Posted: March 26 2020 at 11:16 AM
Author: Rev. Harry Nicol, Generosity Group
12 Tips for Promoting Generosity During this Coronavirus Crisis- and After!
- Promote gratitude. Link gratitude with generosity. Generosity is a natural result of gratitude. Much has been lost with this coronavirus crisis. But much remains. The love of family and friends, the support and companionship of a life partner, your faith community, for most of us the necessitates of life are being met, and so on. Give thanks for those things that are not taken away. Express your gratitude for the precious gifts that remain through generous giving, in part to God through the church.
- When the going gets tough the people of Jesus give. They give in every way: with talents, skills, active care and concern and with financial resources. The people of Jesus respond to hold good things (like the church) together.
- In this crisis, there will be some who will be unable or unwilling to give. They will lose income and lose value in asset accounts. They may have extraordinary medical bills. They may need to support a family member who has lost a job or had extraordinary medical bills. There will some people who simply will not give during a time when the church is not meeting. To make up for this shortfall in income there will be some who can pay their pledge ahead. Pastors can make a general appeal for those who can pay ahead to do so. They could also talk directly to some folks that they know could pay ahead and who might do so if asked.
- Give yourself. State what you are doing. Leaders lead! During this time, as you appeal for people to use an online giving option, the pastor could make it clear that her/his family has set up a recurring weekly or monthly gift to the church so that their pledge is paid during this time. Encourage others to do likewise.
- Being created in the image of a very generous God we were created to be generous. It’s in our DNA. Generosity is a spiritual gift! Being generous will bless the giver. Google “benefits of generosity.” There are many. Those in your congregations will likely be more faithful disciples if they are generous.
- Do not neglect to let the congregation know that ministry continues during this crisis. “Our Tuesday night Bible study continues to meet via ZOOM.” Our group of “prayer warriors” that meets each Wednesday has been busier than ever during this time. Sharing prayer requests via group emails and texts.” “Our pastor has made 12 visits this past week on those in our church who are alone during this crisis. They have found her visits to be a real blessing.” “We’ve provided assistance to three families who have been unable to pay their rent because of layoffs during this time.” “Our children have found ways to connect via Facetime during this crisis.” Speak about what ministry is happening. How are lives being changed? How is your church showing compassion to others both within the church and the larger community during this crisis?
- Don’t be bashful about preparing a list of fixed costs that need to be paid whether our doors are open or closed. Salaries, pension, medical insurance for the pastor and other staff, utilities, apportionments, housing costs for the pastor, property and liability insurance, and so on. Please help us maintain our financial responsibilities during this time.
- Do you want to consider an emergency fund connected with the coronavirus? If you expect folks in your community to be affected in terms of layoffs, medical bills, etc. this might be a reasonable thing to do. This could be a fund for church members and others.
- Make it easy for people to give. If you haven’t done so, establish an online portal so that people can contribute weekly, monthly, one-time gifts, recurring gifts, debited out of your bank account or charged to a credit card. Make it easy. A large “donate” button needs to be on your webpage and embedded in each email newsletter. You can set up your giving so that you can receive texts or donations via Venmo (owned by PayPal).
- Provide offering envelopes. You can also make your people aware that you still receive checks and that you do have a U.S. Postal address!
- Minimize your losses. The chances are that during this time you will lose income. Doing everything on this list will minimize your loss! If you keep doing all that’s talked about here after the crisis is over, your income will increase in future months.
- Be bold! Your church needs money to do its ministry. Your people need to be generous as a part of their faithful discipleship.
For questions or more information, contact Harry Nicol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online Giving Services
NIC Apportionments Administrator David Quinn has researched several options for electronic giving and recommends the following:
Breeze has a $50.00 per month flat rate and is a church management software that allows online giving. They offer text giving, online giving, and even allow people to submit their planned giving for the year. 2.9% and 30 cents per transaction. Requires setup and maintenance by church staff.
If only using the giving portion, they charge 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction. They offer an app, text, kiosk, and online giving. Even manual entry giving if somebody wants to call in a donation and not use the website.
This may be the most popular because it’s the most well-known app for sharing money. The church just needs to set up an account and use it that way. They can send out the link via text, e-mail, etc. Most of the fees come from using credit cards. If they transfer via bank accounts instead of credit cards, they can save fees and use the money for free.
PayPal is Venmo's parent company, has an option for non-profits and churches that charges 2.2% and 30 cents per transaction. Givers do not have to set up an account. The church needs to set up to receive donations and then can share the email or phone number where to send the money. Donate buttons are available as well to put on your website. It also allows donors to donate to specific programs and accepts recurring donations.
Bank Direct Payments
Another viable option for direct payments is for members to pay via their bank's bill payment option. This will generate a check to the church and/or electronic payment. A member can enter their church information under their bill payment option (much like paying a utility bill) and then choose how often and how much to pay. It can be entered as a one-time or recurring payment.
Zoom Online Giving Training
NIC Treasurer Lonnie Chafin, Apportionments Administrator David Quinn and Generosity Group Partner Rev. Harry Nicol held a Zoom video/chat on March 26, 2020, to share information about ACH, electronic giving and ways to engage your congregations in online donations.
Watch Zoom Training