It wasn’t the rhetoric or the moving stories that did it, although both were strong. It was how confidently the nonprofit founder asked.
He wasn’t embarrassed or tentative. He didn’t make jokes about our pocketbooks. He didn’t allude to money as an elephant in the room. (In fact, a few days before the event, he told us all in an email, “I’ll be asking you to make a pledge of financial support for the coming year.”)
He also didn’t use phony emotional language to move our heartstrings.
He simply set our expectations, then confidently met them.
And between setting our expectations and meeting them, he told us stories.
He gave the microphone to people in the organization, from volunteers to key staff members. They each shared their unique angle on the work so that by the time he came up to give closing remarks, we were basically bought in. Then he shared statistics that aligned with a clear, convincing vision for the organization’s future.
We saw the work being done, the skill and thought with which it was being done, and we believed it was worth supporting.
And it’s exciting to fill out a support card when you feel like you’re joining a movement you trust.
What does this have to do with you?
If you are reading this, you are probably a church leader or a churchgoer, which means in the coming weeks you will probably give or ask people to give—especially with Giving Tuesday and year-end giving around the corner.
There’s a lot to say about financial giving and its biblical foundations, but I want to leave you with one simple message: ask confidently, give generously.
Ask confidently because you are part of the greatest movement alive—one that will live forever.
Tell the story.
Tell the story of God’s riches to the people of Israel in the wilderness (Exod 16).
Tell of his provision for the widow who cried out to Elisha (2 Kgs 4:1–7).
Tell of what Jesus did for the five thousand and four thousand (Matt 14:13–21; 15:32–39) and for the greater spiritual provision he made for the world (Matt 26:26–29).
Then tell your own stories.
Tell of how your benevolence fund helped a single mother out of a jam.
Tell of your partnerships overseas.
Tell of all the ways your church has grown this year, giving thanks to God and relating it to the gospel of grace.
And try not to say the word “encourage.”
Ask your church to give confidently to God’s mission, because we have reason for confidence and no reason to be tentative.
When you are asked, give from a generous heart, not out of obligation. Ultimately, none of us give because we are asked. We give because we’ve been given much.
Consider Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians 9:
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
“And through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God”—an endless loop of God’s gifts coming down to us and rising back to him in thanksgiving.
Paul calls confidently for cheerful giving because we have a generous God.
We can do the same.
For more help approaching year-end giving as a church, download the free guide on giving campaigns.