After growing 7.7 percent in the first nine months of 2010, compared to the same period last year, overall contributions to charities and churches are expected to fall to $104.18 billion in the final three months of the year, down 1 percent compared to the same period last year, according to a new forecast.
What, if anything, can or should churches do in preparation for year-end giving? In addition to the things that I included in my post earlier this year, 11 ways to turn year-end statements into dollars, I believe there are three ways churches should respond:
1. Talk about it. Communication theory teaches us that until we speak it, it’s not real. This is true in interpersonal relationships as well as the relationship between an organization and the donor. That’s why marriage counseling places a high emphasis on talking and listening. Churches should be in constant dialogue with its membership, both individually and collectively. Don’t expect the person in the pew to know the same details or live with the same sense of urgency the church leaders does.
2. Do something! Stop wasting time in staff meetings talking for hours about what you COULD, MIGHT, or HOPE to do. Do it! Take action. Try something. Whether or not the predictions for year-end giving are strong or weak, churches still have to compete with the more than 1.2 million nonprofits who want the share of mind and share of dollar of the person in your pew.
3. Present a plan for impact. Treat the person in the pew as a potential shareholder or investor in your ministry. Put together a plan that offers them confidence in your ability to transform the dollars given into measurable ministry impact. The organization (not necessarily the church) who presents the best plan will get the dollar.
Don’t let the money God intended to fund his church go to fund anything but Kingdom growth.