“Ask, and it will be given to you” – Matthew 7:7
The number one reason people give is because they are asked! Here are some guidelines for asking for gifts in your congregation:
- The more personal the better. One-on-one, face to face, is better than a general “ask” in worship. A personal letter is better than a form letter.
- Be specific. Tell them what you want them to consider for a gift amount, whether that is a percentage of their income or a dollar amount. Ask for an increase, and specify the size of that increase, whether it’s an increase of 1% of income, a percentage increase over last year, or a specific dollar increase.
- Be appropriate to the donor. Segment the congregation into categories. A new member who has never given before needs a totally different approach than a loyal tither. This means you need to know your donors and respect that they are in very different places as to their relationship to the church, ability to give, generosity, and their church background.
- Get it in writing. People who make a pledge on average give significantly more than people who do not.
- Who asks matters. Those who invite giving should be well-respected, optimistic, faithful and generous people.
- Leave the budget at home. People do not give to budgets – they give to change lives. Share the stories of how the church is changing people’s lives.
There are three basic ways in which people financially support the church: Annual Giving, generally given from ordinary income, Planned Giving, as part of estate and retirement planning, and Capital Campaign Giving, as part of periodic church capital campaigns, often from accumulated assets such as investment portfolios, as well as ordinary income. Every church should invite all three types of giving.