We recently sat down with Givelify’s Senior Vice President of Customer Success & Experience, Anthony DeShazor, to hear his expert advice for cultivating a culture of generosity. Here, he offers tried-and-true steps that places of worship can take to drive consistent giving and successfully meet their financial goals.
Anthony’s expertise comes from serving over 20 years in ministry — over 15 in various pastoral roles. Through growing his own congregation and coaching hundreds of Givelify partners, he has gained a unique understanding of how churches and places of worship can nurture and grow a culture of generosity.
Tell us a little bit about what you do at Givelify.
As the principal giving success coach (GSC), I help hundreds of places of worship benefit from successful year-round fundraising. I’m blessed to have this rare role that allows me to build genuine relationships with faith leaders and help them implement effective strategies to support the important work they’re doing.
For those places of worship that are trying to reach their financial goals, what advice do you typically give them?
After four years as the principal GSC, there are three things I recommend places of worship do to help meet their annual financial goals:
Choose a few campaigns, causes, or projects to support
Consistently champion your campaigns throughout the year to current and future givers
Take the time to say thank you to those who support you
Many places of worship are on the frontlines of their communities, serving multiple needs. How can places of worship determine which campaigns, causes, or projects to support?
From youth programs and education to food pantries and disaster relief, there are numerous ministries, outreach programs, and projects that impact your community. Each is a potential cause or campaign to help your community understand the impact of your church or place of worship. The campaign then becomes an avenue through which they can express their faith, especially if that cause resonates with their values and personal experiences.
In the most recent Giving in Faith report, we surveyed nearly 3,000 faith leaders and people of faith and found that 90% of faith-based individuals agree that helping those in need is a key reason to give.
When asked which causes their congregations should support, outreach programs that address primary or essential needs, such as food or clothing, emerged as the most important cause. Elderly support or services, mental health programs, child/family services, and housing support, either through monetary rental support or shelters, also ranked high.
To motivate and inspire giving, lean on your members and supporters to help guide you. Think about the year ahead and choose a handful of causes to elevate that resonate with your congregation. Tap into something that you know generates passion.
Your strategy should focus on one cause at a time, allowing you to champion different topical causes throughout the year. For example, summer would be an ideal time to promote outreach programs focused on helping families prepare for back-to-school costs and activities. September could be an optimal time to focus on helping the less fortunate during the holiday season.
That’s great advice. How can places of worship use causes to drive congregational support and year-round giving?
Once you choose the current cause to champion, frequently promote the cause across every applicable channel to raise awareness — during services, on social media, and through email, text messages, videos, and flyers.
Tell a story: share details about the problem you’re addressing and how the funds raised will empower your congregation to help solve it.
Connect the “ask” with the “impact.” If the cause is something your organization has championed before, show the previous impact it had when promoting the cause and making the ask for support. Continue to share the impact your organization has because of your congregation’s generosity. Doing so will inspire your congregation to continue their generosity and instill confidence that the work you do is having a real-world impact.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to places of worship to ensure success?
Remember to thank your congregation for their generosity. Research shows that people want to be thanked. According to a study on gratitude published in Psychological Science, recipients of an emailed expression of gratitude felt more “ecstatic” than the writers or thankers expected.
Show appreciation for givers by writing thank you letters, sending emails, posting on social media, creating a postcard, or producing a video expressing why they matter and how their gifts are helping to create a better world.
Saying “thank you” can be as simple as communicating it in your worship service or meetings. The key is to communicate in a way that makes those who support the campaign feel appreciated.
Expressing your appreciation will deepen their relationship with your organization and encourage them to continue supporting your organization in making a difference.
Lindsey is the Customer Marketing Content Lead at Givelify. She is passionate about creating educational content and joyful experiences that help our Givelify community find success with our mobile giving platform. Through her content, she aims to uplift and support faith-based and nonprofit organizations in their efforts to do more good in the world.