“Tell, Thank, Ask”
Generosity & Stewardship Resources 
for Virginia Synod Congregations
Welcome to the December Edition of the Stewardship Resource Newsletter from the Virginia Synod. As we approach the end of the year, the Stewardship Table and I thought it would be helpful to highlight ideas telling the story of God's ministry in your context and saying "Thank You". You can download the newsletter here or scroll down to discover a series of resources and ideas.

If you would like me to consult with your stewardship team by Zoom or in person, please contact me at: wertz@vasynod.org to schedule a time to meet.

Peace and hope,
Pastor John Wertz, Jr.
Director for Evangelical Mission
Assistant to the Bishop, VA Synod
Tell Ideas
People are far more willing to support ministries when they know the story and the impact the ministry is making. Be intentional about telling your ministries story.

Tell: Use a Narrative Spending Plan to present your 2019 Spending Plan.  Instead of presenting a spreadsheet of numbers at your congregational meeting, use the numbers to tell the story of ministry being accomplished.  Download an explanation and example of a Narrative Spending Plan here . The Narrative Spending Plan format can also be used for reporting ministry spending from the previous year at a congregational meeting.

Tell:   Invite a ministry participant to share how they are impacted by a ministry.  Make the connection between a line in a ministry spending plan and the people being impacted by the ministry. Invite someone to share a 90 second story about their experience with a ministry in worship or have the individual write a reflection that can be included in bulletins, newsletters and emails. 

Tell: Post ‘ministry’ pictures during the holidays along with a thank you.  Between now and the beginning of the year, most churches have number of hands-on or special ministries taking place. Take pictures at these events. Post pictures online, in publications or around the church building. Whenever possible include a note thanking the congregation for their generous support that makes these ministries possible.
Thank Ideas

As we approach the end of the year, it is critically important for congregations say “Thank You” for all the gifts offered in support of God’s ministry.

Thank: Send a Giving Statement with a Thank You note during the first week of December  – Sending a simple thank you note that that connects gifts given to ministry being accomplished can make a powerful statement Download a sample “Giving Statement Thank You Note” template here .  

Thank: Write a Thank You letter or Create an ‘Infographic” telling the story of the congregation’s ministry and include it in your 2018 “Year-End” giving statement.  When writing a letter, be sure to mention specific ministries accomplished during the past year. Infographics are visual representations of information. Invite an artist or creative person in your congregation to create an infographic telling the story of your ministry. Free online tools like canva.com can be used to produce simple, impactful infographics. Here’s an example of a Thank You letter and a congregational year-end infographic.

Thank: Give a handwritten thank you note to each of your key staff and volunteers thanking them for their help during the holidays.  The Advent and Christmas season can create tremendous stress for staff and volunteers. Write a personal thank you note to each individual telling them how much you appreciate their support during Advent and Christmas.

Ask Ideas
During the holiday season, people are often interested in special giving opportunities and making year end gifts. Make it as easy as possible for people to make these gifts

Ask:   Make one or two special giving opportunities available during Advent and Christmas.  Opportunities for special giving can be hands-on giving, like Angel Trees gifts, or special offerings to support a particular ministry. Select the opportunities carefully and make sure to share the story in a way that highlights the opportunity to make a difference. 

Ask:   Remind people about deadlines for Year-End Giving and for Tax Advantageous Giving.  Publish notes in newsletters, e-newsletters and bulletins stating the deadline for year-end gifts to count toward 2018 giving and remind people of the advantages of making a gift using a Minimum Required Distribution or a Stock gift. You can find sample announcements for each year end giving and tax advantageous giving.
Save the Date: Stewardship Continuing Education Event
The Virginia Synod and the Presbytery of the James have invited Charles R Lane, the author of "Ask, Thank, Tell" and "Embracing Stewardship" to lead a one day workshop in Richmond on Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 9 AM until 3 PM .

The event will be held at Three Chopt Presbyterian Church in Richmond and simulcast online. Thanks to a grant from the Stewardship of Life Institute, the cost of the event will be $15 per person. Online registration will begin in December and more details on the schedule will be announced soon. 

Millennials and Generosity

Millennials are just as generous as the generations who have gone before them, but they have different motivations for giving and different ways of giving than other generations. Here are three articles on Millennial givers that offer insight into how to reach this generation. 

5 Ways Millennials Give Differently than Baby Boomers:

3 Ways to Engage Millennial Givers

Millennial Giving Insights and Infographic

Emphasize or Add Online Giving

Since fewer people carry cash or a checkbook, it is important to provide electronic giving options and make those options easily accessible. During Advent and Christmas, consider putting the link to your online donation page in your bulletin. If you are worried about online givers feeling left out when the offering plate is passed, consider providing a laminated card in the pew which says “Supporting the ministry of [ Insert Congregation Name ] through online giving”. Individuals can place the cards in the offering plate and be reused each week.

To help lower the cost of receiving electronic donations, the ELCA has entered into a preferred provider agreement with an online donation service called Tithe.ly. The service has no monthly fee. You only pay a transaction fee when a gift is made. If you are interested in learning more about Tithe.ly go to:   get.tithe.ly/elca

Other Resources

ELCA Good Gifts: Looking for end of year gifts that make a difference in the lives of others, try ELCA Good Gifts: community.elca.org/elcagoodgifts

Luther Seminary Stewardship Page : www.luthersem.edu/stewardship/default.aspx

Stewardship Consultation or Re-Launch Workshop: Contact Pastor John for available dates and times (email: wertz@vasynod.org or office: 757.622.9421)