Does your church do “fundraisers?” You know, a table in the lobby raising money for this project or that? Or maybe a car wash to help pay for a student conference or something?
Because of a desire not to be “that church” that always appeared to have its hand out, we did not where I served. As a fairly large church (I couldn’t imagine how it was in a large church), we received many, many requests to raise funds for this cause or that. Our answer was always the same, “We don’t do fundraisers.”
We did, however, do “special offerings.” We considered special offerings an important part of the overall Donor Development Strategy. In addition to an annual stewardship series, during which we would talk about getting out of debt, saving for the future, and giving 10% back to God, we planned and executed three special offerings per year. They were Easter, Summer Camps, and Christmas.
Each offering was built into the annual financial plan and was important in teaching people how to give. Sometimes a special cause motivated people who were on the fence about giving to the church. They hadn’t responded to the “general” need, and it took something “special” to compel them to get involved financially.
The 3rd part of the strategy was periodic capital campaigns. There were many examples of families getting behind a capital campaign with a major commitment that would continue to give (even tithe!) after the campaign was long over and the campaign’s goal had been accomplished.
Annual stewardship teaching, special offerings at strategic times during the year, and periodic capital campaigns were like the three legs of a stool. They were all needed to help people get over the hump, learning that giving to the church is an act of worship and commitment to God through the local church.