+Rev. Dee Pederson, Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA
We’re not gathering in person. Nobody is passing the Offering Plate. People are concerned finances. Yet one of the things we’re learning during the pandemic is that people have a new heart for generosity. As in the early church, the abundance of some can create balance when others are in need. (2 Corinthians 8:4). And there are more ways for people to express their financial generosity than ever before.
- Mail a check. USPS is still operating. Yay! Praise God!
- Drop off offerings at the building if there is a safe & secure means to do so.
- Automated giving – Electronic Transfer of Funds (EFT) or ACH (Automated Clearing House) for recurring donations can begin now or grow. It’s secure, increases consistency and cash flow, and reduces administrative work. Many of our churches use one of the ELCA-preferred vendors below
Give via Web site, text, and phone app options are also provided by Vanco and Tithe.ly, who have great “how-to” tools. If you already have
Talk with leaders about the best new ways for your congregation to practice generosity. If you already have Simply Giving, it would be easy to migrate into expanded Vanco resources. If you’re just beginning, notice that Tithe.ly offers additional resources, such as website design.
- Creative giving possibilities continue to appear for people.
- Many are receiving the unplanned gift of Stimulus Checks and may feel they really don’t need it. There will be people who will say, “This is a way I can help!” right now and may consider donating this or tithing it to your church. Consider communicating this as a new opportunity to be generous.
- Invite people at least 70 ½ to consider giving retirement Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) funds. This can provide a tax benefit to the individual and provide a special gift for God’s mission. People should talk to their tax advisor to see if this is appropriate for them. Gifts must be given directly from the IRA to the charitable organization (church), not the person. Contact Rev. Keith Pearson, ELCA Regional Gift Planner for our synod to learn more. (firstname.lastname@example.org / Cell #612-718-4197)
As always, continue to tell stories about how God’s love, healing, and compassion are blessing people through your ministries transformed for this time. This is your “why.” Communicate these stories during the offering, in announcements, in newsletters, on the website – verbally and in writing. People care about ministry and still give during difficult times, especially when they hear the impact of their gifts and have ways to give that are transformed for this time. Most of all, because we can’t say it enough, be sure to say “Thank you, thank you!” for the generosity of your people. It has never been more important!