4 Ways Churches Fail When It Comes to Asking for Money

4 Ways Churches Fail When It Comes to Asking for Money

August 1, 2016 by

Nobody likes to ask for money. But let’s be honest, your church needs money.

Whether it’s for a leak in your roof, a mission trip to Honduras or everyday maintenance and salaries, there will come a time that your church will need to ask for money. But how?

When you ask your members for money, you risk making them feel guilty, pressured or downright uncomfortable. Depending on the language you’re using, you might unknowingly be dishing up a piping hot side dish of guilt.

Instead, your goal should be to serve a main course of motivation, with sides of fulfillment and growth. But how do you know if your online giving language is currently hurting more than helping?

1. Come Out of Left Field

Tell the congregation exactly why this fund is a reflection of the work you do in your church family.

It can be a real turn-off when your church asks you for money and leaves you wondering, “Why do you need money for that? How did that happen?”

For example, if your church resides in a suburban or rural area, but chooses to donate to a cause deep within the inner city, your members might think this missed the mark for your overall mission.

Maybe your church usually only gives to causes in the local community, and this seems to have come out of left field.

Instead, when asking for donations, explain to your church why it’s not a random cause that your church is supporting “just because.” Explain how your members have been called upon by God to help an inner city mission that was where you pastor grew up or where a local farm is selling produce.

Bring the random into the real. Tell the congregation exactly why this fund is a reflection of the work you do in your church family. Connect the dots for them!

2. Be Vague and Unclear

Don’t be afraid to give extra details about your church project and how it aligns with your mission.

Similar to the last point, when in doubt, give more info.

“Please give, it’s Christmas time,” simply isn’t clear enough. Neither is: “We need to fix the electrical system in the church.”

Instead, don’t be afraid to give those extra details about your church project and how it aligns with your mission.

Tell your church, “For the Christmas season, we want to give funds to the gift drive. These gifts will be given to underprivileged children from our neighboring school and make them feel special, loved, and their families will be able to celebrate the holiday with less stress.”

Or say, “The electrical wiring project will cost about $500. Your $50 donation will bring us 10% closer to having a well-lit house of God.”

This extra information is what makes your church members feel closer to the church’s mission, and will make them feel more fulfilled by their donation. They’ll be able to see exactly what impact their donation has, dollar for dollar.

3. Always Sound Urgent

Before you use urgent language, ask yourself if this need is actually urgent.

On the other hand, do you ever feel like there’s always a need for electrical wiring? Or that there’s always a leak in the roof, the siding always needs to be fixed or there’s always somebody in trouble to support.

If it seems like you are constantly airing issues that need some quick attention from your church members’ checkbooks, it’s easy for your members to start seeing your requests as white noise rather than real emergencies.

When you use words like “right now,” “urgent” and “emergency” for the majority of your communication, they are going to stop listening altogether.

Instead, save these announcements for real emergencies. Before you use urgent language, ask yourself if this need is actually urgent.

Plan ahead for financial situations or church maintenance that could be taken care of in a savings fund. Don’t leave drives and annual mission trips to the last-minute—plan ahead and get the pieces in line so it’s not funded the week before.

Plan your offering needs in advance so you can stop sounding like the fire alarm is always going off.

4. Don’t Actually Ask at All

It’s OK and necessary to keep your church’s needs and giving opportunities in front of your congregation.

While most of your members will already (hopefully) be regular donors, you’re doing yourself and your members a disservice by never offering additional opportunities for giving.

Your funding will stay pretty static unless you make the growth opportunities clear.

Instead, ask! It’s perfectly OK and necessary to keep your church’s needs and giving opportunities in front of your congregation.

Talk about it in-person and online, and while it may be a bit uncomfortable at first, don’t hesitate to mention it often.

Just remember that it’s about much more than just moving money from point A to B—it’s about giving your members the opportunity to strengthen their relationship with their church and further your overall mission through church giving.

Next Steps

It’s time to change the way we talk about money in the church.

It’s time to change the way we talk about money in the church. It’s time to ditch the guilt, promote transparency, and get specific about how tithes and offering accelerate our missions.

Let’s start planning ahead with our fundraisers, telling our church family members exactly where their money is going and tie that directly back to our shared purpose.

Improve the way you ask and talk about online giving in your church by implementing these ideas. And if you’re ready to take it a step further, ramp up your tithes and offering with an all-in-one giving tool.



Post By:

Joanna Gray


Joanna manages the blog for Ekklesia 360, keeping up with best practices and providing useful tips and tricks for church communicators. When she's not church blogging, she can often be found out exploring her adopted hometown of San Diego, hunting donuts or working on her novel.
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