Inspiring Generosity


Inspiring Generosity


4/15/2015

Stewarding an Individual: How Hard Can it Be? 

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In the development “biz” (you know I just love to use shortened and hip words to save space) there’s a lot of talk about “stewarding donors.” In churches, we tend to act as if either (a) everyone gives or (b) no one gives. That generally means no one is stewarding individual faithful givers.
 
Stewarding donors means:
  • Recognizing those who give
  • Caring for those people
  • Being thankful
  • Telling them what a difference their gift/pledge makes
 
Please understand that it does not mean:
  • Ignoring people who do not give
  • Coddling those who do give
  • Only talking to the “big donors”
 
Most of you (and I count myself as one) are afraid to talk to people directly about money.  However, even if your church runs one of those super-secret societies where you do not know how much people give, surely you are given access to and know whom your consistent pledgers are.  Start there.  When you are in a one-on-one conversation with one of these (let’s be honest) “saints,” here’s a fabulous conversation starter:
 
“Well hello Mr. Garcia! How are you and the family?  By the way, I know you regularly tithe. Don’t panic, don’t freak out – I don’t know how much you give, but I do want to thank you for your faithful giving. And, I want to let you know that your tithe is making it possible for our church to offer the Kid’s Backpack program. We are helping 25 kids a week who otherwise would go without a meal on the weekend. Just thought you’d want to know.” 
 
Or, here’s another conversation you can have, “Hi Mrs. Jones. How are you? I know that you regularly give and I just want to thank you.  Did you know that we now have ten children in Sunday School? That’s such a big increase over last year.  Thanks for making that possible!” 
 
And do you know why your church is able to offer the Kid’s Backpack program or Sunday School?  Because the electricity and water bill has been paid. Very few people can get excited about utilities (I guess there are a few “interesting” people out there who can wax eloquent about electricity and water) but nearly everyone can get behind your church being open to help kids in need or assist children growing in their faith. Figure out what is compelling to the person you're talking to.
 
These do not need to be planned nor hush-hush conversations. But you do need to seek the opportunity to verbally say “thank you” and tell your church’s story. What a positive and downright fun thing to do!
 
[Thank you] x [story] = a happy tither. 
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Please do not stop to talk to her about water or electricity bills. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann

Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.

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