No matter how well you think your communication is, it’s always good to put it to the test so you can see exactly how much your donors are grasping. And, the good news is there’s a simple way to do this.
Using the Five W’s of basic problem solving (who, what, where, when, and why), you can quickly find out how effective your communication is by asking a handful of your attendees these five simple questions. You’ll be able to tell what you’re communicating well and where you can use some work. Let’s take a quick look at each one, why it matters, and how you can use that information to create more effective giving communication:
Who is supposed to give?
This may seem obvious, but have you made it clear that the Bible calls all to be generous in giving, not just the financially wealthy? It’s often a human tendency to look the other way and assume “someone else” is supposed to take care of it. But, it’s up to us as church leaders to be clear that generosity is a calling that is placed on ALL of us.
This misconception goes all the way back to the ancient world, generosity was thought to be only the responsibility of the rich. Men and occasionally women, who were wealthy enough to be responsible for a community’s upbuilding, were called patrons and benefactors. These were the people responsible for building roads, repairing bridges, and supplying grain during famines. Paul, however, challenged the everyday people of this time to participate in giving too. In 2 Corinthians 9:7 Paul says, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give.” Through this, Paul encourages everyone to give, not just the wealthy patrons and benefactors. He reminds us that giving should be motivated by love from the heart and a fear for the Lord, not based on a specific salary, recognition, or status.
What are we supposed to give?
Our money? Our time? Our talents? All of the above? Simple and clear teaching on what the Bible says about generosity and stewardship will go a long way. (Spoiler: the answer is “all of the above.”)
1 Corinthians 4:2 says, “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” The Bible clearly states that how we manage what we have matters to God. The Lord instructs us to be faithful stewards of all that He’s entrusted us with.
Where can someone in your church go to give?
I’ve been to MANY churches where a pastor can get on stage, talk about offering, maybe share a verse of scripture, and then pass the plates. They never mention that you can give online, or at a kiosk, or from your phone. It leaves people assuming you can only give in a worship service with cash or check (which most of them will never have). You may be thinking, “surely they’ve been to our website and seen the ‘give’ button!” Trust us, they haven’t. (And if the only option to give to your church is by cash or check in service, there’s a whole ‘nother problem we need to talk about.)
If you don’t tell people where they can give, they aren’t going to know. It’s as simple as that. Tell your donors that they can give in-service through the offering plate, online, in a mobile app, through text to give, or at the kiosk located in your lobby. Highlight the different giving platforms attendees can use both during in-service communication and on your church’s website.
When do we give?
Do we give when we feel emotionally stirred or based on a schedule? Does it have to be done on a Sunday or can we give during the week? You may be surprised how many of your attendees associate giving as a “Sunday thing” rather than a part of their life and walk with Jesus.
Let them know that, yes, they can give in person during Sunday service but they can also give in line at the grocery store, while waiting to pick up their kids from soccer practice, or from their couch while streaming Sunday service online. Remind your church that they can even automate their gift with a recurring transaction to make things even easier.
Why do we give?
This is un-arguably the most important thing to communicate to your church. If your congregation doesn’t know why they should give, they won’t give. Period. When’s the last time you explained what the Bible says about giving? Or how their giving has supported the ministry of the church? Or how it has met a need in the community? Share what scripture teaches about giving as well as the life-change and impact your ministry accomplishes because of your church’s generosity. You don’t have to cover every “why” every week, but you need to keep it in front of people consistently.
And remember, God gave His son. Jesus gave his life. Jesus’s life and ministry on earth can be summed up in seven words – “He laid down his life for others.” The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve. Generosity is embodied in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore, as His followers, generosity should be embodied in our lives.
Take the challenge this week: ask some of your members and regular attendees if they can answer the Five Ws of giving at your church. If they can answer them all, then keep up the good work! If you find that people are struggling to consistently answer one or two of them, that’s ok. You’ll now know your weak spots and you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
As you work to grow giving in your church, remember we’re always here to help. For the past 16 years we’ve worked with churches to provide software that makes giving easy, strategy to help maximize your giving potential, and stewardship resources and coaching to create the culture of generosity that will take your church to the next level. Want to learn more? Just schedule a conversation with one of SecureGive’s expert Giving Consultants.