Generosity and a deep appreciation for all God has given to us are at the heart of our faith. We serve a generous God who gave His only Son so that we might have life in all its fullness. He longs for us to share this generosity with others.
Often we are hesitant to ask for financial donations and are not always clear about the needs of our parishes. We know that people want to help, but don't always understand the impact they can make by giving generously to their church. We need to ask our supporters for help, make clear how their financial giving can support the mission of our church, and thank them for their contributions.
The Anglican Giving Survey highlighted two important findings to support these actions:
- almost half of those surveyed would give more if they understood the impact of their giving
- most people would increase their church giving to help their local community.
Here, we explain how you might run a giving campaign in your church. This includes materials that you can use to ask your supporters for help, make clear how their financial giving can support the mission of your church, and thank them for their contributions.
1. Understanding your parish's financial situation
To prepare for your campaign, you first need to understand the culture of giving in your parish and your financial situation. Consider the following:
- How would you describe the the culture of giving in your parish?
- Do we encourage people to give reguarly?
- Do we formally thank our regular supporters?
- Do we preach or talk about giving and generosity?
- Are we clear about the financial needs of our parish?
A very helpful self assessment checklist is available from the National Giving Team. Take time to go through each point to consider all aspects of giving in your parish.
- How much do you currently receive through regular and occasional giving in your church?
- How does this compare with your outgoings? Is there a shortfall?
- Can you set a target amount of income that you would like to reach at the end of this campaign?
Answering these questions will be much easier if you have a budget. Everything you need to help you get started is available here Budgeting
2. Asking for help
We should not shy away from asking our church members to review their giving or consider moving to regular donations. Nor should we assume that people will respond without prompting: we have to ask, explaining the need for their support and the vision to which they are contributing.
Why not send a letter to the members of your congregation and consider producing a brief leaflet to give out to those attending?
The letter and brochure at the links below aim to make it easy for you to create materials that you can give to members of your congregation. They explain the importance of giving, ask that your supporters review the amount they donate, and explain how to commit to regular giving.
3. Saying thank you
The Giving Survey also found that less than one-third of Anglicans say they are regularly thanked for their giving. An annual thank you letter is a fantastic opportunity to show appreciation for the generosity of your community, share how their donations have helped in the mission of your church, and encourage them to review their giving for the year ahead.
Some churches include the total amount a person has donated over the past 12 months and the amount the church has received from Gift Aid. This is entirely optional.
Please feel free to edit to suit these materials to suit your needs.
Giving campaign leaflet
A printable version of our step by step guide to running a giving campaign is available here.
Giving in Grace
Giving in Grace, developed by the Diocese of Liverpool, is a website containing a fully resourced stewardship campaign.
The website uses thoughts and reflections from the Bible on giving and generosity and blends them with practical guidance (including downloadable documents) on how to run an effective stewardship campaign at your church. The website offers tools including:
- Templates for letters and information leaflets
- How to follow up on responses from your congregation and local community
- Financial analysis assistance
- Writing a case statement
- Preaching and small group teaching resources
- Case study examples from other churches
The Simple Giving Programme for Smaller Churches
This is a simpler stewardship campaign, particularly designed for smaller or rural/village churches, and is available via the Parish Resources website. It includes:
- Communicating with church members
- Guidance on whether your church should hold a presentation event, to involve the wider community
- Resources and templates
The Parish Funding Programme
This stewardship campaign works well with most churches and it is also available via the Parish Resources website. It provides a variety of information, including:
- Developing and communicating a church’s vision
- How to encourage church members to support a church’s mission and vision.
- Resources, template documents, and other tools
Giving, Generosity and Thankfulness self-assessment toolkit
There are some fantastic resources within our ‘Giving, Generosity and Thankfulness self-assessment toolkit', including:
- PowerPoint slides and facilitator’s notes for church leaders to use at church planning away days and PCC meetings
- A review document containing questions and activities to explore a church’s current position
- A spreadsheet for PCCs to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a church’s current finances
The toolkit is a resource for your PCC to meet and reflect on your church's shared experience of giving, generosity and thankfulness.
You should come away from your self-assessment toolkit with the steps necessary to increase generosity and thankfulness. These plans and activities need to be recorded within a strategy document or a Mission Action Plan (MAP). You can find out how to create one of these via this webinar. With this, your progress can be regularly reviewed within your PCC meetings.