Don’t Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper

At the Learning to Turn our Cups Over seminar on Saturday Reverend David Bell offered many wonderful challenges and insights.  One of them in particular really resonated with me.  He pointed out that if people make donations to help people, we as churches should emphasize that in all of our stewardship communications.

The next time you get a quarterly newsletter from a nonprofit you support financially read it cover to cover.  Think about how that organization, based solely on the information in that newsletter, changes people’s lives.  Now take the newsletter from your church and do the same analysis.  Is there any evidence at all that your church does this work?

Start a file of all of the correspondence you receive from nonprofits.  Throw in newsletters, solicitation letters, thank you letters, response envelopes, annual reports, any printed material that seems to come out of the public relations office or fund raising office. 

As you begin to plan your stewardship campaign dump the file out on the table and invite your committee to read through the collection.
· What seemed particularly effective?
· Did anything rub you the wrong way?
· What did you read that would make you want to make a donation?
· What is being done to make it easier or more convenient for you to make a gift to that organization?

Then consider what lessons your church can learn from this analysis.
I would never say that church stewardship and other fund raising are or should be the same.  But there are certainly lessons that we can learn from what others are doing.  And the reality is that many of your members will equate the two.

Nonprofits spend thousands of dollars to research what is working.  What should we be learning from them?

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