Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – July 2018

Teaching Stewardship to Children

Share this month’s planned giving article, “Ideas for Teaching Stewardship to Children” via your church newsletter, e-mail, or web site. The article contains practical ideas for teaching stewardship to children including modeling a generous lifestyle, managing money, donating, and volunteering. Most important, though, is regular time in God’s Word with our kids so that we have God’s power to redirect our focus from ourselves to others.

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – May 2018

Add an “Electronic Giving” Checkbox to Offering Envelopes

Electronic giving can be a win-win as members enjoy the convenience of a pre-determined amount being automatically deducted from their bank accounts each month while congregations are better able to plan ministry knowing how much funding is available. (If your church doesn’t offer electronic giving but would like to get started, one possibility is Vanco’s Give+ program, formerly known as Thrivent’s Simply Giving.)

Members, however, might hesitate at not being able to place an envelope in the offering plate at worship. A possible solution is to add a checkbox on the bottom of offering envelopes that says, “I’m giving electronically,” possibly with the link to your online giving page. Members who give electronically could write their names on their envelope, check this box, and put the empty envelope in the plate at worship. Members not giving electronically would weekly be reminded that electronic giving is an option.

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – November 2017

Purposefully Promote Planned Giving

The purpose of a congregational planned giving program is to promote planned giving in the congregation—to educate, encourage, enlist, and excite members about using planned giving instruments to support the Lord’s work in their congregation, their synod, and other WELS organizations.

  • Educating means sharing the mission and vision of the congregation—and how members can support the mission and vision—through all available means of communication (printed, online, presentations).
  • Encouraging means providing ongoing communication, events, and programs to assist each member with realizing his/her charitable goals.
  • Enlisting means asking individuals to participate in helping support the mission of the congregation through current and deferred gifts.
  • Exciting means celebrating the “gift of giving” within the congregation.

The purpose of this manual is to help your congregation jump-start a program of promoting planned giving opportunities to members . . . May God bless your use of this resource for the benefit of the people you serve as they praise Jesus with offerings that help to spread his Word throughout the world!

Congregational Planned Giving Program. Waukesha: WELS Ministry of Christian Giving, 2015. Page 3.

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – September 2017

Hold a Mission and Ministry Sunday

As we work together in Christ to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins to all people, there is value to increasing awareness, ownership, and participation in the kingdom endeavors Jesus gives to us. WELS is offering resources for holding a Mission and Ministry Sunday, modeled after the traditional mission festival. This is intended to be a celebration of God’s blessings on his church and a chance to renew our commitment to the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-20). Visit mcg.welsrc.net/mission-festival to learn more.

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – July 2017

Practical Ways to Encourage Giving

“If you want to counter the trend of donors giving less, do two things when your donor gives:

  1. Thank them, and thank them again and again.
  2. Provide proof that their gift made a difference.

Believe me, donors who are appreciated and shown that they are making a difference will be around for a long time. And that is good for them, for you, and the organization you serve.”

Perry, Richard. “Why Donors Are Giving Less.” Passionate Giving Blog. Veritus Group. March 1, 2017.

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – May 2017

Giving Opportunity Continues in 2017 and Beyond

The “qualified charitable distribution” was made permanent by the U.S. government as of 2016. This means the giving opportunity remains a beneficial option for WELS members in 2017 and beyond. Anyone 70.5 or older can make qualified charitable distributions from their IRA of up to $100,000 per year to their church, synod, and other WELS organizations without counting the distributions as income for federal tax purposes. If a member does not itemize income tax deductions, they might consider giving to their church via this method. Due to the tax savings, they could free up money for personal needs or to expand their giving.

Interested members can learn more from your congregation’s local WELS Christian giving counselor by calling him at 800-827-5482.

You can share this information by copying and pasting this article, or find other articles at our planned giving articles archive on WELS Cloud (login required) and sort by the topic “Qualified Charitable Distribution.”

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – November 2016

Submitting Offerings and Statistics

The end of the calendar year means preparing for submitting to WELS your 2016 Congregation Mission Offerings (CMO) and statistics as well as your 2017 CMO subscription. Here are several items to keep in mind.

  • Please remit any final 2016 offerings by Jan. 9.
  • In early January you will receive coupons for remitting your 2017 offerings.
  • Your congregation’s CMO subscription for 2017 (the amount you pledge to give) is due no later than the first Friday in Feb. – Feb. 3 at noon (Central). Fiscal year congregations may report their 2017 CMO subscription now by using the estimated amount in their budget. The submission process uses a new web form that we hope gives you an improved experience.
  • In early January, congregations will receive a letter and e-mail with instructions for submitting 2016 statistics for the next WELS Statistical Report. The deadline for submitting statistics is also Friday, Feb. 3 at noon (Central). This process uses the web form we introduced last year with some improvements. Please note these data collection changes for the 2016 report, including the fact that the Conference of Presidents has approved the collection of member ages for a second consecutive year.)

Contact us if you have questions by calling 800-827-5482 or e-mailing mcg@wels.net. Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation!

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – July 2016

Congregational Guiding Principles

Set up Scriptural guiding principles for members of your congregation to reflect upon at regular intervals in the ministry planning process. The principles can remind of our high privilege to serve as redeemed children of God under Christ, our Head. Below are the five guiding principles of St. John’s, Wauwatosa, Wis., which you can either adopt or use as a starting point in developing your own:

  1. Jesus Christ is worthy of our best efforts.
  2. God is honored through excellence and deserves nothing less.
  3. To whom much is given, much is required.
  4. True fulfillment comes not through personal gain, but through service and contribution to God.
  5. In the kingdom of God on earth, there are no insignificant people. Everyone can make a difference. Working together, we can make a big difference.

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – March 2016

Celebrate Gifts!

“Some of the best publicity [encouragement] for planned giving is . . . actual gifts! Share when gifts are received or endowment distributions made—how much is going to help which ministries. Share joyful testimonials of members who have made gifts. Hold and share coverage of a ‘thank you’ event for those remembering your congregation in their estate plans or with planned gifts. Mention in an after-service announcement the ministry goals that could be achieved through a certain amount of gifts (this may tie in particularly well to certain church year seasons, e.g. End Times). ‘The service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God’ (2 Corinthians 9:12).”

Congregational Planned Giving Program. Waukesha: WELS Ministry of Christian Giving, 2015. Page 9.

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – November 2015

Illustrate Planned Giving with WELS Foundation’s Gift Guide

As you encourage stewardship among members, don’t forget to let them know about planned giving opportunities including estate planning and other options for supporting the Lord’s work and family while receiving tax benefits.

Direct people to WELS Foundation’s online Gift Guide either by providing the URL (http://giftguide.wels.net) or linking to it from your website. The gift guide provides an overview of options for supporting your church, regional WELS ministries, or the synod through a planned gift—and even lets people calculate benefits according to their personal situations.

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – September 2015

Drafting an Appeal Letter

According to Bruce Eberle in his book “Charitable Direct Mail Fund Raising,” the outline of an appeal should be:

1. Grab attention.
2. Spell out the problem.
3. Spell out the solution.
4. Ask.

A congregational communication following this outline might looks as follows:

Dear member,

Paragraph 1 – Grab attention with a moving, real-life story of how the gospel, shared through your church, has affected a person or people.

Paragraph 2 – Spell out the problem: “but we’re limited in reaching more people with the gospel because . . .” Problems usually include lack of support with time, talents, and treasure.

Paragraph 3 – Spell out the solution: “We know that, trusting in God, we can achieve the goal” (point to Scripture passages such as Matthew 6:33 and Malachi 3:10). “Let’s test God in his promises and see if we don’t grow spiritually.”

Paragraph 4 – Ask: “Would you prayerfully consider helping?” Be clear about what you are asking for. People want to know so they can help!

Close the letter by bring it back to the opening and reminding how, when we trust in God, we will see more of the gospel’s impact (Isaiah 55:11).

Sincerely,
[Signature]
[Name]
[Title]

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – July 2015

Develop a Ministry Plan, Then the Budget

Develop a ministry plan and then determine what forms and levels of support are needed to fund it. Many look at what they think support will be and then craft a ministry plan around that level of support, thus never giving the congregation the opportunity to pray for and respond to the plan with their offerings.

Todd Poppe, WELS Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – March 2015

How Electronic Givers Can Actively Participate in the Weekly Offering

Despite electronic giving (e.g., electronic funds transfer arranged through the congregation’s bank or Thrivent’s Simply Giving program) providing predictable support for congregational ministry, some members hesitate to sign up because it feels strange to pass the offering plate on Sunday morning without putting anything into it. These people feel like their children and fellow members might notice and be discouraged by their seemingly not participating.

Your congregation can overcome this obstacle by continuing to provide offering envelopes to members who are giving electronically. These members can write “EFT” on the offering line and drop the empty envelope in the plate. In a similar fashion some churches provide members with stickers that have the electronic giving program name printed on them so that they can use these on their envelopes. These possibilities allow members to physically place their offerings in the plate as an act of worship each week.

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – January 2015

Share WELS’ 2014 Annual Report

WELS recently published its 2014 annual report, which summarizes key developments across all areas of synod ministry. This report is a great way to inform WELS members of the Lord’s work we are doing together as a synod. It’s also a helpful reference as the congregation begins planning their support for worldwide gospel endeavors during the coming year.

There are several ways to access and share the report through WELS Communication Services’ Resource Center:
  • Download the report in PowerPoint format. Someone at your church may give the presentation or you can invite your local WELS Christian giving counselor to do it.
  • Share the link to the annual report in “flip book” format through your church’s e-newsletter or Web site.
  • Five copies of the report are being mailed to each congregation mid-January for distribution to leaders with the option to order additional copies (free besides shipping) through Northwestern Publishing House. (Note that an annual report is also going out with each giving statement to individuals who made direct gifts to WELS in 2014.)

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – November 2014

​Provide Quarterly Statements to Members

According to Casey Graham, CEO of The Rocket Company, which provides coaching and resources for church leaders, one simple step churches can take to increase giving is to send quarterly giving statements to members.

“In our survey of over 1,000 churches, we learned that communicating with donors on a quarterly basis was a key factor for churches exceeding their budget,” said Graham. The improved giving was a result of people staying informed about the church’s ministry and how their offerings were helping advance the gospel.

One suggestion for congregations is to include with each statement a biblical encouragement on giving along with an update of a featured area of ministry supported by offerings.

While postage and staffing may present challenges to carrying out the quarterly mailings, according to Graham the small investment in postage is worth it, and the responsibility can be handled by one key volunteer leading the charge.