For today’s episode of the Generosity Labs Podcast, Kenny Jahng shares tithing stats within America from an article that he ran across. He talks about tithing and the data that they have from self-surveys regarding tithing. Kenny also talks about the church messaging, marketing and strategy and how it could be better with a few small changes.
Hey there, Kenny Jahng here from Generosity Labs. Find out more details about generosity and giving resources for the church at our website, www.generositylabs.org.
And we are here with another episode of the podcast today. I just want to jump online and I found this interesting article that came across my desk, 21 fascinating tithing statistics and I just wanted to share a couple of them with you, but actually now that I think about it, most of them don’t even matter. There’s a whole great article. What is tithing? Tithing is defined for those people who don’t go to church, you know, they think it’s 10 percent today, that conversation and that definition has been loosened up. There’s Biblical support for it, all this kind of stuff. But when it comes down to it, there’s a couple of things. One, everyone thinks that you need to increase the giving by bringing more people into the church. And you look at the number one type of statistic that they listed here, only three to five percent of Americans who give to their local church do so through regular tithing.
That is kind of crazy when you actually survey people, obviously self reported tithing numbers go up. Number six, when surveyed, 17% of Americans state that they regularly tithe. So 17% say that they tithe regularly, only three to five percent give regular tithing to their church and they’re not even sure what they mean by tithing. They’re just saying regular giving to the church. And so that is kind of interesting. Obviously, you know, the average donations who attended us Protestant churches about $17 a week, which I think is kind of fascinating, that’s really tiny, right? Like you would think that it will be much higher than that, but the average person, if they’re only giving, $17 a week and if you assume that they go every single week, which we know is not the case, the average church goer is only going every other week, every three weeks, every four weeks.
But if they were there every single week, that would only mean $884 per person per year. And we know that’s not the case. And so, that’s really, really concerned some people. Right here at number 13, 17% of American families have reduced the amount that they give to the local church in some way. 7% have dropped regular giving by 20 percent or more. 20% or more. So one of these things that I think is really interesting is that I think that you have the emphasis on the wrong thing, that you have people sitting in your pews and literally the majority of them are not giving regularly. The majority of them are not tithing, even the ones that are giving regular or giving less. And if you listen to our last episode there are some questions that Dan Reiland from 12Stone church actually posted that I would challenge people to do a challenge, sit in the pews the Sunday and try to say yes for every single one of the top responses that people gave for when they give to a cause.
And I would say for the majority of churches, they are not doing a good job at all. In fact, they’re failing to have those answers say yes, yes, yes by anybody who attends the church. And for the most part it’s an easy fix in terms of your messaging, your marketing, and also some strategic, I guess a change in how you’re actually doing your ministry that doesn’t need to have huge overhauls in what you do in terms of your operations, your workflows, your ministries, your causes, all the things, the activities that you’re planning. But if you can tweak them and really think about it and reverse engineer to figure out how someone at your church is going to answer those questions with a yes instead of a no, then you’re on your way to becoming a healthy financial church. There is good news. Number 14 says, in total, about 10 million people actually do donate as tithers to the church and that those 10 million give about $50,000,000,000 annually to the Church and to other nonprofit causes, to the Church and nonprofit causes.
That means you have the ability to influence them and prioritize the church as one of their giving partners. Now 77% of those who people who did give significantly 11 to 20 percent of their income, we’re far more than the baseline of 10%, right? Seventy seven percent of time gave more than they needed to, and there’s a reason why. If you look at those churches in those communities, those leaders, they’re casting vision. They’re making the mission very concrete. They’re allowing people to see the overwhelming sense of purpose in that church every single time they come to church. And so 97% of Christians who do tithe make it their top financial priority, give to the local church. That I think is the fundamental question. How do you take the people that are already in your church, the people that are already giving and up the involvement and increase the commitment and the passion they have for the transformational work that you’re doing in ministry?
Now, there is something to be said about good habits being started from when you’re young. The number 18 says people are more likely to practice tithing when they begin the practice in their teens or early 20s and people tried to regulate typically is less debt than other demographics. This is why a financial stewardship, a debt class Dave Ramsey type of program in your church is something that probably is going to help individuals first, but then the halo effect is that you will receive the benefits as a church, as a ministry, as a community, as you get people out of debt and into a stronger financial position. So, this is one of those things that if you look at this article that there is some really dire statistics here that paint a gloomy picture, but at the same time there’s an interesting trends and interesting facts that Americans are actually giving.
They’re giving their wealth away to good causes are giving their wealth away to from family to family here. One trillion to 3 trillion in wealth will change hands every year within the Christian community, from family to family. A total income of the United States is 5.22 trillion annually, nearly half of the world’s total Christian income. That is amazing. Nearly half of the world’s total Christian income is here, right in the United States. And only three point three to five percent of those Americans who give to the local church do it regularly. So what do we need to do to change the mentality of giving regular financial support and how do we give more of it? There’s, those are the questions you need to start to reverse engineer and start to understand. It’s not about trying to figure out how to bring more people into church through church growth to get more giving families.
It’s really about what do you have in your community now that they’re just making proactive decisions, not to prioritize your church budget over other nonprofit and causes that they’re giving to each year. Now, again, number seven for Christian families making less than 20 percent a year. Eight percent of them gave at least 10% or more. And for families making a minimum of $75,000 more, the figure drops to just 1%. They’re just giving one percent in terms of their tithing to the church. So, there’s a lot to be done, but there’s a lot of opportunity so that if your church is struggling, if your church is one of the 86%, 84%, according to the rocket survey that was done several years ago, 84% of churches are at or below their budget. That means they don’t have any margin for any emergencies.
They don’t have any margin for incremental outreach or spur of the moment ad hoc things they are at or below budget. Only 16% of churches are making their budget or have margin that are raising more money than they spend. And so you got to think of it as, “Hey, there is the answer. It’s right in front of you. It is your community.” But the reason, there’s many reasons why they’re choosing not to give or prioritize your ministry in terms of their giving profile. So I just want to leave that open ended a question with a lot of these stats for this article. Hopefully that’s a conversation starter. I would love for you to comment on the blog or any way that you or anywhere that you were actually consuming this podcast, Youtube, etc. Jump into the comments, share your thoughts and ideas, and let’s start the conversation because this is a critical one as we keep on moving forward to share resources, share best practices on how to help get your church fully funded for your mission and the vision that you have for the ministry in your community.
I’m Kenny Jahng. Thank you for listening to today’s episode, generosity labs podcast. Remember generosity starts with you.
01:46 One, everyone thinks that you need to increase the giving by bringing more people into the church. And you look at the number one type of statistic that they listed here, only three to five percent of Americans who give to their local church do so through regular tithing.
02:13 Number six, when surveyed, 17% of Americans state that they regularly tithe. So 17% say that they tithe regularly, only three to five percent give regular tithing to their church and they’re not even sure what they mean by tithing. They’re just saying regular giving to the church.
03:28 number 13, 17% of American families have reduced the amount that they give to the local church in some way. 7% have dropped regular giving by 20 percent or more.
05:23 Number 14 says, in total, about 10 million people actually do donate as tithers to the church and that those 10 million give about $50,000,000,000 annually to the Church and to other nonprofit causes, to the Church and nonprofit causes
09:15 number seven for Christian families making less than 20 percent a year. Eight percent of them gave at least 10% or more. And for families making a minimum of $75,000 more, the figure drops to just 1%. They’re just giving one percent in terms of their tithing to the church.
If you ask any pastor, if they would like to see growth in giving by their congregation in 2019, I doubt many would disagree or shy away from that outcome.
If you ask most pastors what is the status of their giving with respect to their budget and actual needs, again, most would answer that their dreams for ministry are greater than the offerings and times collected via the offering plate.
A good portion of churches “need” more funding, not just “want” more funding.
This next year, somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 churches will have to close their doors.
Lack of strategy or intent regarding finances is one of the major reasons churches are struggling.
Here are 3 THINGS TO FOCUS ON IN 2019 TO CULTIVATE A CULTURE OF GIVING
1. Your church needs to adopt a cause.
One of the big things many churches have lost his their outward focus. Many churches do have outreach activities and support missionaries, but don’t have clarity around it and positioning it all as a core part of its identity. Every church needs to hang this shingle so it’s people can identify with this behavior or outward generosity.
2. You need to plan on sharing of stories of impact regularly.
Where did the money go? How did it help? You need to ensure there is a FLOW of stories being shared with your congregation so they connect their giving behavior with the outcomes.
3. The pastor needs to see all giving activity.
The leadership needs be fully involved with the church’s financial activity. This is because financial stewardship is a discipleship issue and without knowing and supporting financial health, a church isn’t doing its job of helping its people to fully worship through daily living.
Also, no church can maximize its impact without understanding when it can invest in ministry opportunities and when there is less or no margin available.
Those of the first three things every church needs to reconsider at the beginning of the year. Without these three fundamental approaches, it will be difficult to install a culture of generosity in the community.
One of the most common comments or hesitations that I hear from church leaders regarding adopting credit card giving pertains to credit card transaction fees.
Typically the price you pay for being able to take credit cards is usually about $.35-$.50 per transaction plus somewhere around 2.9% of the actual transaction amounts.
Ask any CFO, they hate that much money leaving the church without any other options.
Today, I had a chance to visit another church in my area.
They had a woman host the announcements and offering part of the Order of Service.
This church does offer texts to give as an option, but curiously did not push it or even mention it from the stage. So that’s not the part that they are doing well.
But I did hop onto their giving page which was printed on their giving envelope available in the back of seat pockets.
There, they had a FAQ list that stuck out when I was scanning the page:
WHAT THEY ARE DOING WELL
The question they decided to include asked:
Will 100% of my online giving go to the church?
And then they used that opportunity to explicitly list their transaction fees for taking credit cards online.
I think this is a great tactic to help address the internal concerns that usually come up arguing that by offering online giving, you will end up giving up a significant chunk of it to fees unnecessarily.
SIDE NOTE: This base argument is a fear-based and scarcity minded approach. Experience shows that overall giving increases as soon as they pull the trigger in offering credit card based giving options. You will receive more giving incrementally than the 2.21% utilized to receive funds through that channel.
WHAT THEY CAN DO BETTER
While it was great to be transparent about the transaction fee so that some supporters will proactively use other methods to maximize every penny of that goes to the church directly, I don’t believe it is then only or best counsel they can provide.
Pushing people to go to a physical check or cash methods in order to eliminate 100% of transaction fees seems odd and very shortsighted.
Instead I would reword that FAQ to contrast credit card giving versus ACH giving (giving via echeck). For this church, that’s only a 0.64% fee. Saving over 71% of potential transaction fees.
PLUS, most leaders don’t consider the cost of collecting cash and checks, sorting, counting and sending someone to physically deposit them. It doesn’t seem that you could do that for less than 0.64% of the cash & check collection amounts in most cases.
So I would also use it as an opportunity to reinforce the option of recurring. electronic giving.
Regardless, the tactic to appreciate here is how they explicitly shared the specific transaction amount credit cards would trigger.this allows them to present the options in the way that’s not guilt infused and puts the options in the hands of the giver.
Did you know that 41% of regular church attendees give to church consistently?
That’s less than half of your congregation. Alarming isn’t it?
Listen as Kenny Jahng discusses the State of the Plate of generosity amongst churches far and wide and how church leaders can bring solution to your weekly giving.
Check out the video below.
Hi there, this is Kenny Jahng with the Generosity Labs Podcast. Thank you so much for joining us today. One of the things that we have been getting questions about recently around here is the actual demand or the question really is do people really want to give outside of the offering envelope in terms of cash or cheque. Because one of the biggest rants that I’ve been having around here, Generosity Labs is that churches are stuck in the Stone Age, don’t understand that envelopes and cash are just not relevant anymore to most of the peoples that walk in their doors. And so I just want to refer back to an important, I guess landmark industry report that comes out on a periodic basis. It is the State of the Plate. And today I wanted to go through Brian Kluth’s work there, where they surveyed almost 1600 pastors, church leaders and lead people across the country. 1,596 people to be exact. And the survey asked these pastors, leaders and lay people’s from churches of all sizes and the types of churches varied as well. And one of the things that, the whole point of the report is to report on their church giving patterns and practices and I think we can learn a lot from just looking at some of the data that has come out of the State of the Plate report. I think the next one is going to be administered too. The latest report that we have is coming out at the end of 2016, but I think if you wanted to name this, it’s really the reality, the church giving is the name of the theme or the takeaway, right? It’s basically a way to Paul, to the church. Here’s a infographic that we produced in cooperation with a title State of the Plate.
And It’s what to call out some numbers that just struck me as we built this infographic. First one is 59 percent, so the majority of churches out there, if you are sitting in a church or you’re a church team or staff, 59 percent chances are you’re one of them. 59 percent of churches report declining or flat line giving. That’s in contrast with another study. I think it was by Giving Rocket at one point said 84 percent of churches are at or below budget. That means only 16 percent of churches have any sort of financial margin to do ministry beyond what they’re planning. This report here also says at 20 percent experienced giving decline of five percent or more. And I think they looked at five percent as being significant, right? So if you’re giving year after year is declining at a rate of five percent or more, it’s something to be concerned about if you’re not able to turn that pattern around, something’s going on with your giving behavior and that’s pointing to something deeper in the culture or DNA of your church, so that’s a gloomy outlook to begin with. Almost 60 percent of churches are declining or flat lines and 20 percent are actually saying, Whoa, we’re going downhill. We’re not just maintaining what we have, we’re actually going downhill. That means that you know, in 10 years you’re going to have a major issue, If you’re not doing anything here in five years and even in two years, 10 percent less money in the staff budget, in the ministry budget, in the outreach budget, and the missions budget that is something to take seriously right now.
Now let’s look at what’s happening on a Sunday, regular attendance, and we’ve all been talking about this for a couple years now and it becomes louder and louder. Regular attendance to a church no longer means that I go every Sunday. That’s what people are telling us in this report is confirmed. One third of members actually do not attend church on any given weekend. So if you’re looking at a church and you see their attendance numbers, you’ve got to think that those one third that actually are not here on any given some of the, you need to look at the larger community that this church might be responsible for and say that, wow, this is only two thirds of the people there. One-Third aren’t their peers, the bottom line this is the problem, that zero is the amount of giving received from people who missed church, especially if there no digital giving options available. That’s what has been happening in churches historically, right? If people don’t come to church or if a church is cancelled for some reason, whether it be weather related or anything else, and then you’re giving goes down for that month. And so that’s a critical problem but here on a normal, regular basis, one third of your members don’t attend church in any given weekend. That’s significant shift over the last decade or two as to what’s happening even in your closest, most inner concentric circles supporters and people in your community.
Regular no longer means I’m there every single Sunday. They’re just so many other competing things in our culture that happened. That’s enough fodder for a complete other podcast show, episode or blog posts, etc it’s another conversation. But here you can see only 56 percent of people in their twenties or thirties attend 90 percent or more of their Sunday services, only 56 percent, so it is not the norm anymore to go to church every single Sunday. Yet those are still the people that are your most committed and I think commitment is now being defined differently and that’s the challenge whether attendance is the way to define commitment and can you change the nature of your ministry so that physical presence is not the only way to be engaged and to receive and to minister to others, that’s again another conversation, but the norm now, right now, 56 percent of the young folks, 20’s and 30’s, they’re not attending 90 percent or more of the services. So along with attendance, obviously things are changing and shifting the way people give are not other consistent behavior either. Only 41 percent, give consistently on a weekly basis to the church. Whoa, 41 percent. If you had to guess without knowing that initially, I don’t know if I would have guessed that number was that low, that all less than half the people are giving on a consistent basis to your church.
So that means I think we need to be thinking about giving it a completely different way. We need to be talking about differently. We need to be experiencing differently. We need to presenting the options differently. In fact, 60 percent of attendees, according to this State of the Plate report, 60 percent of those in the 20’s and 30’s give only one or two times a month or even every few months. There’s not this need apparently, especially in the 20’s and 30’s, that generational band that they feel the need that they need to give their dollars every week. Now, it doesn’t mean that they’re not planning on it and it doesn’t mean that they are not giving enough to cover. But it does mean that giving is not a habit of if they come into church buildings, that they’re going to actually open up their wallets, their checkbooks, their credit cards, etc.
This is something that every church leader needs to really process and think about, even alone as well as a team. What does that mean? How does that change the offering time? How does it change the messaging that you give? How has it changed on the reporting and telling us stories of where their money goes in terms of flourishing for the gospel inside your building and outside of your building? Now these guys are giving elsewhere. They’re actually a healthy generation in terms of giving and supporting outside of themselves. You know, the bad reps that the millennials have in the 20’s and people in their 20’s and 30’s get is that they don’t give it all. They’re not helpful people. They’re not helping other, actually that’s not the case. 34 percent of churchgoers give to 4 or more organizations together and they do it consistently, right? So now you’ve got a culture where giving is thought of as a portfolio of giving, they’re looking and choosing cherry picking opportunities to support multiple organizations 4 or more, more than a third of the people there give or four or more different organizations consistently. And 80 percent of attendees, this is what’s showing that it’s actually happening in the church. Specifically, 80 percent of attendees gift to at least one other organization. The church is not the only share of wallet. There’s other organizations and entities and causes that are competing for the same dollars in the supporters wallet. And so this is just think about that. Hey, you’re not the only game in town. It’s no longer just obligation is enough. It’s no longer, this is the norm, this is the expectation.
The landscape has changed tremendously when you think that 80 percent of the people who give to your church and are actually giving elsewhere to begin with, most people are actually looking for meaning in how they give in the relationship and only 41 percent again are giving on a regular basis to church to begin with. So you’ve got to think about, hey, what’s going on? What are we doing wrong? Is there other ways that we can help boost up the rate of giving form from our people? Well, the first one to look at really is preferences. I know that cheques and I know that cash or the preferred method of receiving money for the church and you hear it all the time with church leaders, especially when you bring up credit card options because they say, hey, that 2 point something percent belongs to us, that 2 point something percent through, that’s the reason we’re not going to critic or giving because, you know, that money’s going elsewhere. But yet, digital is increasingly becoming the preferred method of payment. As we go to a cashless society and many, many churches, if not years in particular, are not helping out. They’re not giving that option on the table, which I think is just completely flabbergasting. You are mandating that people go backwards in their habits back to the stone ages of using cash only or cheques in particular and that’s the only way that they can support your ministry.
Now again, the question is, is this true or not? According to the survey, this backs it up in real numbers, only 14 percent surveyed want envelopes in the pews. Only 14 percent of people are going on these churches are giving through envelopes and that’s what they want. And you contrast that with the other portion, 68 percent of people when their church, they want digital options, they want a kiosk or ipad giving or some other digital option. The majority of people are saying to you right now through the survey, you don’t need to think about reaching out to your own people. This is a cross section of America. 68 percent want digital options like a kiosk or an ipad giving. What have you done to make it as easy as possible to collect those funds and revenue for your church? It’s just shocking how many people ignore that because they’re making some convoluted arguments about, you know, a couple of percentage points going to the credit card processing company. Now 49 percent wanting to give on a phone app. They want an actual mobile app for the church. And 54 percent just want cell phone texts giving options. So here you can say almost half or even more than half, they’re saying, hey, give us digital options, whether it be a phone app or texting. That’s the way we want to do it, and you might say, hey, we don’t really need that, we’ve got online giving on our website. Well, you know what, only 21 percent of people out there, we’re interested in online giving on the church website. So even if you had that choice, only 21 percent of the people out there expected it or trying to figure out how to fulfill their giving through a mobile phone app or cell phone text to give options. This is something that I think pastors and leaders need to begin to recognize. The importance of digital giving. that can be digital given by mobile, by text, by kiosk, by auto pay EFT payments, a recurring giving, it doesn’t matter. You need to start somewhere and pastors, leaders, are listening today. This is one of those rants or just a appeal podcasts, please, you know, you want to make the act of giving as accessible as possible to all church goers, even when they aren’t physically at the church.
I’m telling you, this is like prophetic. It’s going to be important for churches of all sizes and locations. You’re going to need to actively embrace digital giving methods very soon to encourage, to power greater generosity and more important that consistency in the act of giving amongst your church families. This is something that I just is so so important. 68 percent of the people are telling you they want digital options like kiosks and iPads. 54 percent are telling you they want text to give. 49 percent, almost half the congregation wanted given the full through, say a mobile app. they feel safe to do it in your churches mobile app somewhere. This is something that you need to start thinking about. And if you’re just offering a website alone, that’s not enough because only 21 percent of the people out there we’re interested in giving online on the church website and majority of people are looking elsewhere and you’re forcing them into a model that was made in the stone age and should stay in the stone age, envelopes and cash, cash, envelopes and cheques is definitely clearly here. Finally, we’ve got to study that, quantifies this, that is something that they do not want and so they are not giving at all.
So, those are just some examples of outcomes from the State of the Plate report that came out from Brian Kluth. It’s a very interesting survey. If you want to go further, you can Google it, state of the plate report and actually download the actual report. There’s a bunch of graphs and charts and things that will give you further details and nuances of the state of giving. But here I just want to end this episode with this reality of the church. This is a wake up call for us as leaders and this is one of the reasons why we started the whole resource of generosity labs, that it is time to take a look at digital giving, digital mobile text giving. All these options are something that you need to start to think about and embrace fully even before 2018 is out. Promise me this that you’re going to start to look at those options if you haven’t started already to figure out how to implement one more option for your church in the next month or two. How much more do you need than the people out there telling you in double digit majority numbers that they prefer to give a certain way. And yet you’re not embracing those types of methods. This is just something that you need to look at seriously with your leadership team and figure out, hey, is this something that we can move on and do so in a meaningful way this year so that we don’t get left behind. You definitely don’t want to be one of the, almost 60 percent of churches that are declining or have flat lined in giving.
So, we’d love to hear your thoughts about the State of the Plate report. Again, this seems to be a very good baseline comprehensive study to use as a conversation piece internally with your other pastors and leaders and even high capacity lay people of the church. So that you can start to talk about what does it mean for our church, given our size, given our constituents, given our giving practices that we typically have. What does that mean? Those are the types of things that I hope will start to be prompted in terms of questions because the opportunity and the prospects out there, if you were able to embrace digital giving is a completely different story and I’ll bring one of those stories to you shortly here on the Generosity Labs Podcast, but today it’s a wake up call, the reality of giving in the church is in decline, attendance is added decline. Giving is not consistent in their behaviors and so this is something that you need to look at because competition exists now with other regular giving opportunities. People are choosing, it’s not that they’re not giving it all and you’re just saying, hey, they’ve stingy behavior or they’re just not in a giving mood. No, they are giving, period, they are giving to 4 more other organizations or at least one other organization, 80 percent of the people who attend your church are giving to at least one other charitable organization. And so that means either they’re making the decision to split it or there’s more underlying deeper causes that we need to talk about and figure how to address and turnaround for the future.
Well, there you have it. That’s what I have for today. Again, prompted by some of the questions that had been coming up recently asking people, you know, we hear about digital giving, we hear about texting, you hear about mobile giving? But, isn’t that just all sales and marketing? Is that really what the people want? Isn’t really what the people in my church would want? Is giving them something that they would prefer as their primary method of transferring funds from their wallet to the church’s accounts for their offerings and tithes. If we made that easier, if we got rid of that friction, what would it mean for the church? Would it mean that we could be fully funded? Would it mean that we can have an overflowing offering basket at the end of the season? Those are things that I would love to see you guys struggle with. Discuss internally, hold each other accountable and start to explore what would have all the resources out there to help you make that next decision in terms of presenting giving opportunities for your people.
I’m Kenny Jahng. Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode of Generosity Labs. I would love to hear what your perspective is and what is the hangup in your progression and your journey in terms of adopting digital online text to give, mobile giving, whatever that next step is in your church. What is that obstacle? What is that question? What’s hindering you from taking the next step and not allow you to just completely blow it out and make all the options available to make it as easy as possible for your people to contribute to the mission and ministry of your church. Love for that question for you to respond in, check out our blog GenerosityLabs.Org. Do me a favor, if you are inspired or spurred on by our podcast episodes, if you would, do us a favor and smash that like button and leave us a review, an honest review on Apple iTunes. That’s gonna help get the word out to more church leaders so they can get more of our free resources to help them with this journey that we’re all going on together toward digital giving. I’m Kenny Jahng, thank you so much for joining us. Remember, be generous, stay generous.
Kenny: Hey, welcome back, friends. This is Kenny Jahng, host of Generosity Labs podcast, where we talk about stewardship, giving and non-profit funding for churches as well as ministries. One of the things that we typically do is talk to pastors and other church leaders. Today, I’m excited because we’re going to pivot a little bit on the conversation. I brought on today as a guest, Jason Altman from Enterprise Holdings, an organization in the marketplace so, that we can get a look on the inside of how corporate America and the marketplace is really looking at social good about volunteerism and other things related. So, welcome to the show today, Jason. Great to have you here today.
Jason: Hey, thanks Kenny. Thanks so much for having me.
Kenny: So right off the bat, let’s talk about, who you are, what you do, what’s your role at Enterprise Holdings? So, give us the 30-second rundown of Enterprise Holdings and your role there at the company.
Jason: Well, Enterprise Holdings provides a complete transportation solutions to large organizations right down to individuals. You probably know us best from enterprise rent-a-car or a car rental division. We’ve got an enterprise, national and LMO. I’m the regional vice president over central New Jersey in Staten Island. So, I’ve got responsibility for other stores and individuals that serve those markets.
Kenny: Nice. And, one of the things that I think people don’t understand is that, you are more than just car rentals, right? As the transport systems. Why don’t we just talk about that first, just for a second. What are some of the other things that you guys do? And then, also, the profile of the company itself is a little bit different. It’s not a public company, right?
Jason: No, it’s privately held. So your first question, when I say complete transportation solutions, we’ve got a leasing division, fleet services. Gosh, we’ve got a car-share, you know, ride share. We’ve got a bunch of different divisions of the organization up to and including a retail car sales. We actually sell our cars if you’re in the market.
Kenny: You guys are one of the largest re-sellers of cars in the country, right? That’s a little bit unknown fact. A hidden gem, basically. And then your structure, you are not a public company. You are private companies still, even though it’s a behemoth of the brands that you own. It’s quite amazing that you’re still private.
Jason: Yeah. Privately held. One very committed family out of St Louis, Missouri.
Kenny: That’s one of the things for me, my radar went off a little bit because it is one of those stories that because it’s private because it’s family-driven then culture and values usually come into play in a business setting. Is that something that you can share with us? What’s the uniqueness of that which has helped enterprise flourish from that perspective?
Jason: Yeah. The company was certainly founded on a set of values and the larger we got becoming this behemoth, this you say, you know, ownership got concerned that we were straying from those values. So they established a set of criteria which really measures the operators against the degree to which they live and exhibit those values. And a lot of that involves supporting the communities. We serve to do good. But there’s certainly operations and other things, but a great deal of it has to do with corporate social responsibility.
Kenny: Yeah. So that’s the Buzzword I want to talk about today because many people assume that these giant corporations are just about profit and there’s these other, I think, there’s a subset that’s growing. Some of it just out of authenticity and some of it purely copycat, right? That this phrase CSR, corporate social responsibility is becoming a little bit like how recycling or fair trade or all these other things have become commonplace and now embedded in many corporate cultures. Corporate social responsibility is one of them being local, being invested in the communities that you serve and that you’re present in. How do you define that and what does that mean for you as an executive? How are you living out that corporate social responsibility?
Jason: It’s in your soul, right? It can’t be a buzzword. Like anything in our business, it needs to be a strategic, well-thought out and most importantly, well-executed. So, in my business, well, Enterprise globally partners with the United Way Worldwide and I sit on the board of the United Way of Ocean and Monmouth counties and this gives and creates a wonderful portfolio of giving and volunteering opportunities for my team. We’re finding Kenny that our current and potential employees that this really resonates with them. Working for a company that affords them the opportunity to support their communities to feel more connected to them is really, really important. So, we have your lead campaigns, we have events, we monitor, we measure, the company invest. There’s a matching that takes place.
Kenny: Is there like a corporate foundation or something like that?
Jason: Absolutely. With the United Way in particular is a wonderful mechanism. It’s almost corporate social responsibility in a box, right? If you’re an executive out there and this resonates with you, right? You understand it, appreciate it. It’s not a buzzword. We need a strategy that these folks, we, can help with that. I mean they are a committed collaborative, doing a great work. And frankly, they could use a hand. We could use that.
Kenny: And so, one of the things that you talked about is that I think in our pre-interview chat, you were talking about how Enterprise is one of the largest recruiters of a specific demographic. Can you share a little bit about that?
Jason: Yeah. What we are, in fact, one of the largest recruiters of college graduates.
Kenny: And this portion is a recruiting benefit that is mentioned upfront. Is that what you’re saying?That this comes up consistently, that people who are looking for jobs are not just looking for same dental benefits or a parking spot or whatever, that they are actually evaluating their opportunities as to how and what are the opportunities that you guys are doing in the community as well.
Jason: Absolutely. When we interview a candidate and say, “Do you have any questions for us?” Increasingly, they’re asking about, “Hey, what are you doing in the communities? How can I, as an employee, get involved in that?” And, it resonates. It really does. It has become a big part of our recruiting strategy.
Kenny: Now. So, your company and your personal time is now invested in this United Way of Monmouth county. Is that correct?
Jason: Monmouth and Ocean county.
Kenny: Monmouth and Ocean county United Way. What are some of the things that you’re seeing that organization is doing really well, that the community itself would be missing if they were removed from the equation?
Jason: Yeah, that’s a great question. First of all, just unique to the United Way. They do a wonderful job at collaborating, bringing in organizations whether from the business world or non-profit. It’s interesting. Guys like me who are involved in a non-profit sector quite a bit and it’s a crowded space. There’s a lot of people competing for attention to the same dollars. And what’s unique about the United Way is how, in spite of all that, they will collaborate. So, by way of example, and this speaks to your second question, when hurricane Sandy hit.
Kenny: Yes, that was a huge, huge impact on our state.
Jason: Right? And, our CEO, Tim Hern went to another non-profit now Fulfill, its called and said, “Listen, we’re doing work at a financial service center, but we need you to take over the tech support so that I can concentrate my time, energy and effort and long-term recovery.”, right? Which is where the United Way needs to be. We need to stand in that gap. And, you know, he brought in another organization to do that. And I thought, that was a brave thing to do, was the right thing to do. And that partnership between Fulfill and the United Way of Ocean and Monmouth county exists even today at the financial service center.
Kenny: That’s a very unique strategic approach to a non-profit social service work, right?
Jason: Yeah. I certainly thought so. And there’s a lot of examples of this. It’s really mobilizing and bringing all the resource you can to bear on some of the issues that face Monmouth and Ocean county. So, it’s making a real difference.
Kenny: Now, United Way, great brand name, great exposure, a lot of awareness. I’m sure there’s a lot of brand recall as what we say in the communications marketing space. Does that organization that you volunteer with have trouble or not trouble but, are there still a huge efforts for a reason, volunteer troops and also financial support or are people lined up outside the door and because everyone knows that people are writing checks left and right without much heavy lifting on the internal side.
Jason: Yeah, it’s a great question and right. It’s certainly a well recognized brand but localized and so, I can certainly speak to the United Way of Ocean and Monmouth county. But listen, there’s a lot of people supporting it. We’re appreciative of all that help and support, but frankly, we do need more. I’d love to see a more corporate involvement in it and we’ve certainly seen an evolution in corporate social responsibility. We talked about it a little bit before.
Kenny: And that corporate social responsibility, is it only just, “Hey, we’re going to partner with you”, I mean, I’m just going to write the checks or is there more to it?
Jason: Oh, there’s so much more to it, especially with the United Way. So again, it’s a portfolio of giving, but also volunteering. So, we run a lot of team building type events with our guys and our friends at United Way will help with that. They will support that. They will attend all the events that they really mix it up with with our team. It makes our guys feel great about the work they’re doing. They are proud of it. And the really cool thing about the United Way is you could tell these guys really, really appreciate it. Nothing gets taken for granted. It’s a really neat thing to be a part of.
Kenny: I mean, there’s a reason why the United Way is the United Way. Its history that it’s embedded in communities, right? That I think structurally top down inside out, there must be something good that really is proper and the structure set up is really well. In today’s environment, there is so much competition for volunteers, for dollars, for staffing even in the non-profit world. And so, it’s really interesting to have your inside peek as to why and how this specific United Way in New Jersey is operating, et cetera. Is there anything else that you can share with us about the United Way in particular that you were involved in Monmouth and Ocean county?
Jason: We talked a little bit about a financial stability and the resource center at the Freehold mall. You know, recently, I had an opportunity to spend time with another group and one of the things that United Way is interested in working towards is helping kids through school readiness and reading proficiency. It may interest you to know Kenny, that sixty percent of kids in low income families don’t have access to children’s books. And listen, I’m a father of two, I know you’re a father, right? You almost can’t imagine a world where that exists, but it is happening right here. So, you know, through United Way with help from a lots of businesses, new individuals in the community, what we’re out there, getting these kids started on the right trajectory. But, it’s got to start early, it’s got to continue and we’re going to need some help. That’s just another example of the great work that we’re doing.
Kenny: Well, so one of the things that we ask our guests that come into the show is, “Hey, look, if you had a magic wand and you could wave it and do something really on your own personal wishlist for this non-profit, what would it be? What’s the one thing that these guys of United Way of Monmouth and Ocean county are doing really well that you want to turbo charge? Or what other parts of that program that you’ve seen? What would you like to see happen in 2018?
Jason: Well, to be honest with you, I just like more people to get involved. And, that level of involvement can vary. Check us out, commit to learning just a little bit more about the organization of Monmoth and Ocean County, the work that we’re doing. I think you’ll be moved. I think it’s just learning more will serve as a call to action and no action is too small. Listen, if you want to, put a CSR program together, similar to what I do with my organization, we are happy to help with that. If you want to make a personal donation that no matter how slight it is, everything’s gratefully received, but I’d start and settle with just learn more about what, what we’ve got going on.
Kenny: That’s a fantastic call-to-action. Jason, thank you so much for being with us today. One of the reasons we brought you on is to really see and hear you articulate just the authenticity that you have on the corporate side, but also understand from the non-profit side of the people and the partners on the street doing the heavy lifting of the work in the social service agencies like the United Way of Monmouth and Ocean county. And just seeing their approach to things I think is,it afforded as a view today that we typically don’t have. So, I really appreciate that. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that with us today.
Jason: My pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity.
Kenny: And one last thing. If people want to get in touch with you after the hearing about this topic that we’ve talked about called corporate social responsibility, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Jason: Well, sure. You can go to the United Way of Monmouth and Ocean county website, or you can contact me directly. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Either way. We’d love to hear from you and happy to help.
Kenny: Well, thanks again for coming on the show and thank you to our listeners here for taking the time to sit down with us and listen to a little bit different of a pivot of the conversations that we typically have. One of the things that is I think great about hearing Jason and his perspective from Enterprise Holdings and involvement at United Way is that this is something that we need to be paying attention to and this is something that more and more of our culture and marketplace, especially as we’ve talked on this show many times about the next generation moving up in leadership across all the sectors of our society and culture. This is something that we really need to be paying attention to, so really appreciate you’re dropping some comments below or reaching out to us on our website, generositylabs.org. Thank you so much again for paying attention to this worthy topic for us today. One of the things that we appreciate you, is also funding us up and leaving a rating and review on iTunes, Stitcher radio, or the Tunein network for this podcast so that other people can be invited into this conversation. ‘Til next time, I’m Kenny Jahng, host of the Generosity Labs podcast. Thank you so much for being with us. Be Good and be generous this season.
In this episode, Kenny sat down with one of the most respectable leaders in the aspect of generosity, stewardship and giving, Chris Willard.
They talked about how to encourage not-yet givers to be regular givers and how participating in Giving Tuesday will help spark generosity and giving to the hearts of people in your church and outside of your community.
[00:53] I started working at Leadership Network. I am the director of generosity and initiatives. In Leadership Network, what we try to do is to put churches into groups and we try to encourage them to kind of dream big about strategies that can really help them be more effective in the church. And the area that I lead is the area of generosity and stewardship and giving.
[1:35] Most of the work I am doing is trying to work with pastors who are trying to really create a revolution of generosity and stewardship and giving in their churches.
[2:09] We are entering a season talking about Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday, if you haven’t heard about it before, basically, is the Tuesday that follows Black Friday.
[3:04] Giving Tuesday is the place where I have given to things that are not necessarily connected to my church or to some of the ministries that I support.
[3:21] Giving Tuesday has encouraged me to give those gifts over the years and I think it’s a genius idea.
[4:07] Last year, 2016, there was 1.56 million individual gifts. And I think the total amount of donation over 40% growth over the year and I think it raised over $168 million this past year. That’s pretty size-able.
[4:33] I think churches need to get involved in Giving Tuesdays.
[4:54] I think the church is really in a perfect position to encourage people or to leverage the whole idea of Giving Tuesday.
[6:21] You need to raise money and draw attention not for your church but for what the church stands for.
[6:48] I think it would be a great way for a church to get a not-yet giver, to give a modest gift for the very first time.
[6:59] The reason people are sometimes a little bit suspicious about giving at churches is often because churches haven’t done a great job with this topic.
[7:24] You can start to say in your congregation, “Look, if you’ve never given here in our church, we will encourage you to make Giving Tuesday your very first time to kind of get involved.”
[8:41] Probably, right now, here we are, in the beginning of October, it’s a little too early to start talking to your congregation about your year-end giving strategy, but it is definitely not too early for your team to start planning.your year-end giving strategy. And, in fact? You might also be a little bit behind. Christmas is coming, Kenny. It’s going to be here before you know it and we got to get ready for that.
[9:17] As the timing, when you’re going to be talking to your congregation about year-end giving, so you’re right. Because Giving Tuesday is the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, it’s the perfect place to be the launching point for your year-end strategy. And if I could, I would encourage anybody, it’s a free download, on the Generis website, we got a free year-end giving guide. Look for the year-end giving guide. It is an awesome tool that gives you from start to finish what you need to do to put together a really effective year-end giving initiative.
[10:48] Anytime I hear a church leader say, “I am afraid if they give that money there, they won’t give it here.” I want to remind that guy that the money we’re talking about doesn’t belong to you, it doesn’t even belong to them. It belongs to God and people need to do with it what He wants them to do.
[12:00] One of the core strategies that we have at Generosity Labs when we’re coaching end-of-year giving programs is when you name it and claim it, your campaign, we suggest there’s three parts. One is, you need to identify a project that is internal to your church, something that’s really inside the building. Then, name a project that’s inside of your building but outside of your community, that’s local. And then name a project that’s global. And Giving Tuesday could fund one of those pieces easily, right. What’s good about that is that there are people that are motivated to give to each of those.
[13:33] When you’re thinking about giving in the church, you want to challenge people to prayerfully give what they believe Lord wants them to give.
[14:07] So, whenever you offer a specific number like that, you have to be careful about the fact that you’re hitting some people and missing everybody else.
[14:49] One of the things that Giving Tuesday could do is you can give everybody a low number. Just because you want to get them involved. Just because you want to get them going. Just because it’s not about raising a huge amount of money. Sometimes, a strategy like Giving Tuesday could be just to get not-yet givers to start giving for the first time.
[15:15] Most in our churches, everybody could give a $25 gift. And maybe, that’s going to be your goal is to get more people involved as opposed to raising a huge amount of money.