With Generous Hearts: How to Gather Resources for Your Church, Church School, Church Agency, Chaplaincy, or Diocese

With Generous Hearts: How to Gather Resources for Your Church, Church School, Church Agency, Chaplaincy, or Diocese

by Barbara L. Holliman

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Running a successful fund-raising campaign is a lot like walking on a tightrope -one false move and everything could come crashing down. But with the right focus, preparation, and resources, along with the willingness to work hard to achieve the goal, churches, church schools, dioceses, and other institutions can make their fiscal visions reality.

With Generous

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Running a successful fund-raising campaign is a lot like walking on a tightrope -one false move and everything could come crashing down. But with the right focus, preparation, and resources, along with the willingness to work hard to achieve the goal, churches, church schools, dioceses, and other institutions can make their fiscal visions reality.

With Generous Hearts provides professional guidance to help parishes and dioceses avoid the pitfalls and obstacles that project leaders will face, and lays out a cohesive plan for a victorious drive. This expanded edition includes new material on the discernment phase of a campaign, annual stewardship campaigns, raising funds for college chaplaincies, and establishing church-planned giving programs.

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How to Gather Resources and Funds for Your Church, Church School, Church Agency, Chaplaincy, or Diocese

By Glenn N. Holliman, Barbara L. Holliman

Church Publishing Incorporated

Copyright © 2005 Glenn N. Holliman and Barbara L. Holliman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8192-2166-7


Increasing Philanthropic Competition: The Challenge for the Church

We in the united states are a generous people. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, citizens were giving away almost $250 billion a year to charities, churches, public hospitals, museums, schools and colleges, and myriad other not-for-profit organizations, and this in spite of economic uncertainty and the war on terrorism. Approximately 36 percent of this bounty goes to church and religious causes.

While this number is certainly impressive, it doesn't tell the whole story. In the early 1990s, 47 percent of all American charity went to churches. In blunt, secular terms, religious giving is losing market share in the United States, challenging us in the church as never before to gather resources for ministry.

We're used to doing that. As Americans and as Christians, we are heirs to a great tradition. Ever since our ancestors stepped off the boat, we have been trying to build that "city on a hill," that elusive Utopia. Whenever a challenge emerges in our society, we organize and form a group to attack that problem. It is who we are as a nation, influenced deeply by Judeo-Christian values.

Efforts to fix all the problems, though, and particularly by giving money to solve them, creates "donor fatigue," too many agencies and good causes chasing after the same donors. In the United States, there are nearly one million "501c3" (the Internal Revenue Service designation for a not-for-profit agency) organizations, three times the number of not-for-profits just a generation ago. Approximately 40,000 new 501c3s are created in the United States each year, an incredible compliment to the generosity and idealism of the American people, but the trend indicates the staggering reality of increased philanthropic competition. Individual churches, independent schools, lobbying groups, political organizations and dozens of other agencies, clubs, and charities all add up to an estimated seven million organizations that troll daily for our dollars.

A century ago, the church was almost the only "charity" in town. The Salvation Army had yet to fully establish itself, and relatively few colleges, museums, and hospitals dotted the country. The Boy and Girl Scouts of America and Goodwill agencies didn't yet exist. All of this has changed, and the competition for charitable giving will only intensify. We cannot assume that church members will continue to support the church as fully in the future as in the past. Many thoughtful people believe that they are also doing God's will by supporting counseling centers, homeless shelters, and schools in their communities.

Understanding the Basics of Fund Raising

To position your church, ministry, church school, or charity in this myriad of competing not-for-profits, it is important to know the basics of financial resource development. Fund-raising activities include four types: Annual Giving, Capital Campaign, Planned Giving, and the Special Event.

Annual Giving. For a church, this refers to donations placed in the collection plate each Sunday morning, which finance the ministry and other programs and services that church provides. Churches generally conduct an annual pledge drive and count on commitments made at that time, as well as on additional gifts given during the year. Independent schools, colleges, charities, and other not-for-profit organizations seek similar donations by mail, telephone, and special events in order to underwrite annual budgets. Few churches or nonprofits could exist without this committed and continuous giving.

The Capital Campaign. Churches and other charities occasionally need additional funds for maintenance, remodeling, restoration, or church expansion. Supporters are encouraged to make capital pledges, usually for three years or more, in addition to their annual commitments.

Planned Giving. Supporters give extraordinary gifts in a number of ways:

* bequests in wills, the most common type of planned gift

* life income gifts such as a pooled income fund, charitable remainder trust, or a charitable gift annuity, which allow donors to receive income from principle, and tax deductions (At the death of the final beneficiary, the remainder principle goes to the church or charity.)

* life insurance, either as a beneficiary or contingent beneficiary

* real estate, including the life estate, which allows the donor life time rights, including a tax deduction, to a home, farm, or vacation home; at death the property passes to the church or charity.

Planned giving is one of the fastest growing areas of resource development in North America.

Special Events. Churches, charities, and political organizations hold high-energy, labor-intensive fund-raising events such as auctions, bazaars, bike-a- thons, barbecues, festivals, and other activities to supplement the annual budget or underwrite a capital drive. Although these activities build cohesiveness and strengthen bonds of friendship and commitment to the organization, a special event can never be a substitute for a comprehensive annual-giving drive or capital campaign.

Six Fundamental Steps

Raising funds, of course, doesn't happen without some effort and attention to detail, as the story of my first capital campaign in the introduction illustrates. Imagine the annual giving program or capital campaign as a wheel or a circle with six points—the real "wheel of fortune."

With the wheel in mind, imagine that you are a member of St. Swithin's parish and you are considering ways of increasing your congregation's ministry resources.

The "Real" Wheel of Fortune

1. Identify the need or opportunity, the urgent and compelling cause for which funds are required. What ministries and services are being or would be supported? For instance, perhaps you need to develop a nursery for child care, or you have a space that can be renovated for that purpose. Maybe you need more classrooms for church school, or seed money to begin a new family service.

2. Identify the potential donors within your constituency who can financially respond to the need, such as members of the congregation and those in the community who might support outreach services.

3. Communicate the need. Inform and involve those people who might have an interest in your ministry or program. You might, for instance, decide to run articles about the needs in the church newsletter, or invite the congregation to various events to hear about the potential programs. Do not assume that everyone understands or comprehends the ministries and programs involved. Seek advice about the proposed program from those who will be asked to contribute. People give when they have a sense of ownership.

4. Ask for a gift or donation to address the urgent and compelling cause.

5. Say thank you to those who have made donations or pledges. As a church, we are woefully remiss in expressions of appreciation for annual gifts.

6. Continue the process by identifying needs and opportunities, sharing basic information, inviting people to participate, and remembering to thank them for doing so.

Successful annual stewardship, annual giving, capital campaigns, and fund- raising programs follow this "wheel of fortune." Organizations such as major universities, hospitals, museums, libraries, and charities employ highly skilled, experienced professionals with sizable communication budgets to identify prospects and encourage gifts. Conversely, most churches, even larger ones, lack a development or stewardship officer to encourage gift giving to ministry, but that doesn't mean that churches can't be successful in raising funds.

A successful capital campaign or any fund-raising program depends upon communication, organization, and execution. You don't need a large, highly paid development department to make these a reality.

Ladder of Fund-Raising Effectiveness

At our office, we shudder when the phone rings and the caller says, "We're trying to raise several hundred thousand dollars. We wrote everybody a letter but raised only a few thousand. What did we do wrong?"

Though there are a variety of possibilities, in all likelihood the fundraisers neglected to prepare the congregation for the campaign. It is doubtful that they conducted a feasibility study, which is a formal survey to determine the congregation's readiness to participate financially in the proposed campaign. In addition, they apparently ignored the Ladder of Fund-Raising Effectiveness. This helpful tool reminds leaders to invest their campaign energies and time wisely. The top rung of the ladder is the most efficient way to raise funds; the bottom rung demonstrates the most inefficient.

One-on-One. There is no more effective fund-raising tool in the world than simply asking face-to-face: "Will you join me (or us) in giving?"

Small Group Gatherings. Leaders can also share their ideas at small group gatherings, perhaps hosted in a private home. This method offers a friendly way to publicize visions of building projects or even annual church stewardship efforts. It can be very effective in that it saves calling on people one-on-one. The downside of this activity is that solicitors are not able to meet and ask individuals privately to consider the appropriate level of individual giving.

Large Group Meetings. This less effective method brings a broad range of people with various generosity levels into a single setting—someone might pledge $1,000; others may be capable of $25,000 or more. It would be more productive to call on the potentially large donors individually and ask them to consider one of the leadership gifts. It is impossible to do this when they are sitting with a group, such as at a large, festive meal. Be aware that most groups have individuals who can respond at different levels of generosity based on where they are in their financial lives, and choose the solicitation technique accordingly.

Telephone Call from Committed to Committed. We do not recommend a telephone call from one committed person to another as a means of soliciting major gifts, but it is often done because it is convenient. This certainly happens with smaller gifts. Someone might call and say, "I gave $1,000 last year to your cause. Can you give $1,000 this year to my cause?" A request for $10,000, $100,000, or more requires a private, personal meeting. Telephoning is effective, but not nearly as effective as a personal visit. It is important, though, as part of follow-up.

Letter from Committed to Committed. Further down on the ladder of effectiveness is a letter from a committed individual to another committed individual.

Letters are best followed up with telephone calls as they frequently sit unopened or forgotten on desks. E-mails can be deleted, accidentally or otherwise. Our experience indicates a multi-fold increase in gift support if telephone calls quickly follow the letters or e-mails. Letter writing is better suited for smaller gifts and is not a substitute for the personal calls required for major gifts.

Committed Person to Uncommitted Group. Less effective is an impassioned person asking an uncommitted group or assembly to consider giving. Leaders of charities and political groups often must communicate to uncommitted groups the importance of their cause.

Telephone by Committed Person to Uncommitted Person. Next would be a telephone call to an uncommitted person by a committed person. These calls are usually made at the dinner hour because people are more likely to be home.

Letter by Committed Person to Uncommitted Person. Most of us are used to receiving this type of solicitation. If you are a college graduate in this country, you receive about three hundred requests a year to give your money away. Most of these requests come by mail with some form of literature. You are probably receiving requests by e-mail as well.

Print Media. These are the ads in newspapers and magazines asking readers to clip out a coupon or call a toll-free number to make a gift. This particular technique generally isn't used by churches.

Audio and Visual Media. Last would be requests made through radio, television, or e-mail, asking donors to call a toll-free number and make a gift. More and more, national charities, as well as national denominational ministries, are using Internet websites to encourage gifts.

In this ladder of fund-raising effectiveness, the farther up the ladder you go, the higher the chances of receiving a sizable gift. So when conducting a capital campaign or even an annual stewardship drive, focus energies on personal calls and small group meetings. Just writing a letter may be adequate to finance the church budget, but not so for a capital campaign. Don't repeat the mistake that I made decades ago by just dropping an impersonal letter in the mail to prospective donors.

With some understanding of these basics, we are ready to explore more fully the three "donation" streams or legs that enable resources for ministry. Imagine a three-legged stool.

Resources for Ministry

Chapter Two will cover the first of these donation streams. Additional chapters will address the capital campaign and the planned giving programs.

* * *

Although the message in this book is generally directed at church resource development efforts, we have included specific chapters dealing with diocesan, church agency, college chaplain, and church school capital campaigns. We close the book with some thoughtful words on what to expect from your architect by a good friend and Episcopalian, Kenneth Graves of San Antonio, Texas, an architect himself.


Annual Giving for Churches: Your Annual Stewardship Campaign

The gifts we make weekly, monthly, or as a total amount annually to our churches are the foundation of the mission and ministry of the church. Without the faithful giving of members, the work of our churches would grind quickly to a halt.

Annual giving continues to increase in the Episcopal Church, rising to over $ 1,700 per giving unit in 2003.

This "average" annual gift has moved steadily upward through the decades. According to published figures in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, it is the highest "average" annual gift of any mainline Protestant denomination. The Department of Stewardship and Development at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City, TENS (The Episcopal Network for Stewardship located in Wichita, Kansas), and many talented diocesan and parish stewardship officers have helped move the denomination forward in this area. Continuous training for lay and clergy leaders, provided by the above groups, and numerous printed resources have offered valuable guidance on how to encourage and upgrade annual giving.

Of course, much work still remains. For too many of our churches, annual stewardship drives consist of two sermons in November and an impersonal letter. We can do better than that. We normally recommend a three-part program for annual church stewardship drives, a process that can greatly improve your results:

1. Share a year-round theology of what it means to be a committed Christian steward.

2. Prepare and communicate a mission-driven budget.

3. Ask effectively.

A Theology of Stewardship

We all have a theology. We demonstrate this theology in how we spend our lives and what we give of ourselves and treasure to our families, friends, churches, and charities. As retired Bishop William Burrell of the Diocese of Rochester has often said, "Your checkbook can reveal a lot about your spiritual life."

Preaching the gospel each week could be considered an invitation to stewardship, but most of us need more guidance in sharing. Too often our checkbooks reveal our pursuit of material goods, and too little investment in sharing with others, charities, or the church. Giving to the church enables the sharing of the gospel and the ministries and programs for which our churches are responsible.

A number of year-round stewardship programs are available through the church press; examine them and select the process best for your church culture. Our personal understanding of giving begins in Scripture. Genesis 1:1 lays it out perfectly: "In the beginning God created ..." Here we learn that we are creatures, not the creators, and all life is a gift from God. In celebration and thanksgiving we must share our lives and this creation with others.

Leviticus 27:30 introduces us to the suggested level of giving: "All tithes from the land, whether the seed from the ground or the fruit from the tree, are the LORD'S; they are the LORD." The tithe remains woefully out of sight for most Americans. Generally, only 2.6 percent to 3 percent of the national income is given to not-for-profits.

Excerpted from WITH GENEROUS HEARTS by Glenn N. Holliman, Barbara L. Holliman. Copyright © 2005 Glenn N. Holliman and Barbara L. Holliman. Excerpted by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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