Supporting and Celebrating Every Form of Holiday Generosity
November 2, 2022 |
The holiday season brings out the best in everyone. It’s a time of reunion and rejoicing, celebration and thankfulness, both in your community and your church.
But the end of the year carries a fair amount of stress, too. Your church members will be hosting parties, taking vacations, buying gifts for family and friends—all of which stretch bank accounts to the limit. And this year, with an economic downturn on the horizon, your congregants may be tightening their belts even further, preparing to weather the lean times to come.
While every church encourages and appreciates the influx of donations toward the end of each year, it’s more important than ever to support all forms of generosity during the holidays. With your members’ wallets feeling lighter than usual—not to mention the radically different ways younger generations choose to express generosity—you can do your members, your church, and His Kingdom a huge service by facilitating and amplifying all their efforts to express generosity this year.
Generosity Through Time
We talked about all the ways the holidays can stress church members, but what about the pressure and strain on your church team? You have so much to plan and implement in the coming weeks. But, as they say, many hands make light work.
Your congregation will never be more willing to give their time to your church than during the holidays. What’s more, once they’ve experienced the joy, fulfillment, and community that comes from helping out during Christmas, they’re much more likely to continue volunteering in the future.
Engage those willing to serve as soon as possible. If you haven’t started planning your program and events, communicate that you’re actively looking for fresh voices to help brainstorm and organize this year’s holiday festivities. Let your church family feel ownership over the process, and watch their enthusiasm and commitment launch to the next level.
Cast a wide net when asking your church members to be generous with their time—but stay mindful that congregants prefer to show generosity in different ways. Identify trends within your church: Which demographic signs up for the most responsibilities during the year? Is there a small group that enjoys working together on specific projects? Do you have several new members at the beginning of their faith journey, who may be enthusiastic to get involved but haven’t yet found the right task or community? Use what you know about your church family to engage them how they want to be engaged.
Above all else, make sure that everyone’s experience is fulfilling. Over 30% of church volunteers serve in order to grow their relationship with Christ, and they’re trusting your leadership to put their time to good use. Elevate their volunteer experience by making sign up and scheduling a straightforward process, clearly communicating all the details they need, and sincerely thanking them for their generous service.
Generosity Through Talent
Your community is full of people with expertise, passions, and skills that bring tremendous joy and value to those around them. However, many of those who would willingly share their talents with your church aren’t able to do so on a regular basis.
Christmas is the perfect time to bring them into the fold. Initiate a back-and-forth conversation about how a member, or even an occasional guest, could share their God-given gifts with the community this holiday season. Lay out the needs you’ve identified, how they’re especially equipped to contribute, and make this special request of them as hassle-free as possible.
On the flip side, if you’re inviting someone outside your church family to participate in this year’s festivities, remember to consider the identity of your congregation. Do you have a large children’s ministry? Bringing in a guest teacher or children’s performer could be a hit. If you’ve noticed a trend in your church’s small groups—anything from choir to watching football—reach out to someone in the local community who can contribute in that lane. And remember to stay mindful not just of their schedule, but of your own capacity to host and support them as well. You might think twice about inviting a talented local cook to help prepare meals on a day your kitchen’s scheduled to be overflowing with volunteers!
Everyone is more willing to share their gifts this time of year. You’ll never know if you don’t ask—and, once again, if you create an easy, fun, and fulfilling experience, they’ll likely continue to be generous with their talents in the future.
Generosity Through Treasure
Of course, preparing to support all forms of generosity includes financial gifts. Most churches receive between 25% to 33% of their annual donations between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Even if you’re planning to put extra effort into supporting those graciously sharing their time and talent, you can’t afford to neglect those giving treasure this holiday season.
First and foremost, be honest with your members. While talking about money is uncomfortable for many leaders (it shouldn’t be!), you should help them understand that the funds you receive during the holidays carries your ministry through the slower months, and be transparent about what those funds will be used for. This is a great chance to point to everything they’re accomplishing through time and talent in the community this holiday season, and reinforce that treasure is an integral part of that work.
Also ensure your members are aware how simple you’ve made giving, and all the different channels through which they can contribute. A streamlined digital process for the givers also simplifies the accounting for your team—including generating end-of-year statements and sending personalized thank-you notes—and will free more time for the work you’d rather be doing in the community.
One of your primary goals this holiday season—as it is all year long—is to build community and engagement with your ministry. So ensure that those who choose to share their generous spirits, whether through time, talent, or treasure, feel supported throughout the process, fulfilled by their efforts, and acknowledged for their sacrifice.
As always, we at Pushpay are here to help you with your mission. Take a quick self-guided tour to see some of our latest tools in action, each designed to elevate the efforts of your church, and all your members who choose to give generously this holiday season.