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Finding your (fundraising) voice

Finding your (fundraising) voice

It’s stewardship season in many churches these days. Dan Hotchkiss writes a helpful essay in The Alban Weekly about striving to find your fundraising voice:


Finding Your Fundraising Voice

by Dan Hotchkiss in The Alban Weekly

“How can we persuade people to give more?” Not surprisingly, this is one of the most frequent questions I encounter in my work as a congregational consultant. Whether I’m consulting mainly on strategic planning, governance change, or growth plans (I rarely come in as a fundraiser any more), clients always want to raise more money.

One way to respond to such questions is by teaching better fundraising techniques. Most congregations approach their donors so haphazardly that any of a dozen practical ideas, applied with diligence, will increase results substantially. Even contradictory ideas work: if you’ve tried to do the Every Member Canvass for a few years, Consecration Sunday may give you a quick 10- or 20-percent bump—and vice versa. There’s nothing wrong with that! Even slightly increased giving raises morale, eases stress for leaders, and creates planning options.

Better giving also has spiritual benefits: donors, reflecting on their increased generosity, decide they must be more religious than they previously thought. If only to reduce cognitive dissonance, they start thinking and behaving more religiously. Go ahead: find and use some fresh fundraising techniques.

Techniques, though, can take you only so far. New fund-raising methods, like new exercise and diet programs, often produce results for a while, and then give way to a relapse. It’s hard, without a deeper change, to keep them up.

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