I must admit that when I first heard that it was possible to increase giving in our church just by increasing our options, I was skeptical. (I was learning from teachings from Steve Stroope who wrote Money Matters in the Church and Nelson Searcy with Church Leader Insights.) We had always collected for the general fund and seldom promoted other areas of giving. I actually thought that if we gave more options for people to give towards that it would just cause our general fund offerings to go down. But then I heard it explained that there are different types of givers in our church. There are those who give because the Bible says to, those who give towards special projects, those who give towards tangible needs, and others. By broadening our ways to give, we actually were able to include more types of givers which caused our offerings to go up even when the economic times dictated they should be going down.
5 Areas of Giving
You need to collect all five areas every year! If you don’t, you leave money on the table when these 5 areas are not in use. When it comes to giving, options are not optional. You should broaden options for giving to include the following:
- General Fund: These are rule keepers who will give to the general fund to keep the ministry going. This pays for the light bill, insurance, chairs, buses, etc…
- Building Fund: These are people who will give to building funds but will never give to the General Fund initially. Often when someone begins to give toward the building fund, they will begin to give to the general fund. There should always be a building fund in place. This can be used toward facilities any way needed.
- Designated Fund: These are areas you can direct people to give toward. Keep it simple and general as far as designations. You can cast the vision specifically. You can turn down designated gifts if it doesn’t go toward the overall vision of the church. Quarterly Giving Statements are a great place to promote designated giving opportunities by simply placing 10 to 15 areas of need (usually specific ministry needs) in the envelope in addition to the statement.
- Benevolence Fund: You can take up the benevolence offering once a year on Christmas Eve. 100% of this offering goes toward this fund. Reference this offering when you meet a public need in the community.
- Missions Fund: Every year you can work towards having a special missions offering to help support the missions vision of your church. November/December or February/March are good times to do this offering. It should run for 4 to 6 weeks to be able to emphasize not only the offering, but the missions opportunities as well.
Many of the people who initially started giving through funds other than the general fund, started giving to the general fund as well. The other funds actually helped jump start their tithing in their home. Additionally, the other funds gave regular tithers a place to give towards heart felt needs that they were passionate about and allowed them to give more in these areas than above their tithe.