Let's Raise Some Money
Insights from Karen Climer about fundraising and nonprofit organizations

Three Things I Learned At Church That Will Increase Your Donations

April 3rd, 2014 by Karen Climer

In America, religious congregations get the lion’s share of our donations.  One reason (though certainly not the only reason or even the primary reason) is that they are good at fundraising.  Here are three fundraising lessons I’ve taken from the way my church raises money:

    1.  Everyone gets asked.  I have never heard an usher say, “Oooh, Sara Smith just lost her job, and she’s having a hard time.  Maybe we should skip her.”  Nope, they just pass the basket down Sara’s row and let her decide for herself.  If she decides not to give, that’s OK.  It is not the fundraiser’s responsibility to say “no” for her.  It is the fundraiser’s responsibility to give everyone the opportunity to donate.
    2. They ask frequently.  I’m not sure what kind of meetings they have before Mass, but I’m fairly certain they never have one where the priest says, “We just passed the basket last week.  We can’t do it again this week.  That’s too soon.  If we ask for donations too often, people will quit coming.”  Depending on your nonprofit and the situation, a weekly ask might be too often (but it might not be), but you can probably ask more often than you are currently asking.
    3. They never skip the general fund.  We frequently have a second collection.  It might be for the capital campaign, the bishop’s appeal, or a special collection for an earthquake or tsunami.  This is always in addition to the regular collection.  I’ve never heard them say, “This week instead of making your regular gift to the church, just put that money toward your capital gift.”  NO!  There is always the collection for the general fund.  The capital campaign or special appeal is in addition to the general fund.

I’m not suggesting that you start passing a basket at your orchestra concerts or at the commencement ceremony this spring.  Rather, I’m suggesting that there might be a way to take some of these lessons and apply them to your cause.

Posted in Asking

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