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 email@example.com. 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.
In today’s episode of the Generosity Labs podcast, we interview Cesie Delve Scheuermann who talks about how simple expression of gratitude paves the way to instill a culture of generosity in every church and all over the world. She is the writer of a blog called, Inspiring Generosity.
Key points in the discussion:
How thanking a first-time giver is powerful than you think?
What are someways to show gratitude to your sponsors or givers?
How follow-throughs are important when someone gives to your church?
4 Tips to Encourage Generosity in Your Congregation.
You can listen, subscribe or watch my interview with Cesie Delve Scheuermann below.
The Generosity Labs Podcast is part of a new resource hub for pastors, providing free resources and information about digital giving. You can find more free resources here. A full transcription is below
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KENNY: Welcome everybody. This is Kenny Jahng with Generosity Labs. Thank you so much for joining us for today’s episode. I’m really happy and excited to talk to a new friend of mine across the digital information highway in the Oregon, Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church. This is just one of the pleasures that I have a meeting people across the country that talk about generosity. So, Cesie, welcome to the show today.
CESIE: Thank you! Great to be here.
KENNY: Let’s just get started and I want to know a little bit of more about who you are and what your ministry is all about. Let’s start with where you are located and how you’re connected to the conference and some of your roles there.
CESIE: Okay, great. Well, I am located in Salem, Oregon and so it’s a capital and I’m not even wearing Birkenstocks, so how’s that? So, not really a true Oregonian. But, what I do for my work in general is I’m a Development Director. I do a lot of development stuff for nonprofits here in the Salem area, so I work with Arts. I work with some child abuse assessment program and I work with the program that helps kids get new clothes that poor kids and kids in need. And then, I have this whole other aspect of my life where I work with the church. I am a late person but have been a lifelong United Methodist with trails down to The Jesus Movement and Sojourners and a variety of different places all over the world. So, what I do now with United Methodist Church and a Methodist Church and with the Oregon Idaho conference is I write a blog calledInspiring Generosity.The work that I did through all my development work really lead me to see that clergy sadly are not trained in seminary to raise money or even how to do development work. And I see a very different fundraising which is a one-time event as opposed to development which is relationship building and the church is primed for just picking up the tips that somebody like myself has figured out over the last 20 years — I’ve been doing this for about 20 years now — that can translate very easily into the church. So, that’s what I do. So, I write a blog calledInspiring Generosity.I consult with churches about how they are doing stewardship or financial crisis that they’re in. I do all that kind of stuff.
KENNY: I love it and that is a good point. When I went to Princeton seminary. there were no classes on relationship donor developments and none of that stuff. And the question is, where is that? Where are we supposed to just pick that up? It’s definitely not in undergraduate studies, right? So, I was recently talking to the Director of Content at Princeton, thinking about what are the practical areas that we can provide as tools? But, again it’s just not being taught. And so, pastors I think are ill-equipped or under-equipped in this area of inspiring generosity. And I love the fact that your blog focus for really giving practical tips there. Now, there was one blog post that caught my eye and which you actually talked about setting your generosity priorities and giving the clergy some really good tips on three things that you can do right now to encourage and promote generosity in your congregation. I wonder if you could just help us walk through that today in terms of 1, 2, 3 so that we can give our listeners here today some really practical things that they can actually go off and probably try this week in particular. These are really easy low hanging fruit stuff.
CESIE: Yeah. Absolutely.
KENNY: So, the first one that you talked about is thanking people who gave for the first time or unexpectedly. What’s that about? How is that helpful and literally what can someone do when when that happens?
CESIE: Well, let me start off by saying that there is competition for all resources these days and for all giving. And people who do the ‘thank you’ really well, they are the ones that people remember. So, it is sort of a pet peeve of mine that the church I think in general does a really poor job of thanking people because we’re still in that old mindset of ‘well, it’s their responsibility, it’s what they’re supposed to do’. Yes, that’s true, but that doesn’t mean you don’t use your good manners. And, as your mom or your grandma said, ‘Please write a thank you letter’. So, especially when someone is new to the church and this is their first time giving, you should have a letter, a first-time letter that said ‘I noticed that you gave to our church for the first time, and I just can’t tell you what a difference that would make.’ because I know from my own experience. When I’ve gone to a church or when I have given to something especially related to the church and I’ve written a check out the whole nine yards and there’s crickets. Nobody acknowledges it. It’s not even recognized. So, that to me is really critical that a pastor just takes a moment to say, “Wow. I noticed you.” That’s the other thing. It’s a ministry to be able to say, ‘I noticed you.’ I might not have had a chance to meet you in church, but I noticed that you gave and I want to thank you for coming to our church and I want to thank you for giving.
KENNY: That’s awesome. Some of the pastors that I’ve talked with when we bring up the old art of thank you notes and a side note, do you say that pastors should be writing handwritten notes or type notes or emails? What’s your preference?
CESIE: Basically, I think all three are fine. But, just do it. I mean, the method that’s easiest for you. That’s what you should do. I love getting a handwritten note. That’s always nice because it’s so unexpected, if anything and I think a typewritten note is nice if at the end you write, you know, God bless you, Pastor John and then on the letter itself, write a little special note in your own handwriting. So, they know actually a human touched the letter. And then, make sure somebody has a handwritten envelope because we get so much junk mail that when something comes in the mail that has actual handwriting on it, ‘Wow, that’s pretty impressive’. So, I think the best is to go first-class mail, if that all possible because then that’s something that people can hold. They might even put it on the refrigerator. That would be the big bonus. So, that’s my suggestion. Make sure that they feel like somebody has put their hand on it.
CESIE: Go ahead and do email, too because you know, any thank you is better than no thank you.
KENNY: That’s a great thing to have. So, the pushback I was getting at is some pastors say, ‘Hey, some people the first time they give they don’t give that much’. It might be $5. It might be just $10. It a might be just a couple of dollar and literally, it might be one or two dollars in the offering plate or might be a check for $5 even, right? So, it feels petty, thanking for those. Should they still do that?
CESIE: Yes, of course. If your grandma sent you $5 in the mail, you would be expected to write her a thank you note, even if it was just $5. and I think we go back to looking at the Widow’s Mite. I mean, the widow didn’t throw in a lot of money but was everything she had. So, don’t make those assumptions for somebody else that they could have given more money. Maybe, they could have, and maybe they’re waiting to see how you respond to that first gift to say ‘Well, should I invest more money in this church’.
KENNY: That’s a great great response there and I agree with you in that. It’s not about the amount. It’s about participation and it’s about recognition of what they’ve done, right? Okay the second tip that you have and I think is this one. I love this one because I’m one of those process-oriented guys in this schedules. When you say, schedule-a-day, every week you can write, four gratitude notes. And, you’re not asking 40. You’re just saying 4. I think I could do that. I could actually put that on my calendar and schedule it on a weekly basis and pick a day that it’s good in your routine and actually do that. So, tell us a little bit more about that. How important is that for follow through? What has been the response for some of the people that you’ve used that with?
CESIE: Well, I am surprised. Let’s just put it that way. First of all, it’s like. ‘Wow. I wasn’t expecting a thank you note’. This is not for a recent donation or a recent tithe. It’s just to thank people. We did this once. A variation of this was at our administrative council meeting. We passed out thank you letters. We passed out notes from the church and said that at our ad council meeting tonight, we talked about how thankful we were for people. I am thankful for you because… And people wrote that out. People got great responses. Some people were just like, ‘Why did you do that? Is there some ulterior motive?’. We’re like, ‘No! We’re just thankful that you gave.’ And I think that’s when we’ve received those kind of letters from our pastor, it’s like ‘Wow, that really means something’. We have a male pastor, right now. So, he was actually thinking of me, you know. He was thinking about us and it wasn’t so much for, ‘Thank you for your $50’. It was ‘Thank you for being a generous person’, ‘Thank you for thinking of us because we know that you can give to a lot of places but your generosity makes a difference’. And that’s the other thing that those gratitude notes can do. They can let people know how the money is being spent or how you know, it’s like, ‘Your generosity made one thing possible. It made Youth Development possible’. You know, it makes a difference. So, yeah. It really can do two things. It can thank the giver and it can let them know what their money is doing.
KENNY: I just love your reminder in this blog, that say, ‘Hey, think about over the course of the year, if you do four a week, it adds up to the 208 people that you thanked over the year’. Just imagine the blessing that you are giving to other people. I think we forget about those little things add up, right?
CESIE: Yeah, they do. I think they do make a difference, right? And, the other thing is they make a difference for you. So, you start right. I suggested 1 year for Valentine’s Day that a clergy person write little goofy Valentine’s cards to their congregation. And even if it wasn’t personally, somebody would say, the pastor got a letter back saying, after I said ‘thank you so much, you mean a lot to me’, you know what, I started falling in love with my congregation again. So, it’s not only the act of how it impacts the person receiving the note, it’s how it’s impacting you as you write the letter because you’re like, ‘wow, this people are really awesome. What a blessing to have them in my life’.
KENNY: And I am telling you, I am pulling out my desk, I just got this Thanksgiving. This is a box of, I went to Target, and I got this box of cards. All these multi-colored cards and look from Thanksgiving ‘till now, how many cards are written, I’m almost quarter way through the box already. How many cards it is, it’s over 250 cards and some a quarter way through, just writing thank you notes. That’s a practice that the church that I have been a part of has been really instilling. Every volunteer is giving up their time and treasure and volunteers are heroes, especially. So, givers and volunteers.
CESIE: I guess it needs to be emphasized. They don’t need to be long and drawn out. I mean, really. 2 or 3 sentences is all that it takes. And then, the fact that it’s handwritten again, that really makes a difference.
KENNY: Yes and I’m just even saying that they’re an encouragement to you in the ministry, right? That’s it. That’s the sentiment. Number three you’re talking about is every Sunday, you want to plan to thank your congregation for being generous and for supporting ministries that make a difference. And I love that underscore, yes every Sunday, it’s the same people every Sunday. Are we supposed to thank them again and again and again?
CESIE: Yes, but you can also be creative. It doesn’t have to be you. Let me just go back and say why I think this particular one is really important. When our new pastor came in, our church was sort of on a down low. People were pretty depressed. And, he came in and his first thing was to remind us of who we were. So, he talked about the history of this church. It is 175 years old and then wow, I kind of forgotten we had this sort of history. We really meant something to the city of Salem. And then, he started talking and thanking us for being a generous congregation. It’s like, wow, he didn’t say it just once. I think it was like every Sunday, he would say something about, you know, you all are really generous. And goodness. We started thinking of ourselves as being generous, and if he thinks we’re generous, then we better be generous. And so, that’s why that was so important to do. I mean and I think it really helped change the trajectory of our church. Felt about itself, and how we felt about giving. So, that is what’s really important. The clergy person does not need to be the one that does all the thanking. This is where the old fashioned testimony can come in where somebody can come in and you know, somebody who’s being ministered to by the programs that are going on in the church. A youth, a kid in Sunday School, somebody who goes to an AA meeting at your church can come in and say, ’I want to thank your church for its generosity’ or ‘I want to thank this congregation for being so generous to make youth ministry possible so that I can go to it’, ‘Thank you for making this building available so I can go to an AA meeting’, ‘Thank you for letting me go to Sunday School’. There are so many ways that you can do this. So, it doesn’t just have to be you. It might take a little bit of time, but yeah every Sunday, you should be saying thank you and thank you for being generous and here’s how you’re being generous. It’s not some flip thing. It’s not some saccharine. It’s genuine because really without your congregation, ministry couldn’t happen.
KENNY: And right there, I think, because of our culture is so opposite to that notion, I just love the idea of our leaders and our people modeling that for our own congregation and community, especially the youth, right? So, that this effervescent culture of generosity just becomes contagious. And it really becomes integrated in our personalities, right?
CESIE: Absolutely. You know, one thing I loved was that a pastor have a Sunday School write all these thank you notes and had it really pretty. And then, what he did was he put it on the church letterhead, so it could say, thank you. And then he had fabulous thank you notes straight from his own youth and children to thank people randomly. So, it was really a great way to do it.
KENNY: Loved that idea. Cesie, I just loved the fact the your blog has full of more practical ideas like this. You’ve got I think some other things like a stewardship calendar. Tell us and give a plug for your blog because I really love the stuff that you are doing over there.
CESIE: Well, thanks. Once again, remember that my primary job is to be a development person and so what I’m trying to do is share with you the secrets of development and what I’ve learned over the years, what I’ve read in blogs, what I read all over the place. So, that’s the reason that I started this blog was just to share my secrets. And so, I talked about all sorts of things related to development whether that’s preaching about generosity, that’s the other thing because I know that’s clergy are really afraid of that. Or can be whether you should know what your people are giving, storytelling that was last week’s blog was on storytelling, what you can learn from certain things that happened. I did one recently on the Academy Awards Fiasco and what you can learn from that. So, it’s all over and I talked about about a very popular one was when Prince died, talking about leaving your will, making sure you have a will in place because sadly Prince did not have a will in place. So, it’s reaching all over the map about development and ways in which you can inspire generosity in your very own congregation.
KENNY: Perfect. Well, Cesie, I hope you can join us join us again for a future episode. There’s so many other topics that I’d love to have you share your expertise on here at Generosity Labs.
KENNY: If someone wants to get in touch with you directly after listening to today’s conversation, what’s the best way to do that? Carrier pigeon, telegraph, email, Skype, what’s the best way?
CESIE: You can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org that’s my email address for Inspiring Generosity, so feel free to do that. My blog you can find it on UMOI.org along the blogs and so I would love to be in conversation with you.
KENNY: Thank you so much. Cesie Delve Scheuermann. Really a treat to talk to you and future conversation you promised here on air so, I’m going to hold you to it. And we will have future chats about stewardship, development, grant writing and all this other fun stuff.
KENNY: Thank you so much and for the rest of you, please let us know if today’s conversation is helpful. Like this podcast episode and drop some comments to let us know your thoughts and questions, so that we can follow up on them and tell a friend or two about our Generosity Labs podcast if you get a chance. Thanks so much, I am Kenny Jahng from Generosity Labs podcast. ‘Til next time. Be good.
I don’t know about where you live, but I have been seeing pumpkin spice infiltrate the beginning of September where it has no place of belonging.
It seems like retailers everywhere are injecting pumpkin spice into anything they can.
People have jumped the gun. This isn’t good. There is a time and season for everything. Pumpkin spice should be reserved for October.
There ARE things you should be thinking about NOW regarding events that happen later in Fall. Like on November 28, 2017.
It’s called #GivingTuesday.
There’s so much potential with Giving Tuesday, which is the first MONDAY AFTER Black Friday. This year, it falls on November 28.
If you’ve never thought about involving your church in a #GivingTuesday campaign, think again. Just take a look at some of the giving-related stats for GivingTuesdayin the past and you’ll soon be convinced you need to consider it this year.
We’ll be talking about #GivingTuesday here on the blog. Let us know if you’ve started planning for it.
Type YES in the comments if you have. Type NO if you haven’t thought about it at all yet.
Recently, we sat down with Dean Sweetman ofTithe.lyto discuss the state of giving. In our discussion, we went how churches can find and use best practices when it comes to cultivating generosity.
Here are a few highlights:
[3:31] In ministry, we live on a budget and the budget has its forecast of regular revenue that comes in and whether it be weather-related cancellation or holidays or people just not showing up at the church on a weekly basis anymore on our culture.
[4:09] A lot of pastors don’t think business-mindset when it comes to church in giving. I think the shift that has to come to the body of Christ coming to mind is “I’m gonna run it as a business, I’m gonna use best business practices and to do that, I’ve had to have some kind of a way of projecting my income.”
[4:57] When you put on anywhere, anytime giving solutions in people’s hand it changes the whole dynamic.
[5:38] More than 50 % of the contribution that come in by a mobile are over 250 dollars. So, people, they are not scared to give with their phones. They’re actually okay to give big money. 18% of our contributions, a thousand dollars plus, we get a contribution of 50,000 dollars via text message so it’s a no-brainer.
[6:23] Everybody is pretty much there on trusting the mobile device being a point of sale and it’s just a matter of the church, instead of being behind that curve, staying in front of that curve.
[7:13] Digital giving is definitely three times the size the amount of the contribution. I think that’s the couple of things I think it’s the convenience it’s the easiness of people giving, but you’re also hitting the demographic that’s pretty affluent and surely doesn’t having problems that making contributions today.
[9:13] We found the people who are not wanting to give is that the church has made people give number one on a Sunday. And, they have to give a checkbook or cash. Well, millennials, 35 or under don’t know what a check account is, don’t know what a checkbook is. My kids don’t and you know, they don’t carry cash. Everything is debit card or credit card. So, it’s giving people the solution to be how to do it and then, use it by and in their vacation, listening to a church’s podcast, get a message, they looked in the calendar in the app whatever and then next kind of normal thing to do is to make their contribution.
[10:16] Once we tied in with the data, we found that across all these and we’re talking, tens of millions of dollars, ⅓ is on a Sunday, ⅔ is on Monday through Saturday
[12:35] Looking at the months of the year, the summer slump which is classic, like schools are getting out everyone is excited, but the pastor is not excited because he knows during the summer, his income gonna go down up to 30%. So, what happens is when you put again a mobile giving solution in the hands of the members, guess what? They’re going to use it and so what we see is the out numbers actually stay firm and our July-August is actually up and so, people when they have the ability to give with their phone, they are going to give even when they’re out of town and on vacation.
[15:40] Other than the solution, providing tools, the other component probably the most key is education.
[16:37] The whole concept of Christianity is built around generosity, right? We’re taught in the New Testament to be generous with everything.
[16:51] So, whether you have a theological issue with tithe, let’s just put that aside for a second and decide that Jesus has taught us to be generous people. And I think that message can be preached, you know, if not on a weekly basis, certainly on a monthly basis, somewhere around the giving moment, you’re instructing your members about generosity and using the Bible to teach on God’s perspective on generosity.
[19:16] There’s the idea of getting people in the mindset of giving consistently. And if you can get people in that mindset to give consistent our numbers show that 85% of the people who give regularly, providing half the budget and 15% who give regularly provide the other half.
[21:47] If you search and dig and pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into the Scriptures on what they say about money, you will be many many hours and days and getting great revelations of what the Bible says about finance. So, it’s willingness of the minister to get the revelation first.