How does your church leadership view Giving Statements? Many think of it as a tool to guilt people into faithful giving. Some of it view it just as an administrative task that does nothing for the church. What if your church’s giving statements were something that people looked forward to receiving and helped the grow as generous givers? I think this is possible, but it starts with changing your view of the giving statements.
Here’s the changes to be made:
From a reminder of pledges to a reminder of how giving is changes lives/the world.
From the focus being on the IRS and the Church Budget to the focus being on the donor and the Church Mission.
From an administrative burden to a ministry opportunity.
From something that the donor should be grateful to receive to a way to show gratitude to the donor.
Why would a pastor want to see the giving records for a church? Generally speaking, your pastor DOES NOT want to see the giving records, but they believe they need to see the giving records to lead well. Very few pastors that I’ve met want to see the giving records out of curiosity or to schmooze the big donors. The topic of money makes the uncomfortable and they don’t want to be seen in the same light as Kenneth Copeland.
Unless your pastor has proven themselves untrustworthy with sensitive information, chances are knowing how people give will help them lead better. They’ll know which members are all talk verses those that are fully invested in the mission of the church. They’ll be better able to care for their people if there is a change in giving.
Endowments are one of the best gifts you can give to a church yet they are largely misunderstood. Sheri Meister and I go over the details on how exactly endowments work and why they are such awesome gifts.
In the Dakotas, the simplest way to think of an endowment is to imagine someone gifted you some farmland. The farmland holds its value while still generating income from the church. That is how an endowment works…except without having the pain of being a landlord.
The first stock gift I ever received as a church treasurer was several shares of Coca-Cola Company stock from a wonderful member named Char. Char wasn’t a multi-millionaire. She was just like so many ordinary people that happen to own stocks, bonds, or shares of a mutual fund. You don’t need to have a Bill Gates in your church to receive a stock gift. Ordinary people make these extraordinary gifts each year. Because of Char’s example, I actually made my own stock gift a few years later to support the church’s capital campaign.
I was fortunate enough to have David Nash (a financial guru) to guide me on receiving this gift. Not every church will have a David Nash. You don’t need special knowledge to accept a stock gift. You just need the right connections. If you are a United Methodist in the Dakotas, the Dakotas United Methodist Foundation is your David Nash.
The first concern of our churches during the Coronavirus Pandemic was: How do we connect with people now that we can’t worship in person? In the first two weeks, most of our churches quickly adopted Facebook Live or YouTube if they didn’t have anything before. Many of them greatly beefed up their online offering. It was truly remarkable to see how churches stepped up to the challenge of how to get the message out to the people.
The next concern: How do we allow people to financially support the church when we can’t worship in person?Some of our churches had electronic giving, but many did not. I was able to guide churches through setting up electronic giving through Vanco, but Facebook Donate seemed like a good solution too. I’d see Spirit of Faith in Woonsocket do this, but I had no experience.
Below you can watch the video on how to set your church up with Facebook to receive donations. Facebook covers 100% of any fees. Some drawbacks are that you can’t do recurring giving and Facebook is pretty rigorous in vetting charities so you need to have your paperwork in order.
A number of years ago, I received a call from a pastor who just had someone volunteer to do some painting for the church. After the job was done, the volunteer asked for a gift receipt because they actually ran a painting business. The gift of service is so priceless that the IRS won’t let you assign a value to it.
So…what do you say to the volunteer that was expecting a gift receipt? How do you handle that situation?
About a decade ago, Elmer Brinkman basically donated his 1998 Toyota Corolla to the Conference. That was our first fleet vehicle. I knew it would save us a ton of money. Before this, we reimbursed mileage at the IRS rate whenever someone had to travel for work. I was so proud of it, I actually put in gold letters “Elmer” on the back of this vehicle. Because of this donated car, my travel costs went way down so that I could afford to travel more. I saved $15,000 over four years!
I have often wondered if this would work for one of our rural parishes. If you have a pastor serving two or three churches, could you save the church $3 – 4,000/year in mileage? I love the idea so I’m sharing it in hopes that it will help someone.