How to Talk About Money and Generosity at Church

Just how do you encourage generosity in your church community?

Many pastors shy away from talking about money – for a variety of concerns.

But there must be ways to do it well in a life-serving and impactful way.

Justin and Wade from talk about the important topic of generosity at church.

I’d love to hear your response to what they have to say in this video discussion.

Relationship Building Automation Tip

Relationship Building Automation Tip

Kenny Jahng from GenerosityLabs has your Generosity Tip of the Day!

It’s regarding the A.R.T. of Engagement  — when you want to build a culture of giving across your community, you want to focus on the three main drivers of increasing gauge right that’s just a remind you it’s a for Authority or for Relevance and Trust,

One of the things that you can do very easily to help build trust is with this tip that I am sharing with you today.  Now, it’s my birthday this week — happy birthday to me! But one of the things that you’ll notice is that there’s a very small set of relationships out there that do take advantage of that in today’s day and age.

You’ll get a birthday card from your dentist or lawyer or real estate agent or from your car dealer — and sure enough I open my inbox today and I get a happy birthday message from a car dealer.

It a very simple message — they know it doesn’t need to be spammy; there’s no call to action; it is a complete relationship play.  And they know that they are a car dealer and they’re not my friend or relative etcetera right so it’s a simple message that’s clean and just takes advantage of the fact that they have my information in the database.

It says, “we noticed that today is your special day so in commemoration of this occasion we want to send along our best wishes and thank you for your past business May the next year bring great joy to you and your loved ones happy birthday.”

See, very simple, right? It’s something that gives you an excuse to reach out and build that relationship over time.

All you need to do is sit down and write 6, 10, a dozen different variations of happy birthday messages. Some can be humorous, some to be straightforward, it is something that you can insert some fun links into, maybe a YouTube video, etc.

Basically anytime someone in the database has a birthday, that triggers the email to get sent out and sometimes you can send it one day early or on the day.  But you have personalization done for the next 6 years, 10 years, etc. You can have a decade’s worth of happy birthday messages that don’t repeat, are varied and you can do that all in one shot.  Just sit down and write half a dozen to a dozen different versions and then schedule them in your email system.

Each and every organization should be taking advantage of this. But there’s very few I’ve met — only maybe two churches there taking advantage of birthdays. And birthdays are easy to collect from your people! It’s one of those fields of information in a database that most people are comfortable sharing– their birthday.

And the best practice is if you collect a piece of information yous hould use it. If you collect a piece of information and don’t use it you’re wasting your time and energy; it is not respectful of the audience that you collecting from;  and in you introduce friction to the relationship that you have with them. So collect only the information you’re going to use and birthday should be one of them at some point in the beginning of the relationship.

And then you build the automation that simply sends out an email message to them on their birthday. It could be the day before saying, Hi I want to be the first to wish you happy birthday this week!

Let me know what you think about this automation idea and if you have any other ideas on how to use marketing automation to the benefit of increasing the relevance and trust in your relationship with your people in your community. I always want to discover, learn, and brainstorm about other ways to use technology to scale personal relationships,

That’s it for today’s tip.Thank you for listening and watching here at GenerosityLabs.Org.

3 Things Churches Need To Focus On For Giving Growth in 2019

3 Things Churches Need To Focus On For Giving Growth in 2019

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.

Church finances

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.


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.


Offering Plate vs Digital Giving?

Offering Plate vs Digital Giving?

This week we visited a landmark in the town, mainline denominational church.

The architecture was historic and beautiful. As expected, almost everything inside felt like a time warp. Homage to tradition and legacy. But not much evidence of evolving and contextualization with current culture.

There’s much sadness when stepping into these ministries that seem destined to become museums as this last generation of booomers and older disappear.

One of the things that I always look for is signs of the church giving its congregation options for giving.

Well there was no mention of text to give, mobile app given, or other mobile directs option to give immediately, the service bulletin did make reference to an online donation button on their website. “YES!” at least they do take donations online.

The next step would’ve been to make it easier for people to give in the service, not on the web. Finding the donate button on the church website and going to the process of giving online was tedious. This time consuming. And unnecessarily distracting from the worship service anyone would be sitting in.

That said, this church did have a bulletin insert which featured an option for people who do give electronically. You could use that quarter page insert to place into the offering basket as a symbol of your commitment to support the church financially.

I’ve seen this in a couple of churches before. There are two perspectives on how you can look at this practice:

The first way is to knowledge the awkwardness of receiving the offering plate and having other people see you pass it along without contributing anything. While you should not be concerned about how others perceive you, especially if you are actively giving to the ministry, there is a part of you that wants to make sure no one mistakes you as a slacker in the community! You get it, right?

The second way is to think of it from a very positive participation point of view. I think it is an interesting way to physically involve everyone that is giving during the offering time in the liturgy.

There is something to be said for the physical ritual of everyone putting something into a shared plate that gets passed around to every single person that’s part of the church body and membership. There is sort of a “Book of Acts beauty” to such as shared participation activity by everyone in the community.

Personally, I might consider using some sort of simple open ended question form that captures a prayer or space for encouragement to the ministry that people can write on the card that they drop into the Offering Plate during the physical giving time via check or cash.

In the end, I am encouraged that this church is offering some sort of digital giving solution for other people.

Let me know if your church does something similar or if you have seen this in the past elsewhere.

LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO SHARE WHAT YOUR CHURCH enough church leaders are talking about the nuances of embracing online giving with details such as the online giving placard for the offering plate.

Transparency Regarding Credit Card Transaction Processing Fees With Donors

Transparency Regarding Credit Card Transaction Processing Fees With Donors

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:

List the credit card transaction fees so donors know


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.


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.