Oftentimes we focus more on the need for vision clarity rather than providing tips for funding your vision. Vision is the picture of where you are going and the impact you are going to make. Creating a clear and accurate vision of where you are going can be a challenge, but it is quite another thing to fund it as well. As you develop, share, and execute your vision, consider these 7 tips for funding your vision.
7 Tips for Funding Your Vision
1) Simplify Your Budget
Church budgets can get very complex, but they don’t have to be that way. Ask yourself what area(s) your church could simplify, in order to improve your focus and your ability to assess where you’re at.
2) Clarify Your Unique Vision
If you want to fund your vision, you must clarify your vision and allow people to see what they are giving to. Many people give according to a preplanned schedule and remain faithful to that schedule no matter what. We all love those people and their consistency; however, virtually everyone allows emotion to play a part in their decision-making…even financial decisions. I’m not advocating for emotional manipulation at all, but if your ministry doesn’t inspire someone to give, then another one will.
It drives me crazy to hear someone describe their vision in terms of their building. I could name at least 10 churches in the last year that I’ve worked with who have wrestled with this very issue. When you’re in the middle of a building campaign, it is easy to keep the focus on the building rather than the impact that the building will have. Clarify how your community will be different because of the building that you’re constructing. If you do that, giving will almost certainly go up.
3) Set Up Multiple Electronic Giving Options
The days of only giving through check or cash are gone…at least I hope they are. Beyond that, I hope your church provides multiple ways to give electronically.
I realize many churches prefer not to allow credit card giving. If you know anything about Dave Ramsey, you know that he strongly encourages people not to use credit cards. Even still, that doesn’t mean you can’t set up multiple ways for electronic giving.
Can people donate to your church using a debit card? What about EFT? A monthly draft from their bank account they can get mailed to your church? What about mobile or text-based giving? If you aren’t offering multiple (or any) of these options, I strongly recommend doing some research to see what works for your context.
4) Focus on the Impact of Giving, Not the Ministry Activities
As I said earlier, vision isn’t about a building. Buildings are tools to help us accomplish or realize our vision. On the same note, vision isn’t about saying “look at us and all our ministries.” Don’t direct people to look at all the different ministries in your church. While these are good, they aren’t the focus of your vision.
5) Tell Stories of Changed Lives
Stop and tell the stories of people whose lives have been impacted by your church. For people who may not know about your church’s past, they will get an inspiring look at how you’ve managed finances and facilities in a way that impacted real people and made a difference. This can be one of the most powerful tips for funding your vision and yet one of the most neglected. Remember, stories motivate action.
6) Start Accomplishing Your Vision Now in Clear, Measurable Ways
You’ll always have a few late adopters that would like to see some progress before jumping on board. No point in criticizing or fretting about them. So why not motivate them? Late adopters, curious newcomers, or those who were previously disengaged will appreciate seeing movement forward. They’ll also appreciate the initial impact you are making in people’s lives — not only at your church facility, but in your community.
7) Communicate Your Vision Constantly
You can’t assume everyone knows your vision. Likewise, you can’t assume everyone cares about it. As we work with pastors and churches engaging them in church vision consulting, we encourage pastors and other church leaders to take on the responsibility of ensuring that people get exposed to your vision many times and in multiple ways. If you don’t do it, who will? Need some inspiration? Check out these 25 vision quotes to challenge your thinking.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of tips for funding your vision. I could probably list at least another 10-20 more useful tools or approaches that churches, pastors, and other church leaders have used to equip their people to find what God has called them to do. But as you look at these seven, which of them is an area you would like to implement in your church or ministry? Which ones have been successful for you? Let me know.