Those of us in church leadership are often lulled into believing the average pew-sitter sees things through the same lens as we do. A good example of that is the way we understand, or do not understand, people’s motivation to give. For example, because leaders worry about “making the budget” we assume they do, as well. Our plea to “support the budget” makes perfect sense to us, but most givers are ill-concerned with the line-items. They give to all kinds of organizations without ever seeing a budget.
Smarter churches talk more about their mission and ministry. They are sure to share regularly why the church exists, the people it is reaching, and the lives it is changing. Yet there is a subtle problem even with this kind of communication.
In the end, givers don’t want to know what difference the church is making. They want to know what difference they are making through the church. This is not a kind of selfishness or narcissism, but rather a matter of stewardship. They want to know if their life is counting toward something. They want to know if their life has power to make the world more as God intended. They want to know if the places they have invested themselves and their resources is achieving any good. They want to be an agent of change.
As you craft information about your budget, communication about your ministry, or appreciation for givers gifts, remember their point of view. Remind them how their discipleship connected to making our ministry possible. Remind them, when sharing the church’s good work, that it is an extension of their good work.
A long time ago someone told me, “People don’t give to support your dreams. They give to support their dreams.” Perhaps we would do better to say that people give to support God’s dream living in them. If we approach our givers with that attitude, we may count on their continued generosity.
If you want more ideas for motivating and communicating with givers, contact us at your United Methodist Foundation here or by calling us toll free at 877-391-8811.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana