My church will be starting their annual campaign this month to garner pledges to the budget for the next year. Many churches still utilize this process as a means to not only encourage giving to the church but as a gauge of setting the annual budget of a church. I work with several churches across the country that hold annual campaigns. Typically the annual campaign kicks off with a stewardship sermon or a stewardship series. That sermon or series is key and sets the stage for success or failure. Whether you hold an annual campaign or not here are some thoughts on how to approach asking for money.
Never apologize! Ever! I once heard a staff member remark at the beginning of the sermon, “I was excited to given the chance to preach and until I realized I was going to be preaching during our annual campaign drive.” What a great way to start a sermon. If you lose me at the first sentence how do you think you will keep my focus throughout. Ministers commit this error over and over, again and again. They begin their sermon by apologizing for preaching on money. Never apologize for preaching on something that Jesus talked so much about. The money given to your church fuels ministry to the world. Why would you apologize about asking people to support the Kingdom of God?
Make it positive. It is not that churches talk too much about money. When they do talk about it they tend to be negative. Giving is a responsibility for a disciple of Christ. Yet if your preaching is laden with guilt or condemnation you will not increase your donors. Try talking about all the positive benefits that giving provides not only for the church but for individuals.
Make giving meaningful. People give to vision and that which matters. Talk about what your church accomplishes with their funds. Tell stories of success. Trumpet your victories. Remember, good vision trumps bad economy!
Say thank you. Churches do a terrible job of saying thank you to their donors. Sure, your members should give. However, going out of your way to thank those that give will make it easier to gain their gift in the future.
Make the “ask!” Jesus said, “You have not because you ask not.” The same is true for churches. Too often we simply are afraid to make the “ask.” You can be sure that other ministries are not bashful about asking your members for donations. If you truly believe in the mission of your church is it not worth people giving to support it? Then why be shy about expressing what you need, funds.
Follow the above points and I think you will find that making the “ask” is much easier. Not only will it be easier it will be more impactful.
Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President, The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions