Denis Greene is a stewardship author and Executive Director of The Church Development Foundation. He gets right to the heart of things in his article, “Seven Ways to Instantly Increase Church Income.” Here are the highlights:
1. Conduct an annual stewardship campaign – Surprisingly, more than half of all congregations don’t conduct an annual stewardship or financial commitment program. But those who ask their members to prayerfully consider and write on a pledge card the amount of money they think God is asking them to pledge, then build a budget based on that amount, raise three times as much 1 as those who just receive offerings.
2. Retain an envelope service – An envelope service will mail a set of pre-printed, dated offering envelopes each month to the homes on your list. You can add special offering envelopes, as well. A business reply envelope can provide an increase up to 27% over pledges without it. The cost of such a service is about $5 annually per giving unit for twelve mailings.
3. Launch EFT for donations – Giving by Electronic Fund Transfer makes giving simple and consistent for the giver. The church doesn’t miss out when people go on vacation or miss a Sunday. Greene says the cost is about one dollar to set up an account and 25 cents per transaction.
4. Plan your next crisis well in advance – Generous responses to help the victims of tsunamis and hurricanes give an important perspective. When there’s an emergency now, leaders ask for a donation to directly alleviate suffering. A national survey on giving patterns found that most donors would increase their giving significantly if asked.
5. Preach about stewardship quarterly – “We need a regular diet of scriptural wisdom to help us plan our financial lives,” says Greene. Preaching about stewardship only before asking for a pledge doesn’t fill that gap. We need to hear about heroes of our church’s past, and be reminded of those who gave before we came, so we could benefit from today’s ministries.
6. Remember the church in your will – In every bulletin, newsletter, and publication we hand out, say, “Please remember the church in your will.”
7. Be a servant leader – This has everything to do with vision. A servant leader helps the individual and community move toward growth and positive change by constantly talking about the vision for your church, publicly and privately, and helping everyone find their place in it.
What helpful, practical wisdom! Pick one you’d like to try, and “just do it!”
Your partner in ministry,
1 – Greene cites the book Money Matters for this figure.