Generosity Labs Podcast // What do narcissists have to do with #GivingTuesday?

Generosity Labs Podcast // What do narcissists have to do with #GivingTuesday?

Giving Tuesday is coming.

 

What are some preparations you’re doing?

 

For today’s episode, Kenny Jahng talks about an interesting article from Market Watch entitled, How to get narcissists to give money to charity.

 

Listen as Kenny shares his two cents on taking advantage of Giving Tuesday plus on getting Narcissists to give on this special day.

 

Check out the video below!

TRANSCRIPTION

 

Hey friends, this is Kenny Jahng with Generosity Labs and we are on our countdown to Giving Tuesday which is November 28, 2018. For those of you who just joined us and don’t know what giving Tuesdays we have Thanksgiving and then the Friday afterwards is a coma day before, better known as actually Black Friday, right? So when you wake up from your food coma and you’d go out at 5:00 AM or 4:00 AM or now 2:00 AM or even the day before to get those Black Friday deals and then you have the weekend and then you go back to work on Monday and you actually don’t do work because it’s Cyber Monday. That’s when all the deals happen online. And you’re going to continue your Black Friday shopping craze for Christmas online at work. And now the Tuesday after Cyber Monday has been designated as Giving Tuesday.

 

So if you have any money left over, nonprofits around the world are banding together using this as a day to mark for generosity and giving to causes. And this is the time for your organization, whether it be a nonprofit cause driven or Christian organization like a Church to jump on the bandwagon and take advantage of Giving Tuesday. One of the things that we always say is that Giving Tuesday does not cannibalize your end of year giving campaign, but rather should be looked at as something to kick it off. Use it as an excuse to talk about giving in November as you go into the final month of the year. And one of the things that we talk about Generosity Labs is psychology as well as positioning and messaging on how to get people to give to your cause. Today, there’s an interesting article in Market Watch that has come up and I just wanted to share with you, it’s called How to get narcissists to give money to charity, which is really interesting.

 

Narcissist, they’re not known for their empathy, but this trait can be exploited for good. And so it was a quick and interesting article. Just wanted to share with you some of the learnings that they talked about based on a study that was held with different personalities and the relationships with charities. So, one of the most important things. This is a very short article. They do note that charitable giving has been on the rise. We’re seeing a record giving levels for nonprofits. In fact, there was a 3.9 percent increase between 2015, 2016. I know there was an increase in Giving Tuesday giving between 2016 and 2017. And there’s definitely going to be one this year between 2017 and 2018. Because, this is just something that we need to think about in terms of all communications and messaging for donor development.

 

How do we take advantage of the increased generosity of Americans if you’re in our country? So, back to the title of this is talking specifically about narcissists. That profile or persona of community members in your ecosystem, they too can be tapped in terms of becoming a financial supporter. And one of the most important paragraphs here, and I’ll read it out loud, it’s charitable giving, is about having empathy, recognizing and responding to the needs and emotions of other people according to the co author of this study and an associate professor of marketing. So what our room says is, this is the most important part, narcissists have difficulty with that by having empathy for other people so they’re not going to respond to those appeals that require the receiver, the audience member of the target audience to display empathy in order to open up their checkbooks.

 

Narcissists have a difficulty with that. So instead, asking them to imagine themselves as the person in need can help elicit a response in terms of giving. So, this is a very important thing. Narcissists have difficulty with that empathy characteristics. So asking them to imagine themselves as the person in need, can help elicit genuine concern and thus, donations. Now, this is a study by these two professors, in terms of consumer psychology behavior at the University of Cologne. They had over 1,300 people, you know, in that study, in looking at their responses to different charitable appeals. So this is just something that I want to remind you when you have a diversity of call to actions and different messaging that targets sub audiences, right? We talked about the SWAT framework of targeting, define your sub audience, figure out the win is for them. Then you can talk about different actions or activities to involve them in and the specific tactic or technology in order to elicit a call to action.

 

These narcissists that are a subgroup of your community can be appealed to in a way that puts them at the center of the cause, the need, and that’s when that will trigger some genuine concern on their part and then open up their pockets. So, interesting article on Market Watch, How to get narcissists to give money on charity. Would love your thoughts, leave some comments and some questions. In the meantime, check out GenerosityLabs.org. Again, send us your questions. We’re going to do a roundup Q and A episode really soon. Would love to have your question in the pile of questions that we go through, just submit it using the contact form at GenerosityLabs.org. I’m Kenny Jahng. We will continue this march to do Giving Tuesday on November 28th with more tips, more questions, and answers, more resources as we get closer to that date. Remember, generosity begins with you.

 

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

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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

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.

Generosity Labs Podcast // State of the Plate for Church Giving 2018

Generosity Labs Podcast // State of the Plate for Church Giving 2018

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.

TRANSCRIPTION

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.

 

Cash is Dead: 10 Alternatives Your Church Needs To Start Considering

Cash is Dead: 10 Alternatives Your Church Needs To Start Considering

If you think about it there really hasn’t been much in terms of advancements in the offering plate business model.

Most churches force attendees to pull out her wallet and look for cash, or simply remind them that they did not bring the checkbook yet again.

Consumers are moving away from cash and checks in a hurry.

Cash is no longer King.

Checks are definitely the step-child of currency today.

When was the last time you wrote a check when outside your home?

Digital peer to peer transactions are becoming the norm.

Electronic wallets like Amazon OR ApplePay offer convenience and familiarity.

It’s time that you look beyond taking MasterCard and Visa on your website. Although for thousands of churches, you need to do at least that.

10 PAYMENT METHODS YOUR CHURCH SHOULD CONSIDER

  1. Credit Cards
  2. Debit Cards
  3. PayPal
  4. Venmo
  5. ApplePay
  6. Amazon Pay
  7. Android Pay
  8. Google Wallet
  9. Zelle
  10. Bitcoin

WHICH ONE OF THE 10 ABOVE WOULD YOUR CHURCH CONSIDER TAKING NEXT?

Discipleship Matters in Personal Finances

Discipleship Matters in Personal Finances

Back in 2014, the church I was serving at had to cut one of our short-term mission budgets to the Natives we had been committed for many years.  The budget cut was rather sudden so the majority of high school and college students who comprised the bulk of the group were not quite ready with the doubling of the mission registration cost.  I was getting rather worried and began to wonder if people will be able to afford to join the team and serve as we had done before.

It was during the early spring of 2014 when a friend of mine just called me out of the blue.  I hadn’t spoken to him for about 5 years and the day he happened to call me was the day after I found out about the short-term mission budget changes.

Just when I began to complain to God about the injustices of this sudden change, my friend called and asked me if I had any financial need.  He began to tell me that he felt prompted by God to call me and give to any need I may have.  I was speechless and so humbled as I was reminded by God that he knew our situation and heard my cry.

I began to share with my friend about our sudden turn of budget constraint that was placed on the team I was leading.  After I shared, he simply asked me how much we needed.  Just like that?  I said that the price was doubled from $400 to $800, and this affected roughly about 15 people, so the total we needed was $6000.  My friend wrote a check out for $6300 that very day and mailed it out right away.  I got the check a few days later and submitted it to the church and we were able to provide a scholarship to those who needed the funds.

That year, we took a team of 20 people as we did annually, and we were able to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Natives we had been ministering for close to a decade.  All because God had prompted a family’s heart, and this family was positioned to give generously and was heeding God’s leading in the way they can bless the church of Christ.

What was especially amazing for me from this experience was that my friend was a high school teacher.  How does a person with a teacher’s salary manage to save up so much money and give so generously?  And I began to think more seriously about what we needed to do to disciple our people to be positioned to give generously when prompted by God.

In order for God’s people to be positioned to give generously, a few things must have happened in their lives.

  • Whose is it? My friend and his wife embraced the reality that everything belonged to God and that they were temporary stewards (managers) of God’s finances.
  • How much do you need? They also knew what they needed to provide for their family.  Because they knew what was given for their family’s need, they also knew what was given to them to give away generously.
  • Prioritize giving regularly. He and his wife spent less than they earned and intentionally saved for giving. I believe this is a mark of God’s people who give consistently and generously.
  • Seek the Master’s wishes. People who want to follow the wishes of their Master seek the Master’s input.  They prayed and listened.  They sought and waited to see where God might want them to give.
  • Obey the Master. After praying, they obeyed by responding to how they believe God had prompted them to give.

I remember sharing this amazing news to my congregation a few Sundays after the donation.  A member came to me afterward.  She shared how encouraged and challenged she was to see such generous and sacrificial giving.

I told her that she too can do what my friend did if she also began to live out her life as God’s steward by 1) recognizing that everything belongs to God, 2) spending less than what she earned by living with a budget, and 3) prioritizing giving.

We all want to.  We have the desire to give generously to God and God’s purposes, but it is not enough to have great intentions.  If we want to give generously and sacrificially to God, we have to position ourselves by managing God’s treasures wisely.  That takes work and discipline like anything of value.

Dream here with me.

What could your local church do if the people of God in your church were managing finances God’s way by spending less than they earned, didn’t have any debt, and tithing and giving above and beyond with generosity?  Imagine the kind of ministry you can do for your community and the world with the unique call God has placed in your local church’s heart?

I’m reminded of the parable of the talents from Matthew 25 which teaches us about the principle of stewardship.  We are reminded that 1) the Master owns it all, 2) the Master gave temporary management of his treasures, 3) the Master will come to judge how we have managed.

Church, how are you discipling God’s people in this important area of managing our treasures?  We do such a good job of discipling our people in time and talents, why not treasures?  After all, Jesus talks quite a lot about it in the Scriptures.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul JangPaul Jang serves as an Associate Pastor at Church Gathered and Scattered in North Haledon, New Jersey. He is also Certified Financial Coach & Church Stewardship Ministry Consultant at www.jangfinancial.com

Top 7 Things Pastors Can Do To Ensure Millennials Give To The Church

Top 7 Things Pastors Can Do To Ensure Millennials Give To The Church

Q: What’s a millennial?

A: Anyone under 35 at work you don’t like

Why is there so much so much snarkiness when it comes to an entire generation?

Did you know that they are actually the largest segment of the workforce today?

That Heisman move isn’t helping things in the workplace. The church is no different.

The big issue is, unless church leaders begin to understand how to relate to this (and the next generations coming up right behind it), the tithes & offerings received will continue to dwindle.

In the spirit of the snarkiness that exists, here is a list of things pastors should do to ensure they are convincing millennials to contribute financially to the ministry.

7 Ways Churches Can Get Millennials To Give Financially

  1. Use guilt and obligation.
  2. Tell them the ideal is 10%.
  3. Take only checks or cash.
  4. Tell them it’s for the church, not some other cause.
  5. Tell them the overall budget is none of their business.
  6. Don’t talk about money or financial health or the connection between money and spiritual health. Ever. Not in small groups. Not in personal interactions. And definitely never from the pulpit.
  7. Never disclose that Jesus would talked about money in the Bible.

What am I missing?

Generosity Labs Podcast with Jason Altman of Enterprise Holdings

Generosity Labs Podcast with Jason Altman of Enterprise Holdings

Today’s episode is different from our usual interviews.

We sat down with Jason Altman, Regional Vice President of Enterprise Holdings, to talk about how the company moves corporate social responsibility forward to the community.

Jason shares his unique experiences and examples of how their organization is involved in doing social good.

Check out the episode below.

CONTACT: jasonaltman@ehi.com

TRANSCRIPTION:

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 jasonaltman@ehi.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.

Generosity Labs Podcast with Chris Willard of Leadership Network

Generosity Labs Podcast with Chris Willard of Leadership Network

Is your church ready for Giving Tuesday?

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.

Check out their conversation below.

 

WEBSITES MENTIONED

Year-end giving guide by generis.com

leadnet.org

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Blog: ChrisWillard.me

 

HIGHLIGHTS

[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.

Generosity Labs Podcast with Cesie Delve Scheuermann of Inspiring Generosity

Generosity Labs Podcast with Cesie Delve Scheuermann of Inspiring Generosity

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.

Reach out to Cesie Delve Scheuermann on inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com.

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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Transcription

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 called Inspiring 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 called Inspiring 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.

KENNY: Definitely.

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.

CESIE: Absolutely.

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 inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com 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.

CESIE: Awesome.

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.