By Gina Calvert

Create Goodwill With First-Time Givers This Holiday (or Any Time of Year)

As we enter the holiday season, your church may meet a few new first-timers who may become first-time givers.

Typically, churches look forward to the holiday and end-of-year spike in giving, and this year it may be even more vital. But here’s an idea that came to us from our friends at Central Church: Play the long game with potential new givers by asking first time guests who may be considering a gift to please give a gift to your food pantry.

3 Ways a Gift to Your Food Bank Banks Goodwill for Your Church

A request to give to the food pantry may seem like an insignificant way to garner goodwill, but it could have an unexpected effect:

1. It Leverages the Power of Surprise.

In his book, The Power of Surprise: How Your Brain Secretly Changes Your Beliefs, Michael Rousell’s extensive research revealed that “most formative events take place during a spark of surprise.” He discovered that “surprising events–even seemingly minor ones–produce invisible influence because they open a window to spontaneous belief change with no warning or conscious awareness.” (Source)

Application: Someone is visiting your church. They wouldn’t be surprised to hear about giving. But to hear that it’s not expected of guests – or that if the guest is so-moved – they should give to someone/something else? People are generous, they are often just unmoved or even suspicious of churches. Open a window to change their mind.

2. It Shows Your Charitable Priorities.

Newcomers quietly observe everything about your church. Among other things, they’re looking to see what kind of impact the church is making in the community (and thus, what kind of impact they could make if they joined this congregation).

This ask sends the message that taking care of those in your community is a top priority. Impact, not obligation, is what sows seeds of generosity. This request also just sits better with people who don’t know you yet.

3. It Could Start a Snowball Effect.

You surprised them with your unexpected ask and made a good impression. Now that they’re seeing you through new eyes, who knows where the relationship will go from there? You could end up with a lifetime giver and member worth far more than an obligatory gift from someone just passing through on their way to a church that actually inspires them to stay and join in.

BONUS: If you have Vision2’s media-rich gallery of Give Stories on your giving page (shown to the right), they’ll see all your ministry projects while on their way to give to your food pantry. It could be among the most inspiring ways to get to know your church and discover whether they want to be a part of it.

Ask for a demo of this proprietary feature found only in the Vision2 platform.