Study: Donations Grow 42% With Face-to-Face Time
Research underscores the power of relationships for church leaders.

A new study about the best ways to secure larger gifts from donors strongly reinforces the central theme of "Asking for Big Gifts," an article in the current issue of Your Church: face-to-face time matters. A lot.

In fact, it matters so much, the study reveals "donors to religious organizations gave an average of $2,904, or 42 percent more, when they were asked in person by someone they know," according to an article published Wednesday by Philanthropy Journal.

That stat provides a tangible reminder of the power of relationships. Of course, when it comes to ministry, face-to-face time should matter more than just to land a big-dollar donation. We were created for relationship with the Lord, and for relationships with each other. Relationships matter a great deal to Him. We should strive to maintain healthy, edifying ones with all congregants, regardless of their financial situations, because the fruits of such efforts are eternal.

Keeping that in mind, there are people in your congregation who feel the Lord has blessed them in terms of finances and resources. For a church leader, the key is to learn more about these people by listening to them, and to hear about how their passions might align with the church's vision.

Tom Burggraf, who pastors a church in Gunnison, Colorado, while leading multimillion-dollar capital campaigns for a nearby college, explains this further in the Your Church article:

"It's a level of relationship that requires depth, rather than just looking at our goal and the dollars needed to succeed," he says. "If all we do is talk about what the institution does and why that is important, that's not the essence of a relationship. If we can get to know people and what's important in their lives and what moves their hearts, then we can better serve them by approaching them only about those projects that resonate with what's important to them."

For more guidance on the art of relationship-building with donors, including six practical tips from Bill Dillon of PeopleRaising, read the rest of "Asking for Big Gifts," here. Also consider checking out:

• This electronic feature resource from our sister publication Church Law & Tax Report, on how to responsibly—and legally—handle designated contributions and gifts from donors.

• Our 2010 charitable contributions bulletins, which answer congregants' questions on charitable giving and tax deductions as 2009 draws to a close.

The new study was commissioned by Campbell & Company and conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, according to Philanthropy Journal.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

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