Right after Easter, you have a crisis heading your way. The summer slump begins one minute after the last Easter service is over. This creates a challenge for keeping the proverbial offering plate full. Giving slumps at the same time as ministry and mission costs rise. Your need is to find a way to keep giving strong so that you can fund everything. How can you motivate people to want to faithfully give to support your summer mission? Oh, thank you for asking! I have part of the answer in this edition of the Coach entitled How to Motivate People to Generously Support Your Summer Mission.
OK, not my greatest title, but it drives home what I want to lay out for you. This is the second in my series on summer giving planning. Each week I share what you need to do to be prepared. Did you get the part where I said, “I have part of the answer?” This newsletter focuses on how to motivate people to want to give to support what you are doing this summer. My goal is twofold. It is to make sure this summer is fully funded in the short term. But the second, more important, goal is to move everyone into a deeper commitment to stewardship. That’s a long-term goal.
We must raise up the Next Generation of faithful stewards to accomplish this. That is my target. They are our future. Like it or not, we have to win them over first. For me, there is no better time than during the summer. Summer is our greatest time of spiritual harvest. Why not use that story to motivate people to generously support your summer mission? How do you make that happen?
The foundation is laid by casting a vision that excites people. Dollars always follow vision. The bigger the vision, and the better you communicate that vision, goes a long way toward gaining someone’s gift. Cast your vision by using what I call the 3 Cs of Vision Casting:
- Make it Clear – Above all else, do people clearly understand what you are doing this summer and why? Is your vision clear? Can people easily tell their work associates, neighbors, and friends what you are doing and why? When visions are not clear, people will not donate.
- Keep it Concise – Donors have two questions: does this make sense and can you pull it off? Answer those questions, and you will get their dollars. Remember the old KISS acrostic? It stands for Keep It Simple Somehow. KISS is good advice for communicating your vision for the summer.
- Cast it Compellingly – The most important thing is to make your vision matter in the hearts of your members. A compelling vision that motivates the heart will, even in the worst of economic times, cause dollars to come to your ministry. Show your donors how their gift will make a difference, and they will rise up to support it financially.
Let me give you 3 Keys to Casting an Appealing and Motivating Vision. Every appeal you make must be appealing, from letters to emails to offering talks to vision statements for giving initiatives. If it isn’t appealing, it won’t be successful. You’ll come off looking like you’re begging. So, let’s break down how to make any appeal appealing. The first key is…
Don’t make it about you! In this instance, the “you” is defined as making a giving appeal for the sake of simply making some budgetary number. That’s not appealing. Your appeal asking donors to give can’t be why you need money. They don’t respond to appeals to pay the electric bill. They respond to helping fulfill your God-given story.
Second, show what you/they do. You are attempting to connect how a dollar given at your church fuels your missions and ministry endeavors. You show them what “you,” the church, are doing. You help them see that “they” had a part in that story. It’s all about the story. I think I feel a Brooks Generosity Mantra coming on that sums it up best…
Get a story, work your story, tell your story, and people will give to support that story.
Stories are powerful communication tools. What do people remember most about the teachings of Jesus? The Parables. Parables are simply stories with a heavenly meaning. Why do people buy books, go to movies, and binge on Netflix? Because everyone loves a good story.
Your story is your mission and vision in action. And it’s a great story. You are changing the world one person at a time. You are helping raise up the next generation of believers.
You must know how to craft your appeal in a compelling way. I always say…
- Every appeal or “ask” needs a driver. A driver is a vision that drives me to my wallet to give.
- Make the “ask” about fulfilling a vision, not hitting a number. What is the vision behind your appeal?
- The basic elements of an “ask” are…
Crisis – I want my donors to know about…
Need – We can help by…
Ask – Your gift NOW will help us meet this need!
How does that formula work out? Let’s use an offering talk as an example. Since I have talked about summer giving and the 15 offerings, let’s craft an offering talk around a church’s student ministry.
Crisis – A recent study confirmed that a majority of American young adults who attended church regularly drop out after they enter college.66% drop out in their first year away from home. There is a 69% chance they will never return!
Need – We must train up and disciple our students to be prepared for the challenges of college.
Ask – Your faithful generosity helps us fund all the discipleship ministries of our church, like summer camps, etc.
You can flesh it out further with details specific to your setting. The final key to appealing appeals is that you must…
Make ‘em want to give! It has always been my contention that it is not that the Church talks too much about money. The problem is that when we do talk about money, we talk about it in a way that turns people off. We typically load them down with guilt. We need to create a desire to want to give within the donor.
I have found that most of those in our services each week know they ought to give. Our goal, especially with new donors, is to make them see the crisis, and the need you are offering to solve that crisis, so they will want to give.
Take the time to craft out each of your appeals, starting with the 15 Summer Sunday offerings! It could reverse the summer slump in giving. See the Bonus Section.
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach