7 Generosity Seeds Every Church Should Sow in 2022
“How to grow generosity.” It’s a common theme among churches and the giving platforms that serve them. If there was an easy formula for growing generosity, however, someone would have found it by now. Sustained generosity certainly doesn’t come from offering online giving. Or an annual sermon on tithing. And not even from the various fundraising or stewardship tactics churches attempt.
Generosity is a Result
Think of it this way: The fruit of the Spirit reveal the Spirit’s work in us. They’re not a to-do list. In the same way, generosity manifests as a result, too. It is caused by a series of effects. Our Year-End Giving Ask article listed 7 critical factors that influence generosity:
- Gratitude + trust in God
- Sense of belonging
- Financial health
- Conversations about generosity
- Giving preferences
- Being moved/inspired
- Feeling appreciated
- Being asked
In that article, we focused only on the importance of ASKING for a gift and showing its impact. (With “being moved/inspired” defined as “showing impact.”)
But truthfully, other than the combo of gratitude and trust in God, no one factor moves the generosity needle on giving on its own. As you can see, the church can’t control some of the factors. But they are things you can speak into.
If you’re serious about truly fueling this important spiritual discipline in 2022, you must proactively address these topics:
Gratitude and Trust in God
Gratitude and trust are two different things. It takes both to unleash a true spirit of extravagant generosity. Gratitude can start as an intentional practice that quickly bears fruit. But growing trust takes a lifetime. It’s a two-steps-forward-three-steps-back kind of venture at the core of their spirituality. It should be an ongoing topic of discussion that giving, paradoxically, helps to grow trust.
Some churches address this trust issue around giving by inviting givers to participate in becoming Generosity Rockstars. This program seeks to grow giving through small, regular commitments. The givers’ beginning micro-goals provide an easy low barrier to start moving toward generous giving.
Sense of Belonging
The benefits of belonging have been well studied. Bonds with other people and supportive social networks impact happiness. Feeling connected to others can be a protective factor against stress and depression. (Source)
When givers feel invested in a cause, they more willingly invest financially in it. Their level of engagement with the church (attendance, participation, volunteerism, being ministered to, and giving) correlates directly to how much ownership they feel to the church. It’s a virtuous cycle: Investing produces feelings of belonging; belonging encourages greater investment.
Connecting people to the things they care about means knowing what they care about. As churches grow and the culture grows more digital, they must use the tools available today to nurture generosity and engagement in this new digital world.
Debt impacts generosity. The most proactive thing churches can do here is offer financial resources such as Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. The course also includes biblical training on tithing and the blessings of trusting God in this way.
Conversations about Generosity
We all know that not discussing sexuality with children sends the message that it’s a taboo subject. Awkward speeches can do that too. Parents don’t have to say anything negative to achieve that result.
Similarly, money is an emotional, often-taboo topic. Giving must be discussed in non-awkward ways. You must actively recognize and celebrate giving as an act of worship between the giver and GOD – not the giver and the church. The minute it feels like a financial transaction, not a gift, you’ve gotten off track.
Givers must hear the language of a spiritual discipline that grows trust in God. They must sense it is a celebration and an opportunity to band together with other believers to grow the Kingdom. Some churches do this by modeling generosity. Perhaps the church “tithes” — intentionally giving 10% to an outside cause — and invites members to join them in this. Or they donate a full week’s worth of tithes and offerings to a specific mission. And they publicly discuss the church’s finances, such as goals to stay debt-free.
Some people connect giving to worship more readily when they can drop a check in the offering plate.
Others won’t give any other way than online or through their phone. Sometimes text-to-give is the handiest way to give in the moment. (Our client data backs this up: Text-to-give gifts given during the video announcements nearly equals web gifts given throughout the week.)
It’s important to offer multiple giving options. But sometimes, those methods can feel like paying a bill. Your giving experience must deliver the conveniences they expect (and eliminate the barriers that cause them to slam on brakes). 83% of gifts begun on charitable websites are abandoned due to these 5 “deadly sins” of online giving.
The number one reason people don’t give? They don’t know the impact of their gift. (Source)
We’re so sold on visually demonstrating impact that we created the only giving platform with visual ministry designations. This feature fulfills givers’ need to understand impact. It connects them to their passion via familiar browsing, searching, and selecting items based on beautiful images and meaningful descriptions.
You cannot thank givers too much. It’s so vital that they feel seen and valued, no matter how much their gifts are. There are many ways to do that, and you should try them all. One of the easiest ways is through a giving system that allows you to customize messaging to personally fit givers based on their giving behavior. For example, a first-time giver receives a welcome message and information for getting plugged in.
Our Ministry-First Approach to Generosity guide contains 26 ideas for showing appreciation to every kind of giver, from first-time to major givers. Remember, however that while saying thank you is important, we all know words can feel cheap. So show your appreciation by demonstrating that you know your givers (and want to know them better).
Many church leaders aren’t comfortable making a direct request for money. But it’s key to engaging some givers. Simply ask, “Would you consider a gift to help us [impact]?” Or “Would you consider making a recurring gift so we can be consistent in serving [impact] throughout the year?” (Including the impact along with the ask is, of course, vital.)
How Vision2 Helps
Vision2 helps churches plant seeds in most of these categories. Our platform excels at helping you know your givers and connect with them more personally.
Schedule a demo of Vision2 today.