Your donors want to support you, but they need to know what you need. They know your parish needs money, but how can you best express this to encourage giving?
Here are some creative ideas for communicating your expenses and their effect on the parish community:
These ideas reinforce your message of need with repetition, making your message familiar:
- Discuss your message of need with your pastor, and ask him to consider weaving this message into his homily.
- Place an advertisement in your bulletin asking parishioners to contribute to a specific initiative. Include a link they can type into their browser that goes to your GiveCentral page. (Try a link shortener to save space.)
- Print up flyers with messages of stewardship and place them around your church, activity hall, and school (if you have one). Time and talent are just as important as treasure… it’s not always about the money, but connecting donors to your community events is shown to encourage giving when the time comes.
- Send an email “newsletter” with messages about your various initiatives. Is your Women’s Club holding a flower sale? Are you raising money to repair the church steps? Is your choir holding auditions soon?
These ideas ask your donors to take action on the spot:
- Make sure to have a prominent link to your GiveCentral page on your parish website!
- Place giving forms in the pews to encourage them to register for online giving. (Make sure to make it clear where the forms should be dropped off.)
- Post helpers at the back of church after Mass to distribute registration cards or instruction sheets for online giving.
- Hold a “Stewardship Table” in the church lobby or entryway to talk to people about online giving. If you can, have a computer or tablet available to help parishioners to sign up then and there.
- Use social media to convey your message of giving! Facebook now lets you post a donation button (only for Pages), and you can also share links to GiveCentral on Twitter. People love photos, so you can share pictures of your events and the results of your campaigns.
- Send a short email with a specific giving request. Include a link directly to the fund you’d like them to support on GiveCentral.
These ideas show, rather than tell, what happens without giving:
- What if you couldn’t pay your electric bill? Turn the lights and/or air conditioning off during Mass.
- What if you couldn’t pay your gas bill in winter? Hold Mass with the heat turned low in the church. (Keep Sunday school and day care warm, of course!)
- What if you couldn’t pay for songbooks? Remove the songbooks from the back of the pews… and consider replacing them with GiveCentral donation forms.
- What if you couldn’t pay for music? Hold Mass with no choir or cantor to lead the parish in song.
- What if the church had to close? Lock the doors of the church one Sunday and hold mass outside.
- What if you had to merge with another church? Have congregations from two parishes attend the same Mass at one church
- What if you could only afford one Mass? Hold just one mass on a particular Sunday (announced in advance, certainly).
- What if you couldn’t pay for printing? Conspicuously remove all bulletins and flyers from the church for one week.
- What if you couldn’t afford landscape maintenance? Consider letting the church lawns grow out, with a lawn sign explaining why.
And as always, remember that your donors want to know where their money is going. Let them know your plans for their donations, and also the outcomes. Show them the great results, and they’ll be encouraged to give again.
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