How to use ChMS to Improve Stewardship

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 7:50:00 AM Categories: Generosity Online Giving
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Stewardship is always in the forefront of our minds as church leaders.  It’s there because we want to manage God’s resources wisely.  It’s there because we want more resources for ministry.  It’s there because our livelihood depends on it.  So how can our church management software (ChMS or CMS) help improve our church’s stewardship?  Here are four ways:

Purchase ChMS that gives you the best value – Rather than starting with the assumption that stewardship improves as our church income goes up, let’s begin instead with the notion that stewardship improves as we make wise spending choices.  There are many church management software products on the market.  Good stewardship requires that we do the hard work of finding the best product for the money.  Cheap or even free software is not the best.  Generally, those solutions aren’t easy to use or they require additional costs associated with needing an on-staff-developer or buying machines to host the software.  “Best value” means finding the product that is intuitive, simple to use, affordable, and has great customer service.  If it’s hard to use, your staff won’t use it.  If it’s blatantly over-priced that hurts your bottom line.  If customer service stinks, you’ll waste man-hours trying to get help and figure out how to make your software work right.

Get a weekly report of new givers – Does your ChMS give you the ability to schedule regular reports alerting you about new givers?  If not, it should!  Think about it, the best way to get people to repeat a behavior is to praise that behavior.  So if you get regular reports of first-time-givers you can send them a note and/or a small thank you gift.  This kind of positive feedback encourages first-time-givers to become regular givers.

Send quarterly giving statements – In the United States, the government requires us to send out annual statements to church donors letting them know how much they’ve donated.  One donor letter per year is the government’s minimum standard.  Since when is the government’s minimum standard enough?  Why not send quarterly statements instead?  With our church’s ChMS, Churchteams, we can send quarterly statements via email.  It’s quick, easy and effective.  These quarterly reports let people know what they’ve given more frequently and inspire them to give more consistently.

Make online giving easy – The more people who give online to your church the better.  Why?  Because online giving sees fewer “dips” than offering-plate-giving.  What I mean by this is that people don’t tend to make up their giving when they miss church.  Fewer and fewer people mail checks to our churches every year.  On the other hand, people who give online tend to give more consistently.  They can (and frequently do) give while they are out of town or when they miss church.  They frequently sign up to make recurring donations online because it’s easy.  How much easier would budgeting be in your church if half or more of your people gave online?  Your church management software should make online giving simple.  By doing so, more people will give more consistently.  Besides providing integrated online giving, Churchteams also gives you a weekly report that shows you the percentage of your income that came from online sources.  This is a great way to measure the effectiveness of online giving for your church.  Many churches set the the goal of 30% from online giving.  Some churches have over 50% of their income coming through online giving.

Target stewardship communication - Since your contribution data is in the same database with all your other membership and group data, your ChMS should be able to provide segmented generosity reports.  For example, you should be able to identify giving per family based on group / ministry involvement or other attributes like age, geography and church member type.  You should be able to easily see progress on pledge campaigns.  These enable you to segment stewardship practices and target communication that is uniquely designed for that particular group of people.

 Alan Danielson is the Senior Pastor of New Life Bible Church in Norman, Oklahoma. Previously he served as Central Team Leader for LifeGroups at LifeChurch.tv in Edmond, OK, where he led over a thousand small groups on LifeChurch’s thirteen campuses in six different states. He then founded 3Threat.net to help leaders master three essential leadership skills: vision-casting, creating strategy and fostering relationships. Alan is a popular conference speaker and consults regularly with ministries and leaders on topics relating to small groups and leadership. Learn more from Alan at 3Threat.net.