But there’s more to managing your church’s budget than adding donations and subtracting expenses. The most crucial aspect of your church’s budget isn’t the numbers. It’s connecting with the people behind the gifts.
This is especially true for first-time donors.
When someone financially contributes to your church for the first time, their giving is an expression of their trust in God, as well as their desire to support your church.
Think about it like this:
Where your treasure is, your heart will be also (Matt. 6:21).
Said another way, when someone is committed to your church (heart), they will also commit to financially supporting your church (treasure).
As a church leader, when you acknowledge a first-time gift, it lets the people who made the contribution know that you appreciate their donation and their commitment to your church.
There are many ways you can affirm first-time donors:
Without a process in place, it’s a Herculean task to make sure your first-time donors feel appreciated for their online giving, mobile giving, or donations made with cash or check.
Creating a process to help you identify first-time givers is an essential part of being a faithful steward of people.
Let’s explore how you can improve your process of affirming donors.
#1. Quickly identify first-time donors
Don’t wait too long to acknowledge first-time donors.
Here’s a general rule of thumb to follow:
Don’t wait longer than 2-3 business
Don’t wait longer than 48 hours after a worship service
When someone contributes financially for the first time, he or she is taking a big step. If you wait too long to acknowledge their gift, then you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity to express your thankfulness.
Here’s one more thing to keep in mind:
People like to know that their donations are making a difference.
To quickly affirm first-time donors, you’ll need to outline a process your team can follow clearly.
Here are some of the best ways you can follow up with first-time givers:
Make a phone call
Send an email
Write a personal note
To pull this off, you’ll need to put a system in place and hold your team accountable to contact first-time givers.
#3. Track second-time donations
You cannot underestimate the significance of a first-time donation.
But a second financial gift is a real demonstration of someone’s commitment to your church family’s well-being. A second-time gift emphasizes someone’s willingness to support your church and the advancement of God’s Kingdom.
With second-time donations, take the time to thank them for their continual support and provide them with all the giving options you have available.
#4. Discover giving inspiration
Building a relationship with your givers is crucial.
Knowing the people you serve will help you to see the heart behind their gifts.
More importantly, you’ll be able to unearth what else motivates them to give.
Does your church’s vision inspire them?
Do they donate because they affirm your church’s outreach?
Do they support your community efforts?
Knowing what makes your church supporters tick will give you an idea about how well your church’s mission resonates with your church. For instance, if your vision is to evangelize your community, but most people mention spiritual growth as a motivation to donate, then there may be a disconnect with your church’s vision and the members of your church.
#5. Make it easy with software
Is your office covered with Post-It Notes of reminders?
Does your team use a spreadsheet to keep track of first- and second-time donors?
It’s time to press the Easy Button.
Church management software makes it easy to identify, track, and record giving in your church. Being able to press a few buttons to identify first- and second-time donors makes it easy to connect with them and express your appreciation.
Over to you
Are you connecting with your givers personally? How are you tracking your first- and second-time givers?