A word commonly used within the Church, stewardship can best be defined as behaving responsibly with something you have been given. It entails diligently seeking the best uses for the resources with which you’ve been entrusted. Whether it be money, time or talents, a stewardship campaign calls on members of a congregation or donors of an institution to dedicate a portion of their resources to a cause. A campaign can be initiated to raise funds for a need, building project or specific program.
A limited number of days in which individuals can participate creates a sense of urgency. Forty days to launch your church into a debt-free zone or 50 days to raise funds for a new facility puts delayed giving and procrastination to rest. Brian Kluth, pastor and international speaker, gives the example on his website of a pastor initiating a 90-day stewardship campaign. “He would issue a 90-Day tithing challenge and promise to return any funds given during this period if people did not experience God's help in their financial lives,” says the Kluth website. During these dedicated days, consistently share your vision for the end result of the campaign. Ask individuals to share why they are giving to the campaign or how the result of the campaign will impact their life.
Goals initiate a team effort. Let your audience know what they could never accomplish individually they can accomplish together. Have the leadership within your organization do the math and establish a realistic goal. Choose a project or need in which people will want to dedicate their resources. Stay away from flashy ideas and choose a project that will truly better your congregation or a group of people in need. Launch your campaign by communicating your goal and inform your audience what each person will have to give to reach that goal. Ask for commitments by passing around commitment cards. Create a large meter and update your meter weekly, letting participants know how close they are to reaching the goal.
“Stop telling your church to give, teach them how,” says Dave Ramsey, financial guru and radio personality, on his website. Before asking for financial resources from pockets that are empty, consider taking your congregation or core group of individuals who will be giving through a financial seminar. By educating and securing the financial future of participants in your campaign, you can ensure your campaign will thrive. Choose from a variety of books that will teach your group how to free up their finances. Always approach the topic of money with care.
Consider bringing in guest speakers during your campaign. “A qualified and quality outside speaker can clearly teach God's word on a Biblical perspective to finances and generosity without fear or timidity,” says Brian Kluth on his website. In addition, try adding an empathetic aspect to your campaign by sending participants home with a packet of statistical information, images and different dollar amount categories as well as the lives those amounts could change. Stay organized and equip your campaign with highly professional materials. In addition, consider hiring a fundraising consultant to steer your campaign in the right direction.
Lindsay Barnes began writing for a real-estate education business in 2005, and later for a local politician. She has worked as a political campaign manager and public relations coordinator. Barnes holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with an emphasis in public relations from the University of Oklahoma.