5 #GivingTuesday Ideas to Inspire Your Church to Give

5 #GivingTuesday Ideas to Inspire Your Church to Give

This week on Tithe.y TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry are joined by Jim Sheppard, Principal at Generis, to discuss five ways you can inspire your church to give this #GivingTuesday.

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Modern Church leader
Publish date
October 31, 2018

This week on Tithe.y TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry are joined by Jim Sheppard, Principal at Generis, to discuss five ways you can inspire your church to give this #GivingTuesday.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • 4 reasons why your church should join this giving movement
  • The shocking state of giving in the church
  • How the church has mishandled talking about money
  • The must-have technology for compelling people to give
  • How to turn first-time givers into recurring givers


Here’s a list of the resources mentioned during the show or in the comments:


This week on Tithe.y TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry are joined by Jim Sheppard, Principal at Generis, to discuss five ways you can inspire your church to give this #GivingTuesday.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • 4 reasons why your church should join this giving movement
  • The shocking state of giving in the church
  • How the church has mishandled talking about money
  • The must-have technology for compelling people to give
  • How to turn first-time givers into recurring givers


Here’s a list of the resources mentioned during the show or in the comments:

podcast transcript

(Scroll for more)

This week on Tithe.y TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry are joined by Jim Sheppard, Principal at Generis, to discuss five ways you can inspire your church to give this #GivingTuesday.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • 4 reasons why your church should join this giving movement
  • The shocking state of giving in the church
  • How the church has mishandled talking about money
  • The must-have technology for compelling people to give
  • How to turn first-time givers into recurring givers


Here’s a list of the resources mentioned during the show or in the comments:

VIDEO transcript

(Scroll for more)

Dean Sweetman:  Hi, Dean Sweetman here, along with Frank Barry and Jim Sheppard from

Jim Sheppard:   Hey, Dean, how are you, brother? Good to see you. Good to see you.

Frank Barry:    [crosstalk 00:00:28] sir.

Jim Sheppard:   Good to see you.

Dean Sweetman:  Generis is pretty much the premier fundraising ministry, and we've had a great relationship with them a long time. We've got a very, very exciting time here. We're going to talk specifically about Giving Tuesday, which is coming up November the 27th.

Jim Sheppard:   November 27th. Yes, sir.

Frank Barry:    Every year.

Dean Sweetman:  Every year, and it's been growing.

Jim Sheppard:   It's not November 27th every year.

Dean Sweetman:  It changes.

Jim Sheppard:   Right.

Frank Barry:    It changes.

Jim Sheppard:   'Cause it's Tuesday.

Dean Sweetman:  Like Easter.

Jim Sheppard:   Right. Like Easter. [crosstalk 00:00:57]

Dean Sweetman:  With the moons. With the moons.

Jim Sheppard:   You thought you could get that by me.

Dean Sweetman:  You're sharp.

Jim Sheppard:   I know.

Dean Sweetman:  So I knew nothing about Giving Tuesday until about three years ago-

Frank Barry:    Yesterday?

Dean Sweetman:  No, no, I knew it, three years. I started hearing it. I'm like, oh, that's nothing. That's nothing. That's not no big deal. And then it kept growing in my little, small brain.

Jim Sheppard:   Right.

Dean Sweetman:  It's a big deal.

Jim Sheppard:   It is, yep, it's a big deal.

Dean Sweetman:  And you're an expert.

Jim Sheppard:   So, yeah, in giving. We think we know a little bit about that.

Dean Sweetman:  I think you do, too.

Frank Barry:    How long has Generis been around?

Jim Sheppard:   1989. It's been around since 1989, I came to the firm in 1992.

Frank Barry:    And you guys primarily focus on raising funds for churches.

Jim Sheppard:   Giving Development for churches and Christian ministry organizations.

Frank Barry:    What types of fundraising activities is that, capital campaigns?

Jim Sheppard:   Yes.

Frank Barry:    And more?

Jim Sheppard:   Annual Fund.

Frank Barry:    Annual Fund.

Jim Sheppard:   You name it, projects, budgets. What we really like to do is to help them with longterm giving development.

Frank Barry:    Got it.

Jim Sheppard:   Not just short-

Dean Sweetman:  Build the culture, right?

Jim Sheppard:   Build the culture, get the ... I mean, it's easy, it's kind of like when I talk about the difference between a charcoal fire and a fire with some hardwood logs on. A nice big hardwood logs on. Both of them are fires. Both of them produce heat, but one of them lasts a long time [crosstalk 00:02:09]. Sometimes our clients need more of a charcoal fire. They get something, a project-

Dean Sweetman:  Get started.

Jim Sheppard:   Or maybe a crisis or something, a building that they need short term, their budget's running short. But what we really love is when a client calls us and says, whether it's church or ministry organization, and says, hey look, we don't have a campaign need and we're not really at a crisis mode. We just sense that our donor base is not as activated as it could be.

Dean Sweetman:  Wow.

Jim Sheppard:   You know, if we could activate our givers and get them more on board with what we're doing longterm. Well, when you do that, now you're not dependent on funding the budget or funding a project. You now got them bought into mission and vision, who you're trying to be longterm, what I like to call the long tail of generosity. Sustainable giving over a long period of time.

Dean Sweetman:  So good. Right.

Jim Sheppard:   So that's the oak fire versus the charcoal fire. I like both, but given a choice, I'd like to build the oak fire for them. That's what's fun.

Frank Barry:    I think it's fascinating. I know we're going to talk about Giving Tuesday, but I think it's fascinating what you guys do for churches, because it doesn't strike me with the 300 and some odd thousand churches in the US, that many churches think about this kind of stuff the way that you guys do, right?

Jim Sheppard:   Right.

Frank Barry:    How do you help churches tune into that?

Jim Sheppard:   The interesting thing, here's the thing. They'll say money's not the main thing.

Frank Barry:    But.

Jim Sheppard:   But money is the main thing.

Dean Sweetman:  You and I both know.

Jim Sheppard:   I mean it's like this, Dean, you can have, we're here at Catalyst. A lot of cars in the parking lot, probably some nice cars out in the parking lot. If you don't have gas in the tank, you're not going anywhere and that's what we try to tell them. You can have vision and mission in this great church or this great ministry organization, but if you don't have fuel in the tank, it's not going anywhere. And so they're like, well, I don't want to be known as that guy. Okay, well let's don't be known as that guy.

Dean Sweetman:  So that right there, I run into so many pastors in what we do, and just from ministry. For me, pastors are afraid to talk about finance and money and generosity and stewardship. All the things that Jesus. It is just baffling to me.

Jim Sheppard:   So.

Dean Sweetman:  So many don't get it.

Jim Sheppard:   Be careful not to trigger a longer conversation than I have here.

Frank Barry:    This is not going to be two hours long.

Jim Sheppard:   So let's shorten this up, and give you my take on it. Here's my take. I think we are in what I hope is the end of an era that's basically the boomer area. 1950 till today, where we have money, The money conversation be something other than what it was intended to become Biblically. We've turned it more into fundraising than stewardship. We've turned it more into a financial exercise than a spiritual exercise. We've made it more about funding the budget than the need of the giver.

Dean Sweetman:  So good.

Jim Sheppard:   You know, and for me, I think I like to just go back where Paul just kind of slipped this one thought into the middle of this whole book of Philippians. He slipped a stewardship thought in on us. In Philippians four, what he's talking to them about you were, at one time one time, you were the only people that supported me. And he gets right in there. He talks in 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. Listen to what he says. "Not that I seek the gift for my account, but for the fruit that abounds to your account."

Jim Sheppard:   So I saw Andy Stanley walk by here a few minutes ago, and he would say it this way. "It's not what we want from you, it's what we want for you." Well, you know, Andy's just paraphrasing Paul, frankly. And so we're in this era where it's made it more about budgets and more about the need of the church to receive your money than it is about you to give your money.

Dean Sweetman:  That's right.

Jim Sheppard:   And if we can flip that. Now on top of that, we're in this incredible run up of affluence. I mean, I know not everybody's benefited from it. Jesus said the poor you'll always have with you. I get that. On the whole, lots and lots, in America-

Frank Barry:    In America. Absolutely.

Jim Sheppard:   Have had this run up. And at the same point in time that we've done that, the average rate of giving per family in the American church is now about what it was. Are you ready for this? 1928. What was 1928? The time of the Great Depression. I read the Wall Street Journal this morning. We're not in the great depression, or even close to that. And so if you think about that, then you've got this run up in affluence, and giving as a percentage of income has gone down. Look at this. Look at this. Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I know what made God smile this morning. I can assure you that doesn't. Blessedness like none other, and we're holding onto it more. It's not the only issue-

Frank Barry:    But it's a big one.

Jim Sheppard:   The way pastors talk about it has a lot to do, and so what's happened is we take the pushback from people in the pew, because money is personal, about the the most personal thing there is. You know, pastors will tell me, I get people to come into my office, they'll tell me their deepest, darkest secrets from their childhood, their family, their life, and I say, hey, so Dean, let's talk about your giving. They say, that switches the conversation off. It's done. That's it.

Dean Sweetman:  Time's up.

Jim Sheppard:   And so it's very personal. But what happens is, and this is Jim's assessment, pastors have pandered to the lowest common denominator and have reduced it to a pure fundraising exercise that looks a lot more like what my alma mater does than what we need to be doing in the church. And if we can turn that conversation around and help churches understand. Pastor, it's not that you talk about money, it's how you talk about money.

Dean Sweetman:  Every time.

Jim Sheppard:   Well, why do you say that Jim? Well, so let's look at just one example. The syndicated talk radio shows. Not that that's the best example, but it's one. Take the political guys out. You know the number one guy in America is, by far, Dave Ramsey. [crosstalk 00:07:37] What's his topic?

Dean Sweetman:  No, he comes on 3:00 where I live. Financial Peace.

Jim Sheppard:   Take Rush, Sean, whoever else is in there, take the political people out. Who's the number one guy? By far. [crosstalk 00:07:49] Is there anyone who is more in your face about money than Dave Ramsey? He's apparently not getting in trouble with it.

Frank Barry:    And it's kind of like he hits the personal finance thing in, it's personal, right? Because he's focused on helping-

Jim Sheppard:   He just bashes them in the face.

Dean Sweetman:  Pushes it right down their throat.

Jim Sheppard:   [crosstalk 00:08:07] Oh, please.

Frank Barry:    And they want it, it's like they want it. They want, they probably know the answer they're going to get, but they will call in and they want it and they will just want to hear it, and save more money, get out of debt and go.

Jim Sheppard:   I know it, I know you got to tell me to do more [inaudible 00:08:23], but please. That's why we get a personal trainer. Right? Let me do more burpees. But I came here because I love the pain. [crosstalk 00:08:31] The point is, back to the conversation, to what you said, Dean, is that when pastors say that, I try to get them to understand, pastor, maybe it's the way you've been talking about money. Maybe it's the fact that every time you talk about money, there's an ask on the table. How about if we talk about money when there's not an ask on the table, what don't we try that? Kind of like your trainer would do. Why don't we train for a triathlon or marathon? Whatever you do, when there is not one coming up. It might be a better idea to get you in shape. So one does come up, you don't have to train as hard. Right?

Dean Sweetman:  Exactly.

Frank Barry:    But everyone needs a triathlon to start training.

Jim Sheppard:   Something. 5K is enough for me sometimes. It's like, come on, get in there bro.

Dean Sweetman:  So Jim, is Giving Tuesday an opportunity to jumpstart something in the church?

Frank Barry:    Can we start with what it is, because I don't know if everyone watching knows what Giving Tuesday is. So let's start there.

Jim Sheppard:   So you and I were talking a little bit a while ago and so it's like a number of years ago. It was about 12 years ago, 10, 12 years ago. I'm trying to remember exactly when it started. AFP, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Blackbaud, and a couple other institutions said, what if we could promote philanthropic giving once a year. So it started as a non church movement. It's still is to this day, kind of non church movement.

Frank Barry:    It was like the add on to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Jim Sheppard:   Perfect. Exactly.

Frank Barry:    It was like Giving Tuesday. So there was like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday.

Jim Sheppard:   And they all happened boom, boom, boom.

Frank Barry:    And those organizations got together, said why can't we create a movement around generosity.

Jim Sheppard:   Exactly.

Frank Barry:    Instead of just giving, instead of spending and taking. Right. So Giving Tuesday came-

Dean Sweetman:  And you spend a little less on Black Friday and give a little more on-

Jim Sheppard:   Which is exactly why they positioned it as the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It was all, boom. Like your point, right there along the way.

Jim Sheppard:   So what's happened is it's caught some traction in the philanthropic culture, but only outside the church. The church really hasn't jumped in.

Dean Sweetman:  'Cause I live in the church. So that's why I didn't know about it. Where you're more afield than I am.

Frank Barry:    Charitable giving, like the Susan G. Komens and American Cancer and Red Cross. They're all participating.

Jim Sheppard:   You name, you big, your alma mater, you name anybody, they're out there saying, we got to, come on, give to us on Giving Tuesday. They make it super easy. They give you a reason to give. They do all, meanwhile the church is sitting over here, whatever. So we're starting to take up the banner at Generis this year, and we're going to continue that, to try to promote Giving Tuesday inside the church. Just say on a day when all of America is promoting this idea of giving, let's say let the church-

Frank Barry:    In the month leading up it.

Jim Sheppard:   In the month leading up to it.

Frank Barry:    They're all talking about it.

Jim Sheppard:   'Cause you gotta do that. And so let's figure out what we could do to put the church into the equation, because my assessment is, you're letting all this giving happen. Some of it could come your direction, if you only were out there in the fray. Let's get you in the fray. But I think you really have to start with, the church is gonna want to say, why do I need to do this in the first place? Well, I could give you a number. First of all, it's very timely and relevant. I mean, you're jumping in on something that's kind of a movement.

Frank Barry:    They're probably, people are hearing about it in your church, right? You'll have some percentage of the congregation going, oh yeah, I've heard of it.

Dean Sweetman:  And there'll be someone's neighbors dog who's going to be saying, hey, I'm a part of the March for Dimes, and we're doing Giving Tuesday. So it's, that's how I started listening, hearing other people talk about it.

Jim Sheppard:   They'll see online. They'll see it. Several other things. It's an opportunity to engage nominal givers or non givers in something that doesn't benefit your church. I'll talk about that in a minute, because I think you're really, if you're going to do Giving Tuesday properly for the church, it's not about money that comes to you. Say everything we take in on this date goes to where. One or two projects. Whatever that is. We'll talk about that in a minute.

Jim Sheppard:   I think it's a way to engage younger givers. Churches are very, very, you know this, Dean, using your platform, because they can't get to them. And they need a robust giving platform. Something that younger givers will actually use. There's a lot of platforms out there, but there's a whole bunch of them that's just not any good to use. Most in fact, most of them that comes out of the church management system, but I'd tell them all, oh, I was like, I love the church management systems. There's not a one of them that has a decent giving interface. And so they'll say to me, well, you know, my people don't like to use that. Well, I'll tell you why they don't to use it. It's not a good one. It's awful.

Frank Barry:    If it's clunky and hard-

Jim Sheppard:   It's awful. Yeah. Other than that, it works.

Frank Barry:    Yeah.

Jim Sheppard:   So you can really promote this to your younger givers who tend to be more cause oriented. I want to say tend to be. They're not exclusively that. People think that, but they're not. But they tend to be that.

Dean Sweetman:  The baby boomer generation.

Jim Sheppard:   Right, exactly. What they are is a little bit of anti-institutional. So if we can present the church as more a part of a movement, a charitable cause, something that's doing human good on that Giving Tuesday, we've got a better chance to activate. This is the word, activate some new donors. I mean churches are notoriously bad-

Frank Barry:    Not language that the church uses.

Jim Sheppard:   Use different language. Totally different language. Totally different language. So for example, my church here, we are one of the founding partners in a ministry, an Atlanta ministry called Street Grace. Atlanta is one of the four largest crossroads for sex trafficking in America, and one of the top 10 in the world, because of our transportation system. So Street Grace as a ministry that if you give to Perimeter Church, we do some there, but let's just say for example, and I don't know what Perimeter's gonna do on Giving Tuesday. Let's just say that you put Street Grace front and center on Giving Tuesday. That's a whole different language.

Dean Sweetman:  Absolutely, and the millennials are going to drop everything they're doing and they gonna listen to that.

Jim Sheppard:   It's got mercy. It's got justice, it's got compassion in it.

Frank Barry:    And how cool for your church, that becomes even a bigger community thing. To know your church is part of this bigger thing.

Dean Sweetman:  And it's a chance to expand the church's reach into the community, but here's, I guarantee you what you face. And you'll know this. Getting a pastor to think, oh my goodness, I'm going to raise this money to go over here, there's not going to be enough for me next weekend.

Frank Barry:    My budget.

Dean Sweetman:  And my budget, which is absolutely not true. There's always more, but it's getting pastors out of the poverty mindset of promoting something outside their own need.

Jim Sheppard:   Yeah. You know, Dean, I think the more I go into this, pastor's voice, leadership matters in all topics, but especially on this topic. And when you find one that has that scarcity mindset, it's really hard to get past that, because I mean, our whole idea is, yeah, pastor, where that's going on out there, but what we're doing is promoting giving. That ultimately giving will benefit your church.

Dean Sweetman:  It'll come back.

Jim Sheppard:   You can build a bigger pie, and we can build more engagement around your church, and it's just, it's like, well, do I get anything this week? No, not this week, but you're going to get some up into the right, you know, over the next six to 12 months.

Frank Barry:    Absolutely.

Jim Sheppard:   And if you do this repetitively and get, it has an incremental, but then it has an exponential effect. Building it. What about next year's Giving Tuesday? If you did 140,000 this year, what we can do 275 next year.

Dean Sweetman:  Right, and you'll get some young millennials will get excited about it, and if you're smart, pastors, what you'll do is you'll harness that excitement of your millennial members, and then you say, hey, next year you guys come back with, we supported this ministry this year, let's look for something else. And then you get them excited about it.

Frank Barry:    Report on the impact it had, right? Because six months later there's some progress.

Dean Sweetman:  And you can build with that kind of age group. And that gets them ultimately in the giving flow.

Jim Sheppard:   Now, you know the other thing too is, you know, so talk about reasons why you would want to engage. It's relevant and timely. It's a good way to reach younger givers. It's a good way to activate people who are not giving meaningfully. It's a good way to activate volunteers, 'cause if you're going to do this right, you're going to have to create a little bit of a movement inside of your church. And I just think it's, you know, another topic, another one of these longer conversations. The less engaged culture inside the church, where active church members are showing up less than they used to.

Jim Sheppard:   You know, we wrote a ebook on called The Big Shift, where we went into that in a lot of detail. And we've talk about the fact that if you're going to measure people just on the basis of attendance and giving, you're going to miss the boat, because you really need to be thinking about this scorecard that's called engagement. You want your people engaged in doing things and being a part of what you do. Even if they're only there twice a month because of family or other things. Not that we want to go, we don't want to let that go without challenging it at some point in time, but if I've got a couple over here who are showing up twice a month, the kids are in club ball. They can't make it back on weekends, but they're engaged in volunteerism, they're serving in the community. They're leading a small group. Their kids are in the youth group, they're there. They give regularly, that's what we call that engagement thing.

Jim Sheppard:   So Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to create another level of engagement for volunteers who might not say, I don't have a place in church, and you get them involved around the Giving Tuesday movement.

Frank Barry:    And they're passionate about that cause.

Jim Sheppard:   That cause or whatever it is.

Frank Barry:    Whatever you're a part of. We do a thing in our church. We support a organization called Hope WOrldwide. And they do work all over the world, but it's kind of similar. We do it all year, but they do a big Giving Tuesday campaign, and so you get people that now are giving them more to Hope Worldwide through Giving Tuesday, because they love the work they do. They get to see the hospitals that they've built, and the kids that they're sending backpacks to, and just all the work they do in hopes, getting better and better at running Giving Tuesday, and using the church as a distribution channel for getting that message out.

Jim Sheppard:   I love that. I love that. Yeah, so what you get to do is you get to take a cause that you're really passionate about, that's near and dear to your heart, and you get to put them on display for your church. And talk about them in a different way, and engage these younger givers. And activate these nominal givers, and get these volunteers. So there's a nice big win for the church, if they'll just jump in and understand what ... If you're going to measure it, Dean, here's the key. Especially the first year, if you're only gonna measure it based on the dollars that come in the door, you know I'm going to tell a pastor, you might just want to not do this. I think if that's all you're going to measure, you're in it for the wrong reason. Because you can grow this over a period of years, but don't look for the win in dollars. I would look for the win more in terms of the number of people.

Frank Barry:    In a way, this isn't about Giving Tuesday really, right. It's about having maybe this other thing or this project that your church is passionate about it, and Giving Tuesday is a way of helping to fund that thing. But if you've got something in your church, like the one you described where the church is really fired up about it, that lasts all year long, and Giving Tuesday's just one day out of the year where you can put an extra emphasis on it.

Jim Sheppard:   Right. So then what you do, I think the next step is once you've kind of got past the why, you've got to develop a plan. I mean you've got to be strategic about this and that's why we're writing the ebook, is to give you a five or six point plan or begin to think about what you're going to, select the cause or causes that you're going to support. Reach out to them and forge a partnership with them, where they know that you're going to be their Giving Tuesday partner.

Dean Sweetman:  So you want to pre-do that.

Jim Sheppard:   Exactly.

Dean Sweetman:  You want find your mission, your local mission. I love the sense of doing something local, and even talking to someone, I guarantee you the millennials in your church, they'll know some causes.

Jim Sheppard:   Oh my gosh.

Dean Sweetman:  They'll know some of these ministries. Right? So you could get a list and you, this doesn't fit. That's not really us. Wow, there's a sweet spot. So you're going to find that cause. And I would think it would be good keeping it local, because Then you can get those people back later. You know, you've handed them a check for 10,000. You bought a bunch of blankets and whatever you did-

Frank Barry:    If it was local too, you bring them to church one Sunday-

Dean Sweetman:  Boom. Hey,, church, we want to tell you what all that effort and those funds, this is what it did. You interview the guy, right? You get these great success stories, and build momentum going on.

Jim Sheppard:   So I would do something like, I mean I love that thought, Dean, it's just like. So let's just say you picked a cause or a couple of causes, and you've done it. Let's just say it's two. You're going to go half and half. You're going to collect the information on everybody who gave on Giving Tuesday, hopefully an email-

Dean Sweetman:  Automatically if you're using our app.

Jim Sheppard:   Well, we'll talk about that in a minute, too. Because I want to talk about that. And it's one of the leverage points, is you're going to have their information. So after Giving Tuesday, let's just say you did 140,000, so you got $70,000 check here. $70,000 check there. Take a video crew with you when take that check to the ministry, and email that to every single person, say-

Dean Sweetman:  Even if it's just your phone. Just take the video every time.

Jim Sheppard:   Exactly. And say when you gave to this on Giving Tuesday, I want you to look at what happened.

Dean Sweetman:  Exactly.

Jim Sheppard:   Look at the face of the executive director when we walk in with a $70,000 check or whatever it was. And so you get them excited about that. There's nothing that activates donors like seeing results. They love to see results. But there's so many causes out there. You don't get to see results, and they really lose confidence. Wait a minute, did my money really go where I wanted it?

Frank Barry:    Many churches aren't good at talking about results. It's like not part of what they think.

Jim Sheppard:   Now you're trying to start another one of these longer conversations.

Dean Sweetman:  They don't do it on the way in with giving, and then they're not good at talking about it after the fact.

Frank Barry:    Like telling stories and showing results. This is a great opportunity to exercise some of that muscle, learn how to do this well around Giving Tuesday, if you can-

Dean Sweetman:  And then bring it as best practice into the rest of the church.

Frank Barry:    Bring it into the church, how you talk about giving and just in general, so I love, it's showing the impact.

Jim Sheppard:   So I don't want to go around the road too long, because it's a longer conversation, but once you triggered is this idea for me that churches are notoriously guilty of taking their givers for granted.

Dean Sweetman:  It's true.

Jim Sheppard:   And not communicating impact. Oh, they gave in the name of the Lord. Yes, they did. Thank them anyway.

Frank Barry:    Absolutely.

Jim Sheppard:   They gave in the name of the Lord. Send him a video talks about the impacts, show it on your church on Sunday morning.

Frank Barry:    We did a survey and over a thousand church leaders answered the survey. One of the questions, there's a few questions in this category, but one of them was related to how often do you thank your donors for giving, your members for giving, and the other one was, how often do you tell stories of impact?

Jim Sheppard:   Oh my gosh.

Frank Barry:    And so it was a one to 10 scale. And the average answer in both of those categories was a three or four.

Jim Sheppard:   I had this, I had my three fingers. [crosstalk 00:22:40]

Dean Sweetman:  I knew it was going to be that, but we got the data.

Frank Barry:    Over a thousand church leaders and that was the, and then-

Jim Sheppard:   So it's no longer hypothetical. You got data's back up.

Frank Barry:    Absolutely, absolutely.

Dean Sweetman:  And that to me was, is we teach, use the Bible, use scripture as your basis for talking about generosity and giving blah, blah, blah. And the storytelling, the testimony from people who have generously sacrificed. There's nothing more powerful than someone sitting in the pew and they're like, man, if if they can do it, maybe we can do it. And that's just-

Frank Barry:    And getting the church in the habit of finding those stories.

Dean Sweetman:  It's almost, you got to have a little team out there hunting around. Corporate leaders and some-

Jim Sheppard:   They say that over and over, great comment. They say that over and over again. Well we don't know where to find the stories. Okay, then you've got to cultivate a culture of storytelling. Because if you cultivate a culture of storytelling, the stories are going to come out of the woodwork for you.

Frank Barry:    And I remember talking to you one time, and you were using small groups-

Dean Sweetman:  We used small groups-

Frank Barry:    To find the story.

Dean Sweetman:  And they trickle up to the staff.

Jim Sheppard:   I love that.

Dean Sweetman:  And the staff would bring them to me, and we'd, man this would be great. And we'd either video them or do them live. Stories.

Jim Sheppard:   Because here's what happens. So we've got the church over here that doesn't thank it's donors. It doesn't communicate impact. It's doesn't tell stories. We've got the nonprofit world over here. Their very survival depends on what three things, those three things. It's all they do. And so the pastor will say to me-

Dean Sweetman:  We've got a captive audience that turns up every week. So we take them for granted.

Jim Sheppard:   They take them for granted. Don't leverage the 52 times we have them in front of us. So pastors will say to me, well, you know, I know they give to this and that. Why do you think they do that, pastor? Well, I'm not sure. Well, let's talk about that. 'Cause I think that's a solvable problem.

Dean Sweetman:  Easy.

Jim Sheppard:   But it involves, it's a turn in the water. You got to shift this over here.

Frank Barry:    It work to make this happen.

Jim Sheppard:   It's work, it's work. I'm sorry, it's work, but if you're going to build this longterm fire, not the charcoal fire, this is what you have to do.

Frank Barry:    So I know we only have a few minutes. Giving Tuesday, you wrote this guide, so it's being published-

Jim Sheppard:   Probably in two or three weeks. During the first week of October should be out late October.

Frank Barry:    So we're going to tell everyone, we'll promote it.

Jim Sheppard:   We'll give it to you. We'll give you guys all the stuff.

Dean Sweetman:  And we'll blast [crosstalk 00:24:58].

Frank Barry:    And so if I'm a church leader, I'm hearing about Giving Tuesday for the first time, maybe I did a little bit last year. You were about to run through the five things. So hit the, how far, how early should I start? With the planning side of it. I'm going to pick an organization to partner with. And then what are a couple of the other things in there that I should do?

Jim Sheppard:   One of the first things I like to set, to say to them is in addition to picking the cause or causes, set measurable goals, not necessarily dollars. We would like to see 500 people participate in Giving Tuesday. We'd like to see 200 people who've never given to our church participate in Giving Tuesday, or whatever it is.

Dean Sweetman:  And state that from the pulpit?

Jim Sheppard:   State it. State it. As part of the promotion and the lead up. We're making a big deal out of this. By the way, on the Sunday before Giving Tuesday, you cannot participate in Giving Tuesday here today. You have to do it on Giving Tuesday.

Frank Barry:    Wow.

Jim Sheppard:   So what are we doing? We're forcing them to go to a mobile solution.

Dean Sweetman:  You're a dream, Jim.

Jim Sheppard:   Well, no, it's a setup, bro. It's in the ebook, Dean. It's actually right there.

Frank Barry:    And we've never seen it. So it's already-

Jim Sheppard:   Yeah. We just like, you know, you've got to, churches are struggling to get people to give on, and I walk into churches and I'm like, so what do you think about our giving systems here? It's like, so let me ask you this, if I walk into your church on a Sunday morning, can I give within 30 seconds on this right here?

Dean Sweetman:  Or 10.

Jim Sheppard:   And if they so much as even stammer, I was like okay, we've got a problem.

Dean Sweetman:  Let's talk about later.

Jim Sheppard:   What percentage of your transactions, of your dollars are coming in other than the plate on Sunday morning? Oh, well most of our income comes into the plate. Why's that? [inaudible 00:26:37]

Dean Sweetman:  When you ask that is, we're talking about hundreds of thousands of gifts. Two thirds Monday to Saturday. Only one third on Sunday, when you have a mobile system.

Frank Barry:    Mobile.

Jim Sheppard:   Two thirds. See I love that, because what I'm telling them, if it's not a minimum of 40 percent, you're not even in the game. And you're saying it needs to be 60 or 65 percent, 'cause you know it can happen.

Dean Sweetman:  We take out all our [crosstalk 00:26:57]-

Jim Sheppard:   And the key is, not to jump right in to ship, but you know this. The key is you have to have something that the users love to use. Churches are notorious for picking the one that the finance and the accounting people like, because it's low cost.

Dean Sweetman:  Exactly.

Jim Sheppard:   It's in our church management system.

Frank Barry:    Now this is a longer conversation for us.

Dean Sweetman:  For us, we get jazzed up.

Jim Sheppard:   Sounds like I'm on the sales team there. It's my frustration, and I'm like, guys, nobody's going to use that. Get something they'll use. And you guys have come up with such a nice interface. It's mobile, it's friendly. You know, now when you can API that back into whatever system, nobody has the excuse of it doesn't [inaudible 00:27:34] our system.

Frank Barry:    So make it easy to give is the point in all that.

Jim Sheppard:   Make it easy to give is a great point.

Frank Barry:    Give on Giving Tuesday-

Jim Sheppard:   Set measurable goals. Make it easy to give. Make sure you're clear on what channels and audiences you're trying to reach. You know, probably when you pick your cause, you're saying, I want this channel or I want this group of people, and really trying to reach them. Make sure it's a group of people that you're trying to activate in the life of your church. And think about your community, not just people that are in your church, but the broader community, where they might just, wow.

Frank Barry:    So I can go to my neighbors and be like, hey, we're doing this thing and I want to ask you to participate and make it really easy.

Jim Sheppard:   And clear message. Just clear messaging, just very, very clear message. Here's what we're doing. Here's why we're doing, by the way, and say this more than once, not one penny of what you give on Giving Tuesdays benefits our church. It all goes 100 percent goes to these two causes.

Dean Sweetman:  Love it.

Frank Barry:    Amen. It's fantastic.

Jim Sheppard:   Maximize your website. I mean, everything.

Frank Barry:    A lot more too. We'll make sure we promo the ebook as soon as it comes out.

Dean Sweetman:  Absolutely.

Jim Sheppard:   It's a done for you guide. You take our ebook, run the play, you'll have a great Giving Tuesday experience.

Frank Barry:    This is awesome, Jim.

Jim Sheppard:   Good to be here guys. Thanks for the invite.

Frank Barry:    Good time. Thank you very much.

Dean Sweetman: fans, thanks for tuning in today. This is absolutely gold, and we love you guys and we'll see you next time. See you.

Frank Barry:    See you fans.

This week on Tithe.y TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry are joined by Jim Sheppard, Principal at Generis, to discuss five ways you can inspire your church to give this #GivingTuesday.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • 4 reasons why your church should join this giving movement
  • The shocking state of giving in the church
  • How the church has mishandled talking about money
  • The must-have technology for compelling people to give
  • How to turn first-time givers into recurring givers


Here’s a list of the resources mentioned during the show or in the comments:

Publish date
October 31, 2018

5 #GivingTuesday Ideas to Inspire Your Church to Give

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