Churches are not alone in struggling with financial insecurity and the challenges of fully funding ministry plans. The world is an increasingly uncertain place. So, traditional ways of leading no longer fit our ever-changing society. Unfortunately, what you know from the past is no longer your guide for the future. As a result of this dynamic, the Horizons Stewardship created a free digital magazine.
Horizons specially crafted The Generosity Advantage for church leaders. Moreover, the free digital magazine aims to provide churches with relevant insights. We all know the world has changed. You need not look further than what happened during the pandemic. It seemed that in an instant, church members shifted from in-person attendance to virtual church services. As you probably guessed, we don’t predict it will return to what we know. So, how do church leaders deal with all these big structural changes?
We live in a time when people are more connected than ever due to technological advances. But there's also a growing sense of isolation as they spend more time online. As online communication dominates our lives, trust in institutions continues to decline. But this serves as an opportunity for church pastors and leaders who can adapt. The reality is people want to feel a connection. And it's through their churches that they could find the community they crave.
Moreover, church financial insecurity is on the rise for many reasons. With declining membership and attendance rates, churches need new strategies for how fundraising. Churches must find new ways to inspire their congregations. As you’ll discover in The Generosity Advantage, we'll share insights you're not reading anywhere else when you subscribe. So, let's explore what this free digital magazine can do for your church.
Churches Don’t Have Expert Capacity
To successfully tackle church fundraising challenges, church leaders must first understand their issues. Unfortunately, some churches cannot effectively address these issues because they lack expertise in fundraising strategy. For instance, financial leaders don’t have a deep knowledge of how that area’s evolved. In the past, churches were community centers where members gathered to support each other and solve problems together.
But as things became more specialized, fundraising became a technical task. Rightly, although not codified, it's viewed as an area for an expert professional. Still, the result is that many church leaders today don't understand the fundraising process in detail. They may feel they’re not well equipped to lead their church through annual giving or a capital campaign.
How Inflation, Digital Tech, and Changing Norms Impact Church Fundraising
Inflation is driving up the cost of everything, including church costs. Moreover, as noted in the inaugural issue of our free digital magazine, giving has to increase by 8% to keep up. Further, those churches with unpaid debt will be squeezed tighter. In short, they have increased costs for expenses and debt service.
The reality is that our entry into the information age only pushed us quicker into a brave new world. A transformation is underway, including how people give. As a sector, over the last 50 years, the number of people giving to their churches fell by half. So, it’s vital for today’s church leaders to adapt. As explained in greater detail in The Generosity Advantage, we’ll explore 3 ideas here you’ll read by subscribing.
1. Scrap Your Boring Annual Campaign
As the annual campaign becomes increasingly dull and uninspired, it loses its ability to inspire generosity. Unfortunately, some church members view church fundraising as nothing more than a nuisance. Still, the annual campaign is vital for thriving churches. The reality is that the annual campaign should be exciting and inspire people to give more. With new norms and transformation, there are new paths for church leaders. One of the most exciting ways to transform the annual campaign is with the principle of generosity. (Read more below).
2. Why Financial Leaders Don't Give More
Church leaders should not only consider how to inspire their members to give more. They should also think of why financial leaders don’t give more themselves. Could it be a lack of trust in church leadership? Is there a lack of clarity regarding how money gets used? Is there transparency and proper financial oversight? Or perhaps there’s a lack of inspiration? People need the inspiration to feel their money would make a difference. They want to know that their generosity helps the church continue its work in the present and future. So, it's vital for church leaders and fundraisers to connect the mission and impact. People want to see how their money is making a difference. And when they feel everything aligns, that's when their generosity increases.
3. Generosity is the Next Big Thing in Giving
Church fundraisers need to understand the mindset and motivations of their donors. Fundraisers need to know why people give and what inspires generosity to increase giving. The traditional view about giving is transactional. People give because they want something in return (e.g., a tax deduction, prestige, etc.). The mindset about generosity, however, is transformational. People don’t give because they want to get something out of it. Instead, they want to be a part of something bigger. This is especially important when there’s so much negative news and people increasingly distrust institutions. Generosity is a way to inspire trust in people and create a community people crave.
It's Time to Reimagine Generosity as a Central Fundraising Principle
If you want to learn how to improve church fundraising, it’s time to reimagine generosity as a central fundraising principle. To increase giving, church leaders should make generosity central to their mission. In other words, church leaders should inspire generosity among members. It's not complicated. Even minor tweaks help transform a church to address today's needs.
For instance, church leaders can show members the impact of their gifts. They could also create opportunities for members to engage more meaningfully with the mission. So, that means making ministries relevant to peoples’ lives. People want to feel like their generosity makes a difference. Moreover, they want to know their generosity is appreciated. Therefore church leaders need to make giving easy and accessible. But, they have to do it with the core principle of generosity threaded through every activity, including in offering talks.
Transformation Through The Generosity Advantage
Yes, we know things have changed. However, it doesn’t have to overwhelm church leaders. Again, change could be a tremendous opportunity—even if it might not seem so on the surface.
Discover new opportunities, trends, and insights with the Horizons free digital magazine. Subscribe to The Generosity Advantage. And for even more information regarding church finance, fundraising, and leadership, look at Horizons Stewardship Giving365.