The time is now to start planning for your congregation’s annual giving campaign! Bishop Rickel and I often have referred to the annual giving campaign as the “Fall-Beg-athon” because that’s what it can feel like when we relegate this spiritual formation ministry to extracting money from members for church budgets. After all, we’re not giving to budgets, we give to support ministry in our church community and to express love, dedication and gratitude to God. So while annual giving funds much of the ministry our congregations do, an annual giving campaign is much more than merely procuring the annual pledge of members of a congregation. Annual giving is the foundational expression of the way we view and treat money as Christians in our particular congregations. A healthy annual giving campaign has the power to inspire our people through a vision for what God is calling them to do as a community of Christ, and individually as baptized Christians working to achieve Christ’s mission in the world.
An inspirational annual giving campaign takes time to plan and to execute, and its work is not finished when the last pledge card is collected. This type of campaign seeks to meet people where they are and help them to grow in their spiritual journey. Spiritual growth and inspiration to serve in ministry are fostered through incarnate stories of Christ’s presence evident in the ministries of our congregations. These stories are integral to connecting our financial stewardship and service to transformational work that is being done in our congregations through our contribution of our time, God-given abilities and financial and material gifts. Personal stories communicating how specific persons’ lives are being renewed through the ministries of the congregation are key to connecting giving with real ministry that is making a difference in the world. These stories are communicated best when presented consistently throughout the year in a variety of media and contexts.
The Walking the Way Annual Giving Campaign from The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) at www.tens.org offers a platform to jumpstart any congregation’s inspirational annual giving campaign. Its framework gives a variety of resources that can be utilized during the annual campaign and for supporting follow-up after pledge cards have been received and are being fulfilled. As a member of the Diocese of Olympia, you and your congregation are members of TENS and have access to these “members only” resources. For more information on how you can access this resource, email TENSinfo@ecww.org, or for other annual giving campaign questions email firstname.lastname@example.org.