“People are bombarded with more than 3,000 marketing messages every 24 hours.”1. How will they hear your message amidst the cacophony of sound blasting at them continually? What will separate your message from all the other messages they receive daily? The compellingness of your vision. I’m going to show you how vision works in this issue of the Coach entitled Using Your Vision to Increase Giving.
Your vision, properly communicated, will connect with your people, causing them to willingly give more to support that vision. This is true in good times and in bad times, like what we are currently living through.
In the fall of 2008, I started writing my first book, Recession Proof Your Offerings. One of the chapters of that book was entitled “Vision: The Reason People Give.” If you remember, we were in the midst of what became known as The Great Recession. Scores of churches ceased to exist due to the financial pressure the economy created upon giving. I contend they did not have a giving problem. They had a vision problem. Here is what I wrote in 2008:
“Vision, when it comes to stewardship, is the main driver of why people give. Vision is what keeps me giving even when the economy is down. Never will vision be more important than in stressful economic times. Several years ago, I coined this truth: Good Vision Trumps Bad Economy!”
Now we find ourselves in similar times with a challenging economy and an uncertain future. The economy does impact giving, which is why you need to utilize the connecting power of vision to trump this bad economy.
Let’s first start with what is vision. My friend, Herb Buwalda, came up with what I think is the best definition. He says, “Mission,” answers the question, “Why are you here?” “Vision” answers the question, “Where are you going; What is God asking of you now to impact the mission?”
To successfully use the connecting power of vision, always run your appeals through what I call …
The Three C’s of Vision – Your vision must contain these three C’s in order to be heard. Your vision needs to be:
- Clear – Remember, Keep It Simple Somehow!
- Concise – Can people repeat back in two to three sentences what you are asking them to give to? If not, then you need to work on the “ask.”
- Compelling – Does it touch their heart? If not, then the response will be less than you hoped for.
I feel we have often made casting a vision more difficult than it needs to be. We have focused more on making vision statements cute and catchy. I think finding your vision is much simpler than we have made it. I believe it comes down to what is in your heart.
Vision starts in your heart. David had a vision to build a temple. He cast that vision in I Chronicles 28:2, which says, “King David rose to his feet and said: “Listen to me, my brothers and my people. I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark…”
Let me ask this question for you about the vision you are trying to connect your people to. Does it burn in your heart? If not, then it will not burn in the hearts of your people. You can’t cast a vision for that which doesn’t burn in your heart.
At the same time, your donors need to hear how your vision is worth giving to. You must speak up for that vision! I am reminded of Paul’s words to the Roman church where in Romans 10:14, he writes, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” When it comes to giving, how can they give unless someone preaches to them the importance and impact of giving? Remember my old Brooks mantra…
Get a story, work your story, tell your story, and people will give to support your story.
Stories are what touches the heart of a donor. To gain that first gift, you must make the connection of how a dollar given at your church makes the world a better place. One of the best ways to do that is to tell the story of what your church is accomplishing for the Kingdom. Stories illustrate your mission and vision.
Your story is your vision in action. I’ve stopped asking church leaders to tell me about their vision. They typically gave me their pithy vision statement. Instead, I started asking them to tell me about their story. They now share their heart and their dreams.
Your vision, aka story, better be good to be heard above the roar of everything coming at your members. Why?
“People are bombarded with more than 3,000 marketing messages every 24 hours.”
This means you must use your vision to increase giving.
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach
- Building a Storybrand, by Donald Miller, Harper Collins Leadership, 2017, page 230