October 2nd, 2014

Getting Million Dollar Ready – Post 2

light image 1This is the conclusion to my previous post. If you missed it, please click here.

4. The larger your support base and size of your organization, the greater your opportunity for transforming gifts.

This is both a statement of quantity and quality. The larger the church, the more members you have to give. The larger visionary needs you present increase your chance at receiving key gifts. Donors do measure their gift size based on the size of the need. Smaller and medium size churches rarely have multi-million dollar needs. If your church does have a multi-million dollar need, a key donor desires to participate, but not personally write the project off.

Every church regardless of size and need has the capacity to increase the size of gifts. It is not uncommon for me to interact with a church where 50-60% of its annual gifts are less than $1,000. If you are personally giving $100 to $1,000 annually to a non-profit, you believe in its cause and are involved in its mission. When I see these numbers I am typically in a church that is not in an impoverished zone or struggling locally with massive unemployment. Their constituents have nice homes, cars, and jobs. They just have not been discipled towards financial freedom and the generous life. If you want to increase both your average gift size, number of donors, and volume of larger gifts, you need to create a comprehensive discipleship strategy for all members.

5. Increased investment in staff and long tenured staff.

The healthier the staff is the better. The staff needs to be committed to each other and the long-term vision of the church. Silos and competition are not your friends. When a staff is supported, trained, and continually refreshed it will have positive results. Your business plan should provide for bonuses, raises, and upward mobility within your organization. If a staff member has to leave to discover a more personally rewarding position, it will consistently hurt your organization.

While generosity strongly rests on the desk of the senior leader, a wise pastor will inspire, invest, train, and support his staff. Each staff member should be a powerful visionary in his/her own right. They should have significant relationships with key leaders, and be able to strongly support the over all generosity ministry of the church. Most staff live as if the pastor needs to preach more about money and the administrator needs to keep others from spending so much. This is a very narrow view of stewardship.

6. A healthy financial position produces a future.

The church is not a for profit business, however it needs to demonstrate the highest level of financial success. Churches that consistently spend less than they receive, have a growing amount of cash reserves, and are readily generous to causes beyond their own institutional gain are in a great position to expand their influence. While key donors are viewed as having an excessive amount of resources, they are highly evaluative where they invest. They are not interested in losing money any more than you are.

Be public about how you run the business of the church. Have policies, practices, and consistent results that are worth sharing. There are churches that actually run their business so well that they pay cash for major projects, are prepared to respond to emergencies, and never find themselves in a negative financial posture.

7. Create a dynamic experience for attenders and members.

The leadership culture and financial practices are critical, but we should not overlook how important the weekend experience is to the donor. The proof is in the pudding so to speak. The most powerful ministry for the local church is its weekend worship experience. It needs to be positive, truthful, and life giving from the minute people drive into the parking lot. We all know the difference between the environments of a fast food chain and fine dining experience. The intangibles of the environment matter in the quality of the meal, training level of staff, and willingness to linger are all real experiences.

Interestingly, Auxano put together a vision document some time ago about how to correctly measure the success of a financial campaign. I am so glad our thoughts years ago aligned with the results of the research. To receive a free download of “Measures of a Great Campaign” click here.

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