Church stewardship resources Jul 07, 2021

Church stewardship resources

Stewardship is more than just fundraising, stewardship is the theology and fundraising is the ministry.  

Annual giving resources

Even when the annual giving program works well, churches might consider changing it up about every three years so everyone participating experiences God’s call in a new and engaging way.

Three kinds of fundraising should be part of a church’s stewardship plans – annual pledge campaign, major gifts, and planned giving. This web page is the beginning of sharing resources between the churches of West Missouri to support their mission and ministries.

TENS — The Episcopal Network for Stewardship 

The Diocese of West Missouri is a member of The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) and all parishes have access to the materials on their website.  They provide annual campaign themes and materials each year, webinars, and a resource library.   If your church does not have a record of the password needed to access TENS, please contact the Bishop’s Assistant, at bishopsassistant@diowestmo.org.

Visit the TENS Website.

Project Resource

Sponsored by the College of Bishops, the Project Resource seminars provide overall fundraising training for clergy and laypersons.  Teams from parishes are encouraged to participate together in preparation for year-round stewardship.    It is grounded in the theology of stewardship, provides excellent materials, and year-round support.

Visit the Project Resource website.

Electronic giving

Donors who giving electronically, especially when they make recurring gifts, often give more than those using checks or cash.  If you have not established an electronic giving option, here are a few resources to begin the conversation in your congregation or to re-evaluate your current program. 

Read about electronic giving.

Startup

Before you begin

Set up a gift confirmation email through your electronic giving platform.

Introduce electronic giving

  • Put a message in your newsletter/ e-news and let people know when they can begin to sign up.
  • Include a message in your worship service. Share the number of people who are already using recurring giving and other electronic means to give even before this effort. 
  • Reach out to all parishioners by email. Share testimonies (print and video) that focus on the convenience and other benefits of transitioning to electronic and recurring giving. Add this to your social media page and to your e-newsletter, too.
  • Follow up:
    • Contact the folks that haven’t signed up to see if they have questions
    • Send a letter or email of thanks to everyone who already gives electronically. They are your greatest supporters. Encourage them to inspire others.
    • Send handwritten thank-you notes to people as they sign up for electronic giving.

Announce the participation increases in your communications

  • Not everyone will remember to sign up the first – or second time – they hear about it. Additional e-news messages, announcements in worship, and social media testimonies will all help encourage the transition to digital and recurring giving.

Gratitude Plan

Develop a Gratitude Plan to steward pledgers and givers

  • They receive the automatic gift confirmation email.
  • Draft acknowledgment and thank you letters and make sure you have a system in place for when they will be sent and by whom. Have basic language prepared and tailor it to the person, gift, time of year, etc.
  • Consider additional ways to engage people.  Encourage parishioners to ‘like’ your Facebook page or your YouTube channel. Send them devotional booklets, coloring pages they can print out for their kids, or other items that focus on church life through the liturgical year.

Electronic giving platforms

PayPal ‘Donate Button’

If your church does not have a donate button, an option to collect donations, or a way to set up recurring payments, we can help you add one to your church website, and also provide a payment link you can send out via email.

If you do not have a PayPal account, we can help you add a button to your website and collect the funds for you, issuing a payment to your church every month. Currently, the diocese is absorbing the PayPal transaction fees, and churches will receive 100% of any donations made.

If your church already has a PayPal account, but you don’t know how to add a donate button, we can help you do it.

For more information contact communications@diowestmo.org or call (816) 471-6161 ext. 107.

Electronic giving website links

Planned giving

Planned gifts provide a wonderful way for parishioners to express their generosity, make a difference by furthering our mission, and provide themselves with valuable tax and income benefits.  It is the ultimate gift to share our heartfelt faith in Christ.

Episcopal Church Foundation resources

The Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) has excellent resources for your congregations to use for planned giving, endowment management, and donor-advised funds.

The brochures listed below are available for purchase through Forward Movement. The item number is included below as well as a PDF of the brochure.

Congregational resources for planned giving

Four key steps to starting a planned giving program

Here are four key steps that will help ensure you start a planned giving program that will be easy to maintain and grow.

  1. Create an endowment to receive donor gifts
    • Establish an endowment fund to receive donor gifts.
    • Create a governing board or committee.
    • Form a simple, clear statement of purpose.
    • Establish policies and guidelines to assure good stewardship of those gifts – such as disposition of bequests, use of designated gifts, investment policy, spending rules for the endowment, and gift acceptance guidelines.
    • Communicate during the process with the congregation and update annually.
  2. Create a legacy society to honor those who include your parish in their estate plans
    • This will help donors stay connected and content with their commitment.
    • It will raise awareness and educate potential donors.
    • Define a period for founding members and then publicize the new society.
    • Stay in touch quarterly with the members and plan annual event for the members.
  3. Establish an education/awareness program
    1. Keep the message simple, start with wills.
    2. Develop a year round plan – multiple approaches that will appeal to all members.
  4. Create a system for receipt and acknowledgement of gifts
    • Identify contact person who will assist with the gift.
    • Acknowledge the gift – who will send this.
    • Administer and manage the gift – what is the process for deposit, notification of appropriate leadership, and report the impact of the gift.

Eight ways to encourage planned gifts in your church

  1. Have a quality post that can be moved around the facilities periodically.  It would either ask the question “Have you remembered the church in your will?” or some example of the merits of a planned gift with the name of the person in the congregation to call for more information.
  2. Print a simple, but clear brochure noting the merits of planned gifts and specific information about the congregation such as its legal name and suggested wording for a codicil.  Place in the narthex or other location and mail to the membership once a year.
  3. Depending on the frequency of publication, use the church newsletter to:
    • give personal reflections on the joys of doing a planned gift,
    • tell stories of life income gifts benefiting individuals and then the church,
    • announce recent gifts and interpret previous gifts or funds still making a difference,
    • provide the wording for wills and codicils to wills,
    • tell what previous gifts are now supporting.
  4. Insert something about the church’s endowment in the mid-year mailings of contribution statements.
  5. Plan and provide a planned giving seminar (or series) once or twice a year for the whole membership or for particular age groups within the church.  Topic ideas:
    • Elder Care.
    • Living Arrangements (living options, home care, nursing services and provisions in Medicare and Medicaid).
    • Planning for financial security – will I have enough?
    • Organ/tissue donation.
    • Planning the disposition of my estate.
    • Burial options.
    • Funeral planning.
  6. Once or twice a year provide a bulletin insert regarding some educational aspect of planned giving or examples of its impact on your congregation.
  7. Create a “Planned Giving Corner” in an area where you share information at the church.  Include various brochures such as Prepare to Write Your will, Create a Charitable Gift Annuity … etc.  
  8. Hold a Legacy Society Recognition Event – First spend time promoting planned giving and then announcing the Legacy Society and asking the parishioners to become “founding members” by letting you know they are including the church in their estate plans.  Then have an event for the “founders”.  Keep this group informed about gifts received and how the money is being used. 

New Spirit stewardship and grant articles

You can also read about stewardship in New Spirit, which also carries information about grant programs that churches may take advantage of.

Planned Giving Advisor

, amysamason@gmail.com, Volunteer Planned Giving Advisor, is available for consultation as well as providing presentations and materials on the following:

  • The Ultimate Gift: Christian Witness at Death – presentation for parishioners on planning for end of life, your will, and ways to give.
  • Gift Planning Program – how to encourage planned gifts through an organized approach, and Endowment Management – organize and grow your endowment.
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