Communication is key. This is pretty much a rule for anything and everything.
Communication is the foundation to relationships and friendships. It’s important when passing down family recipes or when assigning a new project at school or discussing a new business strategy at work.
And likewise, communication is vital to your church’s giving.
As a church leader, you have probably heard something along the lines of “customize your communication to where an individual is in their giving journey.” Whether it’s from SecureGive or another source, this is great advice. But what exactly does it mean? And, how should you differentiate your communication? And, why is it so important?
customize your communication to where an individual is in their giving journey
Over the next several weeks, we will be examining what your communication should look like with each category of giver (first-time, lapsed, active, recurring, high capacity, and those who go above and beyond), what to include, and how often to communicate.
So let’s take a look at what your communication with first-time givers should look like.
First, what is a first-time giver? A first-time giver is someone who is giving to your church for the very first time. It may be their first Sunday at your church or they may have been attending for a while. Regardless, the way you communicate with them after their donation will not only set the tone for your church but it will also provide an opportunity for discipleship.
The first step is to follow up with the first-time giver, either by email or handwritten letter, within a week of their donation. If they give online, this can be streamlined by setting up an automatic email that will be sent directly after they complete their donation. If your first-time giver completes a traditional donation with cash or check, it might be better to send them a printed or hand-written letter.
Start With Thanks
Start the letter or email by thanking the donor. Let them know that when they give they are taking part in the work your church is doing. They’re not just helping pay the bills, they are investing in life-changing ministry.
After thanking the donor, disciple them and define stewardship. We like to say stewardship is how we manage the time, talent, and treasures God has entrusted us with. Remember not everyone knows or understands what stewardship is and why giving is so important. It’s our job, as church leaders, to teach them.
Define stewardship but also emphasize that they are being good stewards through their giving. Giving shouldn’t just be an “in the moment” or “I felt moved to” thing. Yes, moments like that can be a powerful prompting for an additional offering from the Holy Spirit. But it should be just that – an additional offering to a giver’s regular tithes.
Next, incorporate scripture into your communication. Scripture is the living, breathing Word of God. It has more power to speak than any words we can ever come up with on our own. This is a great opportunity to share what the Bible says about stewardship and generosity. One of our favorites is 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. It says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
Invite Them to Set Up a Recurring Gift
End the communication by inviting your giver to set up a recurring gift. Provide brief instructions on where to go to set up the recurring gift and how to establish one. You might be surprised how many more people are willing to create a recurring gift just because you ask them to do it and tell them how.
Specific communication targeted to where givers are in their unique giving journey is critical. It meets them where they are and encourages them to take their next step. By incorporating this information into your follow-up message with your first-time givers, you will increase the likelihood of continued, faithful giving as well as empowering them to be the stewards the Lord has called them to be.