So, what is the 80/20 Rule? I’ll get to that in just a moment. But first a question: Are you growing the giving to your church or is it stalled?
If it’s stalled, that likely means your communications are stale. Not just to members, but also inside your organization. Why do you think businesses or professional sports teams change perfectly good logos, or unopposed candidates continue to campaign? It’s because as busy adult humans in this digital world, good messaging that is fresh and on-point drives action. Good e-Giving messaging reminds members about priorities and values and provides a clear path for members to keep intentions.
Now, back to your potentially stale communications. Why are they stalled?
The answer is likely the 80/20 Rule. It’s a business axiom born from a statistically proven economic analysis that demonstrated that 80 percent of Italy’s wealth went to 20 percent of its population. You might know it as the Pareto Principle, named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who discovered and described it more than 100 years ago.
Why do businesses still turn to this century-old axiom to solve problems? Because we’ve learned that it doesn’t just apply to Italy’s economy. It applies to most things involving humans, money and time. In this case, it may mean that the 20 percent that matters when it comes to increasing giving in your church may be sitting right before your very eyes in a Stewardship Committee meeting.
Getting tactical with the 80/20 Rule
First, agree on your e-Giving message and then set a small goal for each of you to sign up three to five people for electronic giving. Your message should be along the lines of:
We want to protect and grow the donation plate. With people carrying less cash and using fewer checks, it is increasingly difficult for us to count on a donation flow that allows us to budget. Help us validate that this technology can work for our church. Please go to the website and sign up for one of the new electronic donation options. We need leaders to pave the way to get this going and I’m asking for your help.
If the message is not resonating, find out why and fix it. Maybe people are concerned about security. With no paper trail, electronic giving actually provides greater security than cash and checks. For example, Vanco is a PCI Level 1 provider. Let members know you’ve done your due diligence in choosing a provider.
Making communications personal
Once your message is resonating with small groups of members, you can think about wider communication to your entire membership. Non-religious nonprofits are able to put a message with a value proposition to the donor very succinctly: For every $10 donated, three children will get books and school supplies. That’s easy to understand.
It’s more challenging for churches, because your church itself is part of the mission. It’s the safe haven where your members come to worship together. It’s a gathering place for activities that further bind members around their faith. But there are ways to define the message. You just take for granted all the good you’re doing! For example:
- Last year 150 children went to Vacation Bible School
- 50 couples went through pre-marriage counseling
- More than 100 families in our community used our food pantry
- 200 teens are using our youth program
- Together we helped support three mission trips
It’s a matter of helping members recognize the value your church is providing to them and to the community.
Making communications memorable
Once you get your value proposition in order, you can think about how to make it catchy and entertaining. Figure out some memorable phrases. Humor works when done correctly. Get people sharing and talking about e-Giving and they will spread the message for you.
Setting annual e-Giving goals
You’re getting members to sign up for recurring electronic donations and using e-Giving in other ways – to register for events and purchase tickets, for example. Now it’s time to set a goal for the year. Summer is a great time to let people know they can give electronically even when they’re not in town. One of your first goals should be to smooth out that summer revenue slump by identifying a percentage of recurring electronic giving that will start evening out donation low points.
The stewardship role
Stewards are invited to support their church for a variety of reasons – because of their support for the mission and/or business acumen in a particular industry, and to raise the funds that make the mission possible. If you are chosen to be a steward and accept that role, use the 80/20 Rule to help your church achieve its goals.