Trends in congregational giving are constantly changing. What works in one decade may not be effective in the next.
In our work with churches, one evolving trend we see at the Carpenter’s Plan is more churches relying on special contributions. Instead of just giving to the “church budget” for 52 weeks, leaders are encouraging specific times of giving for important works.
At my congregation, we have moved to a 50-week budget and allocate two Sundays a year for special contributions—one in the Spring and the second in the Fall. In 2017 these special contributions went to specific ministries supported in our budget for years. On these Sundays, all contributions went to that ministry. The ministry was motivated to “beat the bushes” for extra donations, and we hoped they would receive more funding than they would have from just being included in our budget.
The results are in. Each ministry has received at least 25% more because of these special contributions. People like to give to specific things.
This past week we had a special contribution for Global Missions. Our messaging was a bit awkward. We cut the budget to Global Missions by $100,000 and then told the church we needed $100,000 to complete our 2018 commitments. The teaser was everything given over $100,000 would go to five special projects, from a clinic in Honduras to a Bible College in the South Pacific.
We produced video, sent out special emails and letters, and had Global Missions committee members email their friends at church with a specific request. In other words, we just didn’t make an announcement and hope. We worked it.
$250,000 was given. To say we are pretty happy is an understatement.
This year at my church an extra $150,000 will go to Global Missions because we emphasized it. We made people aware of the need, clearly communicated how they could help, and we asked for a sacrificial gift.
Do you want to increase giving at your church? Pick a project, set aside a specific giving time, work hard at communicating the need, and ask.