The Mistake You Can’t Afford to Make When it Comes to Giving

Not all giving is the same.

Obvious? Maybe to some; but not for most.

This is especially true for churches, because giving is most often framed by the annual budget. It’s simple — no matter the size or kind, any gift made toward the year-end goal gets lumped together.

It’s all giving.

But church leaders have to think differently. Any thought of expanding ministry beyond the operating budget requires a plan to pay for it. This requires resisting the urge to pigeon-hole giving and finding new ways to think and even talk about it.

For starters, here’s a few points to ponder…

Giving has different horizons.

What this means is $50 towards the budget isn’t the same as $50 towards a building campaign. The former gift is given as a stop-gap: “Gotta make sure we make budget this month.” The latter gift is made to last even beyond the lifetime of the giver: “This building is going to serve generations!”

Understanding a gift’s horizon impacts how you ask for it. Budget dollars get framed by talk of daily discipleship and tithing. Campaign dollars are put in terms of making a difference for years to come.

Not all gifts come from the same place.

When it comes to giving, people tend to think “cash.” But the reality is most wealth is found in non-cash assets such as stock, real estate, business interests or commodities. Church members who understand this are more likely to make non-cash gifts.

More importantly, however, church leaders who understand this will know how to ask for non-cash gifts and what it takes to receive them.

Non-cash gifts can easily dwarf cash-giving.  

The size of a ministry dream gets cut down at the knees when there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to gift giving. Collecting cash gifts alone can take a dream only so far. But the church leader who sees wealth in all of its variety is free to dream bigger dreams!

Want to learn more about different kinds of giving?

Here’s an information sheet called Gifts That Reduce Taxes, which lists the different kinds of non-cash assets and the benefits for those who make them.

Most people will continue to color giving with one broad stroke. But church leaders who look beyond basic giving unlock the gates to tremendous opportunity. The possibilities are endless, so start dreaming now!