3 Reasons Why People Give to Your Church

If we want people to give, we need to understand why they give in the first place. For far too long churches have been ignorant and mistaken about this and, as a result, been ineffective at connecting with people’s hearts…

3 Reasons Why People Give to Your Church



If we want people to give, we need to understand why they give in the first place. For far too long churches have been ignorant and mistaken about this and, as a result, been ineffective at connecting with people’s hearts and wallets.

1. People give to make a difference
People give to make something happen not out of obligation or pity. They want to make the world a better place – to be salt and light in the world and live lives of real consequence. Because of this, they naturally respond to a compelling vision.

How do you present a compelling vision?
• Understand that as a church we only have one product to sell – changed lives. Jesus’ principle challenge wasn’t to “study me” or “admire me”, but to “follow me”. It is impossible to separate obedience from action. The Great Commission, Great Commandment, and everything Jesus taught on the Kingdom of God all have to do with deliberate action. If the salt has lost its flavour or the branch no longer produces fruit it is to be thrown out.
• Present a clear action plan on how we’re specifically going to change those lives. What are we actually going to do? How is this going to make a difference? Is this relevant, realistic, and feasible? The more specific and clear our plan of action the more people will get behind it.
• Describe an emotionally compelling cause. The best way to do this is to make it as personal as possible. “We’re going to reach 14% more people” is impersonal. “We’re going to reach more people like Sandy, a 16-year-old girl who was baptized here this February”, is personal. Sharing personal testimonies that touch the heart is essential.
• Offer a heroic role for the giver to play. There is a natural inclination to make ourselves the hero of the story – resist this temptation. This isn’t about us, it’s about them and their next step in following Jesus. They are men and women created in the very image of God, on purpose, for a purpose. We’re asking them to put on their capes and be the heroes God created them to be.

2. People Give Because They Trust You to Get the Job Done
People don’t often give to strangers – they give to people they trust. This is why building relationships is the most effective way to motivate people to give their time, talent, and treasure.

They have to trust your vision. Are you a leader with a reasonable action plan and strategy? Are you presenting them with a clear opportunity for impact? If not, then it’s priority one that you become that leader or pass the baton to another who is.

They have to trust your leadership and capacity to get the job done. What is your track record? What have you done so far? Are you stagnant or growing as a pastor and leader? Having a compelling vision is one thing, inspiring people to believe that you can deliver the goods is quite another. The best way to develop this is action, not words. Promises of the future must be based on the results of the past.

3. People Give Because They Trust the Organization
People do not give to lost causes. They don’t want to waste their hard-earned money investing in a sinking ship. This is why appeals to pity so often backfire. If you present the church as ineffective, sickly, and dying you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Instead, we need to tell the story of what exciting things we did with their gifts last time, and what we’re going to do if they give now. When we inspire confidence in the team and the organization people will give. Of course, once they give, you’re going to have to put your money where your mouth is and deliver real community impact.

Many churches have complained that they have not been recognized as an “essential service” during the Covid-19 crisis. However, the cold hard fact of the matter is that many churches are little more than religious country clubs that care only for themselves – this self-centred religion is anything but “essential”. However, there is hope. If your church hasn’t been essential to the community in the past, now is an excellent opportunity to change that.

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