About this time of year many churches are finishing up their stewardship campaigns. A lot of work went into planning, preaching, and pledging. Letters were sent. Worship services inspired. Phone calls were made. For most of us, we are relieved when it is all over.
Hold on! We aren’t quite there yet. The most neglected part of any stewardship campaign is follow-up. No campaign is complete without the finishing touches. They are:
RECEIVING: Have we followed up with folks who didn’t communicate their giving to us? Are there persons who have pledged consistently but have not yet turned in a card? What about folks who were not present on our consecration/giving day? Will we call them, or send them a card, or invite them to turn in their giving estimate? Mind you, we are talking about the spirit of invitation, not the spirit of guilt or the hammer of accusation.
REPORTING: The congregation needs to know the results of the campaign. Share the total giving promised to the congregation for the coming year. Reporting is done on a Sunday morning, in the church newsletter, or in a letter to the church family in which we both report and thank. Many are the churches where people have no idea whether campaigns went well or not. Don’t be that church.
RECOGNIZING: While most Christians don’t give for recognition, it is a good thing to recognize their gift—in other words, appreciate them for giving it! There is nothing wrong with saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Your pastor or Finance Chair might want to write several hand-written notes. For some, a personal word of appreciation is helpful. A broad thank you to the congregation is appropriate on Sunday morning. Maybe the children have made thoughtful gifts that are given to each person who makes a commitment.
REMINDING: We remind folks once again about our mission and how their gifts are making a difference. We do not ask them to give to support utilities, salaries, and copy machines. We ask them to give because our purpose, given in Christ, is to change and grow lives forward. Their gifts will make that happen.
For more information about stewardship and the care of money, contact us here or by calling us toll free at 877-391-8811.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana