Inspiring Generosity


Two (or More) Annual Pledge Campaigns?

               What? A cat can't count her pennies? imarksm@pixabay

I know that you might have had a slight reaction at seeing the word “campaign.” Believe me, I feel your pain. Please, November 3rd, come quickly. Let this be over.

I also know that some have a reaction to seeing the word “campaign” used anywhere near the word “stewardship.” I have written about how words matter, especially as we talk about the spiritual practice of tithing. And yes, two or more “annual” campaigns is an oxymoron (and I’m so excited that I was able to use “oxymoron” in a sentence!).

Hear me out.

By now most of you have been planning your (first) annual pledge campaign. Excellent. In fact, my best guess is that you’re looking at November 1 (also All Saints Day) or soon thereafter to be your Commitment Sunday. Hooray for you – hosting a giving opportunity like this during COVID. If you missed my previous post about doing an annual giving campaign this fall, you can find it here.
But why do we do an annual campaign just once a year? Don’t a number of people forget to turn in a pledge card in the fall? Or some might not realize the first time that giving is a spiritual discipline – they need to hear it again. Or they might not understand how your ministries rely on pledges and giving for planning purposes. Or they may be just learning what discipleship means.
Joe Park of Horizons Stewardship recently said:

The best time to receive Estimates of Annual Giving is January-February. Over the last several years, I have been encouraging churches to move the collection of estimates of giving to January and February. Why? Because that is when I have observed churches achieve the largest increase in year over year giving. 

If you’ve been a reader of this blog, you know that I am a big proponent of bringing up the topic of money all year long. So, consider having a second “soft” campaign in February. Ask for new stewardship pledges from people who didn’t pledge in the fall. This will give you an opportunity to:

- Preach about the ministries that your church is making possible during the pandemic.
- Talk about your post-COVID vision.
- Mention that any ministries, new or old, are made possible because of the financial gifts from people like them.
Just because you talk about money or give new people the opportunity to make a pledge more than once a year does not mean you will be like a TV preacher who annoyingly asks for money non-stop.  See my blog post about this very thing. Remember, Jesus, along with John Wesley – the founder of Methodism – talked about money all the time.
One of my favorite Wesley quotes?

(Money) is an excellent gift of God, answering the noblest ends. In the hands of his children, it is food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, raiment for the naked. It gives to the traveler and the stranger where to lay his head.

It almost seems like a no-brainer. Of course, we should give as many opportunities as possible for people to recognize and believe that “money is an excellent gift of God.” You may be the very person that models this. You are probably the very person who can authentically talk about it…more than once a year. Go on, give it a try – have more than one annual pledge campaign. It’s really not an oxymoron.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Gearing up to Nov. 3, she has found comfort in Anne Frank's words: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” VOTE! She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.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.