Donors are motivated to give by a wide range of goals and emotions. But all donors have one thing in common—they want to know the money they give will make a difference.
This is true of donors to both faith-based and secular organizations. For many, knowing the gifts they make to faith-based organizations are used well is even more important. Those gifts are closely tied to their faith and their deepest-held beliefs! Knowing that their gifts are well-stewarded is important.
When your members know that their gifts are used well, they’re more likely to support your work. Here’s how to inspire giving by being open about your church’s budget.
Give members insight into how you create your church budget
When I was a kid, my church had a quarterly congregational meeting where we reviewed and discussed the church budget. The finance committee ran the meeting, and people had the opportunity to ask questions about various budget line items and expenses. At the end of the meeting, the church members voted to approve or revise the budget.
While 12-year-old me thought those meetings were mind-numbing, adult me realizes how important they were. Everyone in the church knew what was in the budget and where each penny they gave was spent. Those who had concerns about each budget expenditure had the opportunity to ask questions and express their thoughts and feelings. At the end of the meeting, the congregation approved the budget and reaffirmed the direction of the church. Every week, they could tithe knowing exactly how their money would be spent.
You might not be set up to hold a church-wide meeting. But giving your members insight into your budget, spending, and decision-making processes is important. They’re more likely to give when they know how their money is being spent. Try holding virtual budgeting meetings, making proposed budgets available to members before final approval, and inviting people to ask questions about spending and budgeting.
Make your church budget and spending records public
In the nonprofit world, charities have to file IRS form 990. Those forms are public; any donor who wants to know how a nonprofit uses their money can look up that form. And many donors do! In our recent survey on donor patterns and preferences, 27% of donors across all generations look for a nonprofit’s financial reports before making a gift.
Churches aren’t required to file form 990s. But making your financials public is an important step to take toward building transparency around your church’s budget.
Consider adding a downloadable .PDF of your church’s budget to your website. This accomplishes a couple of goals! One, your members will have easy access to records of how their money is spent. And, two, potential visitors who are looking for a church home will know they’re looking at a church that’s open and honest about how they use their budget.
Remind your members what their tithes and offerings achieve
When you ask people to give, either on Sunday mornings or at other times, remind them why they tithe. Yes, Scripture talks extensively about tithing and why it’s important. But remind them that they’re doing more than fulfilling a spiritual obligation. They’re keeping the church’s lights on, supporting missionaries, supplying different outreach programs, and more. Their support directly enables the church to continue working in your community, both here and around the globe.
Donors to charities want to know their money is well-spent. Donors to faith-based organizations want the same! Because your church isn’t required to file a form 990, building financial transparency for your church can take a little creativity. But you can do it!
Invite your members to attend budget meetings and encourage them to ask questions and voice any concerns they have about how money is used. Make your church’s financial reports public; it’ll reassure your members and will show visitors you’re open and honest about your spending. And let your members know what they’re supporting with their gift! Encourage people to give confidently and generously by showing them you’re using their money responsibly as you work in your community and around the world.
Looking for church giving tools?
Qgiv has worked with thousands of churches and other faith-based organizations to make giving and tithing easier for both members and staff alike. If you have questions about our online forms, text giving options, and the other tools churches across the country are using, we’d love to talk to you. Contact us online or give us a call at 888-855-9595!