Outside of great people, financial resources are one of the most critical parts of great parish ministry. So how do we grow our parish giving? And most importantly, how do we create a culture where parishioners actually desire to give more?
The USCCB did a study that said, “more than half of Catholics would give money if asked by their pastor at mass.”
That’s right. Catholics would give more if we simply asked.
USCCB goes on to say, “[m]ore precisely, 53% of the participants responded positively to this question, show the church giving statistics. The only two options that got more positive answers were giving money to family (73%) and friends (58%). About a third (36%) claimed they would donate money if their bishop requested it via their diocesan newspaper or a mailer. A mailed letter, an email, and a phone call would be effective for the respective 31%, 21%, and 16% of the participants.” (USCCB)
These stats speak volumes. They show us that people have a posture of generosity but communication is missing the boat.
This is a big part of why TIlma was created—to help parishes communicate their heart in a more impactful way. Specifically with giving, Tilma offers simpler communication tools and a more user-friendly experience for administration and parishioners. When there is effective messaging and fewer barriers to giving, it helps giving be far more easier for parishioners and even lead to more completed gifts overall.
Sherry Weddell points out in her book Intentional Disciples that 93% of a parish is supported by 7% of the people. That means you have just a few parishioners who are financially supporting the parish while the others either are not inclined to give to their parish, don’t think of it as their responsibility, or don’t know there is a need.
So how do we fix this with a simple ask? It’s a little bit more than, “we need money.” Because your end goal is not actually to have more money. It’s to create a culture of generosity in your people—a heart change. It’s to help them think about their relationship with Jesus as encompassing their whole life, including finances. It’s to help them in their discipleship journey that involves a transformation of their heart towards building the Kingdom of God right here.
So how do we do this? Here are some principles to go by:
Paint A Vision
Your parishioners, lay people, and leadership team are looking for purpose. As Catholics, that purpose in life all comes back to using our lives to serve and love God. While finances can feel like another task to check off the list, the heart behind it is giving of ourselves. Remind people of the heart behind your parish.
Educate On Why
Before asking people to give, it’s good to communicate why they are being asked to give (more than just we need to upgrade the Sunday school rooms). Why does Jesus ask us to give our money in the first place? What does His teaching have to do with building upgrades?
Communicate The Impact
People want to know that their efforts are going to something with purpose. Explain the ministry work, people, and events that happen only when we give. Talk about why those things are part of your work as a missional community. It’s okay to be specific about things that might seem ordinary—keeping the heat on, staff salaries, etc. Pairing these with a big vision gives them purpose.
Invite And Then Invite Again
Communication is so, so key. People don’t know your needs unless you ask and it often takes awhile for people to process their role in meeting that need. How many times have you forgotten to text a friend back? Or respond to an email? Sometimes we need a little nudge. And the more you ask, the more someone is reminded about the topic.
Communicate in different areas—via email, from the pulpit, in the newsletter. It’s part of why Tilma prioritizes integrated digital tools because it’s easy to build an email, link to a giving page, and maybe add a homily about stewardship.
Ask With Openness
It can feel awkward to ask people to give. But the more someone understands the need and the why behind giving, the more they are willing to get behind it. Always avoid shame or making people feel guilty. Educate, ask, and then step away to let the Spirit move.
Want to learn more about Tilma Giving? We’d love to talk about what it could do for your parish. Schedule a call or book a free trial with our team.