Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 to encourage people to do good. The day falls on the Tuesday after Black Friday, one of the heaviest spending days of the year. Since 2012, Giving Tuesday has increased in popularity, in large part due to non-profits leveraging the day to encourage donations.
It can be assumed that Giving Tuesday will widely be leveraged by non-profits this year. This provides churches another natural opportunity to encourage congregants to consider their generosity and be known as generous disciples. If your church has not previously used this day to encourage generosity, or if your church’s past attempts to utilize the day did not produce any noticeable, positive results, consider these six suggestions this year.
1. Talk about it beforehand.
Church leaders know the importance of clear, consistent, and repetitive communication. While church leaders are regularly talking about church activities and priorities, congregants’ attention is more divided. For some, the only time they consider their church’s ministry is the few minutes they are being announced from the stage.
Church leaders should not expect congregants to participate in the church’s Giving Tuesday if the church only mentions Giving Tuesday on that day. Many in the church are still unfamiliar with the day. While Giving Tuesday has increased in popularity over the years, many are still unaware of it. While others may be familiar with the day, they might not be prepared to participate. The day comes and goes without much thought with this group.
Like any activity or special mission, Giving Tuesday must be communicated several weeks prior to the day. The communication needs to be repetitive. When communicating, church leaders should consider connecting the day to the church’s mission and provide goals. This leads us to the next two suggestions.
2. Connect Giving Tuesday to the mission of the church.
Your church has a mission. There is the purpose and mission of all churches—glorifying God through worship, edification, discipleship, evangelism, prayer, and community. Under this broader mission, there is the specific mission God has compelled your church to pursue. This mission is specific to your church’s context and resources.
Giving Tuesday should be connected to your church’s mission. Congregants ought to understand how their generosity on that day provides fuel for the mission. Is part of the church’s mission to plant three churches in other areas of the community? Is part of the church’s mission to send missionaries to an unreached people group on the other side of the world? Is part of the church’s mission to feed and clothe the homeless in the area? If so, help congregants see how their generosity of Giving Tuesday advances these Kingdom undertakings.
Giving Tuesday should be connected to your church’s mission. Congregants ought to understand how their generosity on that day provides fuel for the mission.
3. Identify a goal.
Goals provide motivation and direction. As the church constructs their Giving Tuesday plans, make sure to identify desired outcomes. The goal could be non-monetary, focusing on the number of giving units (individuals or families who give). A subgoal of giving units could be new giving units, those who have never given to the church before. This may be a great opportunity to encourage a first step of generosity for congregants who have never given.
If a monetary goal is identified, ensure the goal is clearly tied to the mission of the church. If part of the church’s mission is to send missionaries to unreached people groups, set a monetary goal that would support a missionary for a certain time period. If part of the church’s mission is to care for the needy, set a monetary goal to purchase upcoming Christmas presents for ten struggling families. In the communication leading up to Giving Tuesday, make the congregation aware of the goal.
4. Let Giving Tuesday be a part of the church’s larger strategy to build generous disciples.
For a church, leveraging Giving Tuesday is not just about raising money. Any non-profit can raise money. What distinguishes a church from many other non-profits on Giving Tuesday is the desire to see men and women become more like Jesus. Our God is a generous God. When we give, we reflect His generosity. Giving Tuesday can provide church leaders with another means through which to encourage congregants to take the next step on their generosity journey. It can be a larger part of the church’s larger strategy to build generous disciples.
What distinguishes a church from many other non-profits on Giving Tuesday is the desire to see men and women become more like Jesus.
5. Keep track of and communicate the church’s progress throughout the day.
How close is the church to reaching its Giving Tuesday goal? Have someone keep track of the day’s progress. When possible, notify the church of the progress. Use social media to update the church on a more frequent basis, and utilize emails for occasional updates. These updates will remind the church of the emphases and encourage generosity.
6. Celebrate what God does.
Whether the goal is met or not, celebrate. Celebrate that congregants took a step in their generosity journey. Celebrate that God is at work in the church. Celebrate because you know that God can take whatever was given and use it for His Kingdom and His glory. And if the goal was not reached on Giving Tuesday, provide one more opportunity to give toward the goal, potentially during the upcoming service as some may have simply forgotten to give.
Celebrate because you know that God can take whatever was given and use it for His Kingdom and His glory.
Giving Tuesday provides churches another opportunity to teach about and encourage biblical generosity. Consider intentionally and strategically leveraging Giving Tuesday for the church, not just to meet a financial goal but as a tool to help build disciples who reflect God’s generosity to a lost world.