We all know that moment when the announcement is made that it’s time to tithe. Baskets get passed around and maybe there’s a bit of an awkward silence, or the band adds some music to make it a little less uncomfortable. So often the ask is jarring, taking a person out of their prayers or shifting their focus from the sermon. Sometimes that ask is made toward the end of service, thrown in just before the parting song, almost as an afterthought or obligation.
Besides, no matter what happens during the ask, people are going to give the same amount. Right? There are so many factors such as family circumstances, the economy, and more, that influence someone to give. All of those things are outside of the church’s control, so the church is just lucky to get whatever is leftover, right?
Don’t let your ministry be an afterthought.
Asking for money is uncomfortable, but asking your community to share their generosity doesn’t have to be. By spending just 10 minutes a week planning out your giving ask you can increase generosity in your church. Properly asking someone to give to the church takes time, planning, and reflection to be successful.
Here’s what you need to consider when writing your giving ask. (Just want examples? Click here.)
How to Write a Giving Talk
1. Structure your talk
The giving talk is a time to be thoughtful and prepared. Structure your giving talk around a story about your church or community, a piece of scripture which your church is currently engaging with, or a statistic that is relevant to your community. By basing your giving talk in something that the community is familiar with and cares about, you will be able to help transform their generosity from something that they are required to do, to something they feel called to.
Here are some points you should weave into your giving talk.
Telling a story about your church may not come naturally to many people, but this will be the most effective way to connect with your organization. By telling your members how their gifts have helped in the past, or what their gift today will go to in the future, it helps personalize the gift and engage members.
Statistics are especially compelling. Have some statistics on how people’s giving impacts individual people, the church, and the community on a whole? Highlight them. Talk about the children adopted each year, people fed, and clothes purchased for those in need. These numbers help focus people’s attention on the work done by the church and encourages more organic, joyful generosity.
Always circle back your talk to what the scriptures have to say about generosity. Don’t take it for granted that your congregants know how God feels about giving—reinforce those pivotal verses each opportunity you get. Here are 20 Bible verses about generosity you can pick from when crafting your giving talks.
2. Be clear and direct
$292.09 billion were donated to charity in 2018 in the United States. $124.52 billion were given to religious institutions. People want to be generous, but they don’t give unless they’re clearly and directly asked.
It’s important not to skirt around the subject since this will make it more uncomfortable than it needs to be. No matter how you structure your giving talk, make sure it is clear that now is the time for giving.
3. Mention all the ways to give
Not everyone wants to give in the same way, but people may not know of all the other options of how to give. Remind people of where to give in your church app. Tell people the number and keyword for your text to give options. Point out the kiosks at the back of the church, or the envelopes in every pew. While this may seem repetitive as your regular churchgoers presumably already know all of this information, you never know who is new in your congregation this week, or who maybe forgot their checkbook and is looking for a different way to give.
By outlining all of the ways a person can give it creates an inclusive atmosphere for both regulars and newcomers.
4. Have a call to action
This is similar to being clear and direct, but it is about including a very specific call to action at the end of your giving talk that instructs givers on what to do next. It can be as simple as “If you’re a guest, we would love if you drop a connection card in the baskets. If you’d like to give, then feel free to use the envelopes in your seat back and place your donation in the baskets as well. If you are a regular member now is the time to make a gift through the app, on your phone, or via text.”
Tell people exactly what to do and how to do it. This gives them the reassurance that they are following the directions. This also is a great way to wrap up your giving talk so you can pray and then move on to the next part of the service or be dismissed.
Remember: Pick the right person
Not everyone is the right person to give the giving talk. Also, the same person should not present the giving talk each week. Here are a few people who should have a regular voice in front of the congregation each month.
- The lead pastor: As the leader of the church, he or she should be able to tell the story of the ministry and provide legitimacy to the giving ask.
- The assistant pastor: When the lead pastor is not available, the XP can step in to present a different angle on giving and highlight aspects of generosity that the lead pastor may not normally address.
- A volunteer or community leader. Let one of your own trusted community members explain why generosity to the church matters to them. You can coach them beforehand, but let them tell their own story. These types of asks often connect even better with communities because it is coming from one of their own.
A few well-positioned giving talks helps nurture generosity, but that’s not all your church should be doing to teach and encourage healthy generosity.
For more on nurturing generosity in your congregation, download the free ebook, Teaching Your Church To Give, today!