One thing givers hope to see is how their gifts make a difference. None of us want to give blindly to a church, or other organization, and never know whether our gift has changed anything. In fact, it is good stewardship to make sure that our investments in the mission are, indeed, helping the mission happen.
One thing I tell congregational leaders is to get the giver as close to the outcome as possible. If we have an addiction ministry, is it possible to meet Jerry, who is in recovery, and has his life stabilized? That would make our heart soar and strengthen our conviction in supporting our mission. Just knowing Jerry, even a little bit, puts a face on every dollar we give. It also helps us pray more specifically for someone in the recovery group. It may also be that God will use Jerry to teach us something important.
If we can’t meet Jerry, maybe we can meet Terrance, who leads the recovery group. Terrance is in the trenches every day and can tell us about his work with people like Jerry. Knowing Terrance would give us a good feeling, as well, and confidence that what our church does is important. Jerry is at the heart of the outcome, but Terrance is pretty close to being there.
If we can’t meet Jerry or Terrance, it would be good to hear a word from a leader in our outreach ministry. Shari is our church’s connection with the program, and she can share about the world of Terrance and how much he appreciates the support of the congregation. Most know of Shari, so we trust her opinion of what is happening.
Last, and definitely least, someone makes a general statement about our budget having a line-item for addiction recovery.
What I want you to see is that Jerry is closest to the outcome—he is the outcome. Terrance is next closest. Shari is next closest. The line-item is furthest away. If you want to help people know if their giving matters, keep them connected with more Jerrys and Terrances. Make the connection between giving, and the difference it makes, as close to the difference as possible. Share that. Put that in your newsletter. Tell that story on Sunday. Use that video on your website.
Connect. Connect. Connect. It makes the gift feel blessed, as well as the giver.
For more information about stewardship and the care of money, contact us here or call us toll free at 877-391-8811.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana