Episode 9 | Engagement Techniques Fundraisers Use That Churches Should Be Taking Advantage Of

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There are lots of means of fundraising that churches aren’t engaging with that nonprofits do often. In this episode, we discuss three strategies your church can take to fundraise.

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Katie Allred:                 Welcome to the Church Communications Podcast, a podcast that celebrates church communicators that are around the world. Our podcast offers practical advice for your church communications strategy needs, and this podcast is brought to you by Katie Allred and Josh Taylor of churchcommunications.com.

Josh Taylor:                  Hey, welcome to the Church Communications Podcast. I am Josh Taylor and I’m here with the Katie Allred.

Katie Allred:                 The Katie Allred.

Josh Taylor:                  Katie, how are you?

Katie Allred:                 I am doing superb.

Josh Taylor:                  Superb. Great.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah, I could not be doing better if I wanted to.

Josh Taylor:                  That’s awesome.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah.

Josh Taylor:                  Well, today we’re going to be talking about engagement techniques and fundraisers that the church doesn’t often use, that maybe we can utilize. A couple of these things, ideas that we have, I’ve actually used and has been not only very effective, but it’s blessed other people.

Katie Allred:                 Right.

Josh Taylor:                  Which is really, really cool to be able to effectively engage your church, but then also watch it bless ministries and people that you get to be a part of.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah. We have three ideas. Three take aways. So, hopefully you’ll be able to dig into one. Our first one is creating an event. Okay, so creating an event, announcing a campaign, perhaps doing an award for a local charity or a volunteer that gives back.

Josh Taylor:                  So one of the things that we did, we started what we called the Ezra Award and the reason we call it the Ezra Award was, Ezra was a part of building a legacy, building that wall around Jerusalem and being a significant part of that with Nehemiah, and so we called it the Ezra award, because there was a generous donor, who was actually very generous to our church. He donated the building that we were in and then the money to renovate the building.

Katie Allred:                 Wow.

Josh Taylor:                  Very generous, no strings attached.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah. That’s cool.

Josh Taylor:                  Just wanted to bless the church. And so we were so inspired by his generosity that we wanted to be generous to organizations and nonprofits in our area that were really making a kingdom impact. And so what we did was we took $25,000 and… Actually, I think it was $10,000 we were wanting to… We were-

Katie Allred:                 Some amount of money in dollars.

Josh Taylor:                  Some amount of money, I think it was $10,000 we wanted to increase it to $25,000 over time. But we took $10,000 and we would choose a ministry in the area that we saw was making a significant impact in the kingdom and we would invite the leader there to one of our church services. We would recognize them. We would tell their story, what are they doing, why we chose them, and then we would call them up on stage and pray over them. We would hand them this Ezra Award, which is like this big crystal trophy thing. It was real nice and then we would hand them a check for $10,000.

Josh Taylor:                  One, we did it in front of everybody, in front of our church, which was a little bit weird for us, because we didn’t make a big deal about money at our church, but we needed to get over that because we wanted to let people know we’re being generous with the money that you’re giving to us. We’re not hoarding this for ourselves. We’re not trying to buy more MacBooks or…

Katie Allred:                 It’s for the community.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah. We’re giving this back to the community, so we wanted to show them what generosity looks alike and show them that we were being generous with the money that they were giving to the church, and we really wanted to bless a ministry in the area. For a lot of these, this was seed money to get a ministry that they were wanting to do started, or a project that they were trying to get going.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah. I think that’s really cool, just creating a banquet or something special for your givers as well I think is really unique.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah. That was really effective for us. People responded really well to it. And then, after the first year that we did it, we had a lot of people coming in and saying, “Hey, did you guys think about this ministry?” So, people were starting to get engaged and almost nominating theirs. Which one, allowed us to really see what other ministries were in the area that we can be a part of, but it just got people engaged in what we were doing…

Josh Taylor:                  Hey, do you want an online giving solution that inspires generosity without blowing your church budget?

Katie Allred:                 Of course I do.

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Katie Allred:                 Yeah. So our next thing is direct mail. Our next strategy is using direct mail. Okay. So I know what you’re thinking, “Direct mail, why would I ever send a direct mailer ever again, Katie, I could do a Facebook ad.” Well, this is for a critical need perhaps or maybe like to invite people to get invited into a cause. So to join with you in a specific thing, and this is for your church or maybe even for your area, right?

Katie Allred:                 So maybe there’s a cause in your area, perhaps it is like, here we have Victory Health, you’ve seen Kim, so perhaps we’ve decided as a church that we’re gonna partner with Victory Health and give back to alleviate poverty or to help enrich education, something like that. And so perhaps we’re going to do direct mail in the whole area, right? In this whole town and just talk about we’re giving and to help partner with this, would you be able to also partner with us? Just giving people that opportunity.

Josh Taylor:                  And what you’ll need to do with direct mail, and there’s a lot of discussion about direct mail and a lot of folks in this group have really great advice on how to do direct mail well, but you want to make sure it stands out from other mail-

Katie Allred:                 Mail pieces.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah. And so, obviously a attaching a gift or something to that. Make it actually a little bit weighty or something like that. Or if you can make it look more personalized, with a handwritten, whatever.

Katie Allred:                 What if it’s a magazine, right? Maybe you’re, you’re inviting them into several causes, like we talked about earlier about having a missions fair in a previous episode. So if you’re having a missions fair, why not create a missions magazine, right? And just talk about all the different opportunities that you as a church are giving your community to get involved in to help feed the homeless, or to partner with different ministries that are in the area or abroad. Right? And so just giving them that opportunity, I think a magazine would be really interesting to give your community.

Josh Taylor:                  And people are less likely to throw away a magazine than they are just a little flyer and read it later.

Katie Allred:                 Right? Like they might be like, “Oh, I’ll keep this and like read it on the toilet.” Let’s be honest.

Josh Taylor:                  At least they’re reading it.

Katie Allred:                 But they might be reading it, which is great. Right? Like my mom gets this-

Josh Taylor:                  They’re not. They’re crushing candy on the toilet.

Katie Allred:                 No, let’s be honest. No, I don’t know. I don’t know.

Josh Taylor:                  Where’s this going?

Katie Allred:                 So my mom reads this Alabama Electric Cooperative magazine and she loves this thing. She reads it all the time and they have this hidden little thing in it where you always have to find this hidden guy or something.

Josh Taylor:                  Oh, that’s smart.

Katie Allred:                 And so my mom loves to look through the whole magazine.

Josh Taylor:                  It’s like Where’s Waldo?

Katie Allred:                 Yeah. To find the hidden guy in the magazine and now she’s come to expect it, even though it’s a free thing, or it’s included in their electrical. And so I just think… And it talks about the community, talks about Alabama as a state. And I just think how fun would that be if a church was the one who is doing that for their community?

Josh Taylor:                  That’s a good idea.

Katie Allred:                 I do think that’s a neat idea.

Josh Taylor:                  And we’ve got directed giving, which is super easy if you’ve got online giving, it’s pretty easy to set that up with a keyword.

Katie Allred:                 For sure.

Josh Taylor:                  But allow people to give to line items, especially if there is a designated fund, if you’re doing something special with women’s ministry or the homeless ministry. We had a homeless ministry, they would do a big banquet and serve, invite… They would actually bus the homeless folks from downtown to our church for just this real nice Thanksgiving feast. And we would raise money for that and then they would go out weekly to meet with those folks every week on Friday nights. And so we wanted to fund that and make sure that they had the resources they need to keep buying food and resources for that.

Josh Taylor:                  So that’s a great way to get people more involved. Especially, we’ve talked with Kyler about millennials and how millennials engage and we’ve talked about it several times in the season that people are more likely to join you if they understand the cause. And if it’s a cause that they’re passionate about. So some folks might not be that passionate about kids ministry, or…

Katie Allred:                 Giving to the general tithe budget.

Josh Taylor:                  The general tithe. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:09:40] Hopefully people are really passionate about your kids ministry.

Katie Allred:                 But if you give them a specific thing, then yes, they might be more willing to donate for the first time, and then eventually follow in obedience to giving to regular tithing.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah. Yeah. And that’s a great point. That’s a great way to onboard people to giving, to get them into the habit of giving and just say, “Hey, you know…”

Katie Allred:                 Even if you haven’t gave before, maybe you’ll consider like giving to this cause because we really feel like it’s important.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, 25 bucks to do this. Oh yeah. And then they’ll see how easy it is and how good it felt to be able to give.

Katie Allred:                 Right. To give.

Josh Taylor:                  And be a part of that and bless other people. So I think a designated direct giving. They’re always a thorn in my side, because people would always give designated giving to ministries that were well-resourced and there were other ministries suffering.

Katie Allred:                 It’s a blessing and curse. But if you can curse.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, if you communicate it well, it can really be a blessing to your church in general and really onboard people into being a part of what you’re doing.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah. Well…

Josh Taylor:                  Good. [crosstalk 00:10:37] So hopefully that’s helped. If you got some other great ways and other fundraisers that people should give, like Amazon Smile is a great way to do it. If you’ve got some other suggestions on things that the church could utilize.

Katie Allred:                 Giving Tuesday.

Josh Taylor:                  Giving Tuesday.

Katie Allred:                 … is something else we’ve discussed that the church is not doing really well. I don’t think it’s Giving Tuesday. The Amazon smile thing is a huge one. Just encouraging your church to give during Giving Tuesday or Amazon smile. A lot of times on Giving Tuesday to a lot of platforms like PayPal or even Facebook will match donations. And so get on board with that. Why not? You’re a 501(c)(3). You can also do a Giving Tuesday.

Katie Allred:                 So I think those are three main things though, the creating an event that champions a local charity in a way, maybe a direct mailer of some sort, or just directed giving and explaining a cause that’s attached to that.

Josh Taylor:                  Absolutely.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah. Well thank you for joining us today. We appreciate it. You can find us at churchcommunications.com and find our podcast anywhere where you find podcast, and give us a five star review if you can. I appreciate it.

Josh Taylor:                  See you.

Katie Allred:                 Thanks.

Katie Allred:                 Our friends at kindred are being crazy generous. If you tweet @_kindrid, again that is @ underscore k-i-n-d-r-i-d-, _kindrid, and tell them why you need a church app, they’ll make sure you get one of those too. For free. Okay? Did you hear that? Online giving and a church app for free? Just tweet @_kindrid and tell them why you need a church app. Go and do it now, what are you waiting for?

Josh Taylor:                  Hey, thanks for listening to the church communications podcast with Katie Allred and myself, Josh Taylor. If you like our show and want to know more about us, check out our website, churchcommunications.com. You can also join us on our Facebook group, just church search for Church Communications on Facebook, and we would love you to leave a five star review on iTunes.


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