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Generosity

Resources

5 Resources
book
Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity
This personal finance book addresses generosity and faithful stewardship by beginning with...
book
More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity
This lifestyle guide explores the themes of excess and generosity present in daily habits, and...
web resource
Equipping Leaders: Stewardship
This webpage for stewardship resources offers a steady flow of new reflections, articles, and...
book
Not Your Parent's Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship
This book teaches leaders how to cast a vision of generosity that empowers congregations to...
media
How Online Giving Helps Fund Ministry
This webinar shares data, trends, and practical strategies to transition to online giving.

About the Contributor

Contributor
Beth McKee

Beth is the Center for Congregation's chief financial officer and director of internal operations. Beth is also an elder and deacon in the Presbyterian church.

Cultivating Generous Congregations

When people think about religious organizations, they often think about charitable groups.. At the same time, religious groups do still have overhead expenses that they likely need to cover. Religious groups may need to pay rent or mortgage on the building they operate in. Some congregations might also need to provide monetary compensation for the people they have on staff. Finally, if religious groups are planning on traveling to an outreach event or a conference, they may need to also cover travel expenses. Even though it is true that congregations often function like charitable organizations, they likely still need to bring in money. That is why religious leaders might want to think carefully about how they go about cultivating generous congregations.

There are many religious leaders who are wondering how to raise money for ministry. Unfortunately, expenses have also risen for religious leaders. In the past, religious buildings might have consisted of nothing more than an isolated room with someone standing at the front. Now, though, many people will expect more from their religious organizations. For instance, many people are looking for groups that have a live band, while others might be looking for groups that simply have nicer seating options. This means that there is likely more pressure being placed on the wallets of churches than there ever were in the past.

As a result, religious leaders might need to think carefully about how they can convince members of the congregation to donate more money, as there can be a balance between asking people to donate for money and demanding that they contribute. Therefore, it can be good for religious leaders to think carefully about how they can strike this balance. What are a few ways religious leaders can raise money in the modern era? What do religious groups need to keep in mind? Fortunately, there are multiple options available for religious groups that are looking for ways to raise money.

Church Fundraiser

Perhaps one of the first options religious leaders need to keep in mind is a church fundraiser. There are plenty of church fundraising companies that may be willing to lend a hand to religious groups that are looking for help; however, religious leaders likely do need to be careful here, because some of these fundraising companies may simply be looking for ways to take advantage of religious leaders who may not know any better. Other fundraising companies may take a portion of the donations as a form of compensation. It can be a good idea for religious leaders to understand exactly what the agreement is before they actually sign on the dotted line.

Some religious leaders may be looking for another name for church fundraisers, and there are plenty of options available out there. For example, some religious leaders may want to hold an auction of some sort. Other religious leaders may choose to call them “giving campaigns”, where religious leaders try to see how much money they can raise in a certain amount of time. Other religious groups might regularly hold something called a “lock-in” for children, where parents essentially donate money to the congregation in exchange for having the religious leaders watch their children for the night.

These are just a few of the ideas religious leaders might need to think about, if they are trying to organize a church fundraiser. Today, it might be easier for religious groups to raise money if they are able to accept donations online. That way, everyone has multiple options available, making it easier for them to donate. If religious organizations are able to figure out how they can effectively raise money, they may be able to cover their expenses for upcoming projects and trips, as well as hire more people for the administration team. Of course, the first step might be convincing members of the congregation to donate money. How can they do exactly that?

Religious Fundraising

When it comes to religious fundraising, there is perhaps a lot that religious leaders might want to think about. First, it can be a good idea to think about tax implications. Because of the separation of church and state, the vast majority of religious groups are exempt from paying taxes; however, religious organizations do still need to make sure that they file the right paperwork. Prior to accepting donations, religious groups may need to apply for tax-exempt status from the government. That way, they will be able to know that they do not have to set aside a portion of the donations to cover taxes.

At the same time, religious groups perhaps also need to think carefully about how they are going to use the money that they collect in donations. For instance, using this money to fund religious outings, cover repair bills, and pay members of the staff should likely be okay. On the other hand, though, if religious groups decide to take the money and go out and purchase a boat or a plane, this is likely going to raise some eyebrows. In order for religious leaders to learn more about the implications of raising money, it is a good idea to take a look at some of the resources that are available on theCRG.

In addition, religious leaders likely also need to be ready to provide members of the congregation with a receipt of their donation. This consists of a charitable donation on behalf of the members of the congregation. Therefore, religious groups may need to provide receipts to those who donate, because they will want to apply for a tax deduction on their taxes. Religious groups should perhaps also be willing to provide their nonprofit or tax ID number to people who donate. If members of the congregation know that they could qualify for a tax deduction, they may then be willing to donate more money. Even though this is perhaps not the most exciting topic in the world, religious leaders might still need to think about the tax implications of collecting donations, as they might be able to use this to help make more money.

How Can Churches Make Money

There are some religious leaders who may be wondering, “how can churches make money?” Fortunately, there are multiple options available. For example, a lot of religious leaders still like to take the old-school approach. During the services that take place, they may pass around the offering plate. Then, people will place money on the plate. Or, they may place a check on the plate. As it goes up and down the rows, people may feel compelled to donate if they see other people giving money. This is one of the most straightforward ways in which religious groups can collect donations; however, many people do not carry cash today, and therefore, this may be a difficult way for religious leaders to raise money.

Because the offering plate may no longer be the best way to make money, there are many religious groups that are beginning to get creative. For instance, some groups have begun renting out certain rooms in the building. If there are other people who would like to use a specific room in the building, religious leaders may be able to charge rent. This can be a great way for religious groups to cover rent expenses, mortgage expenses, and other overhead expenses. At the same time, religious leaders likely do need to think carefully about this, taking care that they do not rent out the room so often that they do not have space for their own events.

Finally, some religious leaders can also make money by speaking at other events. There are a lot of people who love the oratorical skills of religious leaders, and may therefore be willing to provide compensation for religious leaders who are willing to speak. Even though this may not be the best way for religious leaders to make money, it could still be a great way to bring in a few extra dollars. Ultimately, there are lots of options available for religious leaders who are looking for ways to make money. They simply have to be willing to get creative.

Church Fundraising During Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has had a massive impact on individuals and families everywhere, as well as on religious groups. Unfortunately, when money gets tight for individuals and families, the first thing they often cut out is usually going to be their charitable donations. As a result, a lot of religious groups have seen their cash flow grind to a halt. Therefore, they have had to get creative during the pandemic.

Particularly for religious leaders who rely on the offering plate to bring in money, the pandemic could have been particularly difficult. For example, a lot of people who used to put money in the offering plate are no longer able to do so, because these religious groups are no longer meeting in person. Because of this, religious leaders have had to get creative when it comes to raising money during the pandemic. A lot of religious leaders have figured out ways to hold services online. At the same time, religious leaders may want to speak with experts who can help them figure out how to add a button at the bottom of the screen. That way, people will be able to donate money online during the virtual service.

It may also be important for religious leaders to try and figure out how they can accept multiple forms of payment. It is true that a lot of people would prefer to pay online using a credit card; however, some members of the congregation may not know how to do so. Other members of the congregation may prefer to pay using Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal instead. This can be an important functionality that religious leaders may need to include. Finally, religious leaders should perhaps also take a look at resources that are available on theCRG. For instance, they may be able to figure out how to hold an auction online. This represents yet another way to help raise money for the church.

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