I had the privilege of attending the Stewardship conference yesterday in London town. If you’re not already aware of Stewardship they’re a great organisation that seeks to inspire greater generosity and to make giving easier. There were a whole host of great presentations and I thought I’d share some of the things I’d learned (or been reminded of):
- Generous giving springs from gratitude and delight in the abundant generosity of God, who though rich became poor for us – 2 Cor 8:9.
- Generous giving is an act of worship – a blessing, not a curse.
- Giving is a theological statement, and our bank statement is a theological document – it tells us who Theo is!
- You can take it with you – 1 Tim 6:19.
- We will each have to give an account to Jesus for what we’ve done with that which he has entrusted to us – Matt 25:19.
- All of it (not just 10%) belongs to God.
- The widow’s mite is not just about how much is given, but about how much is withheld.
- People give to concrete and tangible things – so make it clear why the money is needed, and where it’s going.
- Make it manageable – For the price of 2 coffees per week you might be able, together with others, to fund a new staff worker (eg. £5 per week = £20 per month = £240 per annum x 100 giving persons/units = £24k pa).
- Make a budget that is proactive not reactive.
- Younger generations give in ways that are different to their parents – think digital. 16% of charitable giving happens online – and this is growing at a rate of ~10% per year. 14% of online giving done through mobile devices. Think about things like justgiving.net, PayPal, etc etc.
- We need to encourage our children to be generous – who knows which of them may be the philanthropists of the next generation
- Find a way to encourage people to do an annual review of their giving.
- Make it easy to give – offer multiple channels.
- 80% of your giving probably comes from 20% of your people, and 10% probably comes from 2-3 individuals. That means you have some with the gift of giving who are glad to be asked for help. You also have those who could give but haven’t – you need to find some mechanism of finding them and asking (with all the necessary left hand/right hand caveats).
- New people can make the biggest difference. 10 new standing orders will probably generate more than 100 people raising their existing standing order by 5-10% (obvs not an either-or, but a helpful reminder to encourage new members to get on board early on).
There was plenty of other food for thought and I’d encourage you to check out their website – stewardship.org.uk. Please do share other thoughts and ideas on how we can respond more generously to God’s grace, and better resource God’s work.