Is Your Church Reaching Its Budget?
By: Nancy Lawson
Would it surprise you to learn that, of the churches recently surveyed by Giving Rocket, only 14 percent were meeting or exceeding budget? Knowing that churches rely entirely on donations to survive, not meeting the annual budget means critical mission work is in jeopardy of being underfunded. Fundraising for any non-profit organization has, and always will, present challenges because the root of its failures typically stems from poor communication.
Conversely, successful communication is one of the key attributes of any organization, but especially churches. The most common synonym for “successful” is “accomplishment.” Is your church “accomplishing,” or exceeding its budget? If you answered “no” to this question, you must read this article.
Historically and traditionally, churches have relied on one primary source of communication to promote giving in their organizations—offering envelopes. This mode of communication had such an impact that companies were created out of its need as far back as a century ago, and several are still in operation. How can this be, you might ask, given the ubiquitous influence of technology? Even the United States Postal Service is struggling because there is an obvious shift in communication preferences with the evolution of technology.
First, let me remind you that churches are dealing with people, and people will always have a diverse set of preferences for how they do anything, including giving.
Second, is your church doing everything it can to promote giving? Are you addressing it from the pulpit consistently? Are you communicating directly and regularly with your members? Do your members know all the ways your church benefits from these charitable gifts? After all, isn’t the church, the Body of Christ, biblically, ethically and morally obligated to reveal this information? How many avenues of giving are provided to the members? Do you still rely solely on envelopes? What about online giving, text giving, kiosk giving or mobile giving?
From the Pulpit
For the protection of your members, make sure the software you are using is PCI Level I compliant (provides the ultimate security), not just PCI compliant. Some benefits of online giving include reduced administrative effort, guest donations (no signup is required) and recurring donations. Online giving is also an excellent resource for reaching beyond your membership, in terms of charitable giving, as it opens the doors for businesses and ministry supporters from all over the world to contribute to the efforts of your church.
In my opinion, we are very fortunate to live in a time in which all of these options are available to help increase giving in the churches, especially in light of the declining attendance that churches of every denomination are facing these days. The beauty of this group of stewardship resources is that you don’t have to settle for just one. In fact, there is data to suggest that one is simply no longer enough.
While it may be difficult to interpret actual giving as a percentage from each of these categories (envelopes, online, text, kiosk, mobile), let’s assume that each represents one equal piece of the total giving/stewardship pie. Since there are five, mathematically, we can conclude that each piece of pie represents 20 percent of your total potential giving.
So, theoretically, if your church is only providing one of these methods to its members, it’s only reaching 20 percent of its total stewardship potential; and, therefore, probably not exceeding its budget. As the Body of Christ, reach out to ALL of your members AND their preferences, so that when they are called to give, they have all available options in place to do it—at that moment—using their preferred method of giving.
Nancy Lawson is the Manager of Strategic Partner Sales at NCS Services, Inc. NCS Services’ suite of technology products and services provides cutting edge tools to increase financial resources, enhance member communications and reduce administrative activities. Contact Nancy at email@example.com for additional information.