Rethinking Church Fundraising
Fundraising often feels like a dirty word to anyone serving in the nonprofit arena (cue the photos of starving dogs serenaded by Sarah Mclaughlin). This is unfortunate because so many organizations and churches are doing amazing work that should be resourced.
Let’s dive into some simple thoughts that can help rewire the way we, as leaders, feel about church fundraising.
1) Church fundraising is spiritually significant.
Many leaders view raising money as a necessary evil so they can get back to doing the work they care about.
If this is you, here’s something to consider:
The reality is, your work with people giving to your church is just as important as the causes you serve and outreaches you conduct. Let me say that again for everyone in the back…the people benefiting from your organization’s work include both the recipient and the one giving.
2) If you feel guilty about asking for money, people will sense it.
People often feel weird about asking for money. If you’re awkward in the ask or shy away from the topic, it introduces doubt in the minds of anyone you approach.
Be confident. Your congregation’s work represents an opportunity…not a burden.
3) Just because you’re sick and tired of talking about a church fundraising campaign does not always mean it’s time to switch things up.
We need to remember that just because we’ve shared about our homeless shelter or clean water project eight hundred and forty-nine times doesn’t mean everyone else has too. Keep reminding your audience of the problems you are solving because they are constantly being bombarded with messages and likely need to hear it again…even if you told them before on your website or during your announcements.
4) Givers are people, not numbers.
Lean into building actual relationships with the people who make your mission happen. They’re giving for a reason- find out why.
Sure, tithing is a goal outlined in Scripture. But if you take the time to talk to people, you’ll likely hear reasons beyond “I feel like I’m supposed to” that compel them to support the work you do. Simply pausing to listen or leading with open-ended questions can spark clues about how to better serve your giving base.
5) Your generosity efforts need to be in lockstep with your marketing and outreach.
This is easier to coordinate when it’s a small team, but harder to find time to do it well. In larger churches, it’s easier to divide up the work but harder to all stay on the same page. No matter where your organization finds itself on this spectrum, it takes effort.
The bottom line is, without giving there’s no money coming in, without the marketing, there’s a lack of adequate collateral to offer your church family, and without outreach, there’s no compelling reason to give in the first place.
6) Data is a story begging to be heard.
Just because it doesn’t come in narrative form, doesn’t mean that your analytics aren’t telling you something. Listen close enough to hear what your data is telling you.
Change is worth it.
Spending time working on your fundraising approach often feels unattainable with so many other things on your plate. I completely get it. The pay off is well worth it, though.
If you put in the work & change your approach, you’ll become a more informed leader, better decision-maker, and, most importantly, the advocate your cause and donors need.
(If you’re not a member, but would like to check out some of our courses, you can take the free church marketing assessment & test-drive our courses for a limited time!)