, overcoming anxiety about going to a new place, and trusting their kids to complete strangers. Churches must reciprocate by making their own efforts to make their environments welcoming and comfortable.

  1. Within a few seconds after walking through the church’s door, all guests know if this is the kind of environment where they want to stay or even return.
    1. Lobby furniture tells guests the kind of audience the church wants to attract and keep. If the furniture in the entrance is old, then it tells newcomers that the target audience for the church is older people. Think about the restaurants you go to – what atmosphere do they create at their entrance and what kind of clientele they are attracting?
    2. De-clutter the building by going through the hallways and rooms looking for things that are not needed and/or which distract people. Change the furniture, wall hangings, and anything else you have so that everything is appeals to your target audience.
    3. A good way to make all this happen is to recruit four or five 20- and 30-somethings and ask them to give serious feedback about the decor of the church.
  2. Newcomers are the people coming in your doors who are looking all around trying to figure out where to go. Greeters should be actively looking for newcomers and immediately stepping forward to talk with them.
  3. Ask newcomers for their phone number or email. If they do, then have a task force that calls them  Sunday or Monday to thank them for coming. That’s old fashioned but it works. People like a personal touch.

Lead On!

Steve

www.churchbestpractices.org – all kinds of FREE church manuals and sample documents
www.financeforchurches.org – 400 plus blogs on every church administration topic you can think of

Develop 20-25 Relationships

  1. A study of several churches showed that approximately 50% of attenders don’t give any money to their church (for a variety of reasons), 25% make gifts of 3% to 5% of their income, and 25% are generous (give more than 5%). Another study showed that about 5% of donors gave about 50% of a church’s income.
  2. Too often the generous donors are ignored by pastors who try to ensure there is no favoritism and that is understandable. However, ignoring them altogether is not acceptable.
  3. Every pastor should have a list of the top 20-25 donors to the church. Ask the finance office to provide an alphabetical list of donors (this ensures the pastor doesn’t know how they rank). Most pastors will already know that list but there may be some surprises.
  4. Once or twice a year the pastor should have coffee or a meal with each person on this list. The donors will be pleasantly surprised to get personal time with the pastor. It is critical that the visit be entirely pastoral, not a solicitation for money. Pastors need to be pastors at the meeting; just be a friend and pastor.
  5. After a few meetings, the donor may ask the pastor about giving opportunities to the church. This happens because the member and pastor got to know each other as individuals, not as donor and recipient. These donors already believe and support the church and when they know the direction of the church better, they may seek to be more generous.
  6. At a minimum, it helps the member to get some pastoral time and it helps the pastor to be more in touch with members. There is no downside to developing these relationships.

Lead On!

Steve

www.churchbestpractices.org – all kinds of FREE church manuals and sample documents
www.financeforchurches.org – 400 plus blogs on every church administration topic you can think of

Capital Investment Needs

  1. Every church needs building or program improvements that cost more than the budget can afford. Every church needs to make a list of these capital items. This list should encompass all ministry areas and range from small amounts to very large amounts. Update the list every year, make the list dynamic, and make sure every item on the list supports the vision of the church (you don’t want someone’s pet project that doesn’t have widespread buy-in).
  2. Make the list available to everyone. Spend a Wednesday night or two soliciting church input and another night sharing the results. It will help members know that the leadership wants to invest in the facilities and activities that touch everyone.
  3. Update this list every year – do not make it static. Add and remove items as the church’s priorities change. Every year, attempt to tackle two or three items on the list depending on your church’s finances.
  4. There is a chance someone will write a check for an item that appeals to them. Also, sometimes churches have more receipts than expenses at the end of a fiscal year; use those funds for items on the list. Some items are so expensive and/or extensive that funding must be done over several years. Just continue to fund the project and not quit halfway. And, as each project starts tell people what is about to start and then celebrate it when it is done.
  5. Here’s a helpful way to make your list
    1. Itemize – make a list; throw everything on the table
    2. Categorize – group them by ministry or building improvement
    3. Analyze – decide why this is a need and not just a want
    4. Monetize – guesstimate the cost, use a vendor if necessary
    5. Prioritize – rank them from most important to least
    6. Publicize – tell people and solicit their ongoing input
    7. Review-ize – update the list each year
    8. Thank you-ize – celebrate milestones and even throw a party

Lead On!

Steve

www.churchbestpractices.org – all kinds of FREE church manuals and sample documents
www.financeforchurches.org – 400 plus blogs on every church administration topic you can think of

Use Offering Time To Tell Stories

  1. Donors want to hear how their gifts are being used in ministry. A financial statement doesn’t tell the whole story. Church leadership must share interesting stories of how offerings are being used.
  2. Find 52 compelling stories and insert those in the offertory time. If the church doesn’t have 52 stories, the church has bigger issues. Work with the worship leader to coordinate where in the worship the offering time will fall so that the offertory and its accompanying story add synergy to the service. Insert stories that relate to the sermon, to the liturgical calendar, to the school year, to seasons of the life of a church, etc. Make the story/offering time a key element of worship, not just a way to kill three minutes.
  3. During the year, give every ministry a chance to be on the platform telling one (and only ONE) story. Tell a story about real people, real events. Give ministries time to announce an upcoming youth event, a mission trip, Vacation Bible School, small groups, Christmas, or Easter activity, etc. This is “thank you” time (not an announcement time).
  4. Tell the stories using different methods such as interviews, slide shows, testimonies, songs, handouts, etc. Be creative each time and vary the method the story is told from week to week.
  5. Here are some examples:
    1. I’d like for you to see what our youth did on their summer mission trip. Because of your gifts, 13 kids spent a week that will change their lives for the next 60+ years. Thanks! (then comes slideshow with cool music)
    2. In two weeks we’re launching new small groups and we want you in one of them. If you can’t afford the study book, the church’s offerings will buy you a book. We’ll even pay for babysitting so you can be there. And yes, thanks to everyone’s contributions who are making this possible.
  6. Make each story compelling and have each presentation heart-touching. Always use the words “thank you” and “generosity/generous” – those words have no negative connotations. Soon, the offering time will be something people look forward to.

Lead On!

Steve

www.churchbestpractices.org – all kinds of FREE church manuals and sample documents
www.financeforchurches.org – 400 plus blogs on every church administration topic you can think of

Giving Cards in Pews

People who come to church often want to give but they don’t have cash or checks on them. With digital donations now available, giving to the church can be done anytime. Churches can provide a “giving card” that informs people of the various ways they can support their church.

  1. Inform your worshippers of the various ways they can support the church financially with “Giving Cards.” Create a card (about the size of an offering envelope) with all the ways that people can give to your ministry budget: cash, checks, website (include link), church app, text to give, a QR code link, etc. Put this card in the pew with the offering envelopes for people to take and have a reminder to give.
  2. In most churches, people can only give if they have cash or checks at the moment the offering plate is passed. A giving card shows people the other ways they can give from their home computer or smartphone after worship is over.
  3. On the flip side of the card you can include a verse (1 Timothy 6:17-18 is good) and/or ways for people to get involved in the church: small groups, mission trips, volunteering, etc.
  4. Use the card to educate people about how they can help their church and themselves.

Lead On!

Steve

www.churchbestpractices.org – all kinds of FREE church manuals and sample documents
www.financeforchurches.org – 400 plus blogs on every church administration topic you can think of

Community Invitation Campaign (Marketing)

Marketing works – the proof is that so many companies “Just Do It” (Nike) and “Think Different” (Apple). Churches used to do marketing when they advertised the annual revival or other special services. Today, most churches have forgotten the need to advertise to their own community. Publicity about the church on special occasions gets results. Here are some fairly inexpensive ways let your neighbors know you’re there and invite them to attend.

  1. In a one or two mile radius around the church, place door hangers on homes. Pairs of people can walk prescribed routes the weeks before Easter and Christmas.
  2. Ask members to distribute postcards to work colleagues and neighbors. The postcards must have a message and info about the church.
  3. Find the election polling locations near your church. Then distribute postcards and cool water or hot chocolate; put labels with info about the church on the water or cups. Distribute the materials by setting up a table attended by volunteers during election day. The table with your material must be at the legal distance from the actual voting site. Remember that everyone who votes at each location lives within a couple of miles and is thus a neighbor of the church.
  4. Hand out $5 Starbucks cards to people at various local events. Include a card inviting people to your church. Giving away $250 reaches 50 people directly and probably 250 with the ripple effect.
  5. Give away boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Put a label on them with a greeting and info about the church. No one turns down cookies.
  6. At local sporting events for children, set up a tent and provide snacks and drinks to the kids and parents. Give everyone a postcard or flyer, too.
  7. Print church info on magnets and distribute those at some of the above functions. People tend to not throw away fridge magnets. You can create your own fridge magnets pretty cheaply or have them made professionally.
  8. Have pens made and spread those around nearby businesses and restaurants. They are always looking for extra pens. Good pens are great marketing material.

Think of your own ways to advertise that are appropriate for your own community.

Lead On!

Steve


www.churchbestpractices.org – all kinds of FREE church manuals and sample documents
www.financeforchurches.org – 400 plus blogs on every church administration topic you can think of