Encouraging Giving

Theological Basis

The encouragement of giving begins with an acknowledgement that God is the source of all that we have. Our affirmation of God’s benevolence is our response in gifting back to the needs of the community through the church. Stewardship begins in the understanding that we as Christians have a need to give in response to God’s gifts to us.

This differs from “fund raising,” which emphasizes the need of the institution to receive over the need of the individual to give. When we try to motivate gifts out of concerns for a balanced budget we put the church in competition with every other charitable cause and we abandon the real basis for stewardship.

Questions donors need to have answered
Every donor needs to have three questions answered to respond appropriately to requests for giving. A church or agency that provides a timely answer to all three will ultimately benefit from a loyal following that will support the needs.

  1. What do you want me to do?
    The more specific you can be in answering, and the more personal you can make the request, the better the response will be.
  2. What will happen if I do what you want?
    Again, the more clear the answer in terms of ministry, the more likely a favorable response. Having a balanced budget is not a motivator. Feeding the homeless or sending youth to a Christian camp for a week are examples of much better responses.
  3. How will I know?
    Take the time to directly inform the donor that their response to your request made a difference. “We were able to send 12 kids to camp and here is a thank you letter from one of them!” exemplifies specifically that the donor’s response mattered.

Planned Giving Handbook

This resource can provide practical suggestions on how to encourage, manage, and utilize planned gifts given to your church or agency.

The Lewis Center for Church Leadership has also compiled a list of Fifty Ways to Encourage Faithful Giving, based on: stressing the spiritual dimension of stewardship; knowing what motivates giving; knowing givers and congregational giving patterns; providing a variety of ways to give; assisting members in stewardship of their financial resources; developing a year-round, comprehensive stewardship program, and; saying thanks often.

If there are any other questions or comments about encouraging giving that you would like to discuss, please send us an email.