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An important question: what story does your budget tell?

For decades one of the most successful fund-raising organizations in America has been the Salvation Army. I have given to it and I’ll bet you have too. Here is the thing. I have never seen a budget for the Salvation Army. Have you? Have you seen one for your local homeless shelter, or humane society, or mission outreach you support? I’ll bet not. What is more, I’ll bet it didn’t keep you from giving generously.

It is hard for church leaders to understand that very few people give to budgets. They give to pictures. They give to stories. They give to people. They give to making a difference. Oftentimes they give exceedingly generous gifts, tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars—all without seeing a budget. Short of an outright misuse of funds they will continue to give generously if they can be part of the story of changed lives.

How do you present your budget? Is it a list of costs or a set of stories about how your church is changing lives? Do you have a line-item for candles or do you share how many persons will be touched in worship this year? Do you show the expense for curriculum or do you bring forward the teachers and children who will be blessed and discipled this year? Do you highlight the outreach line-item or make a video of the woman at the shelter who got her life on track because of your ministry? Givers want to be part of the story, not part of the budget. Share your stories and you will see more generous givers in your congregation.

Click here to register. The cost is $10 per person or $20 per church (bring as many as you wish). As always, you may contact me at [email protected] or 317-788-7879. If you have a cluster of churches and would like a workshop, please let us know. We look forward to seeing you in the days ahead.

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Glenn Howell
Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana

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To review the entire series, go to Firm Foundations Blog.