Every year a new annual report of sorts is delivered on the state of charitable giving in our country. It is called Giving USA and there is simply no better resource for the most current data on the previous year’s generosity stats and trends. The report is extremely comprehensive reflecting on a myriad of studies across all sectors of charities. I seek to provide a yearly summary response highlighting what I believe church leaders need to embrace to become better generosity leaders. This year the trends and shifts are such that it warrants three blog posts, Giving Trends are Shifting, Online Giving Growth For Small/Medium Sized Churches, and this is part three addressing the learnings on marketplace generosity.
First, let’s define marketplace generosity. It is actually a topic we train on in our Generosity Hub (eight topics for teaching and preaching on generosity). Marketplace Generosity is facilitating the generous life outside the local church and in the marketplace where people work. The business world has been leading the effort on this topic for years now. It can range from expressions like entire companies being responsibly sourced to committing designated profit percentages to meaningful causes. Virtually every vibrant company has multiple opportunities for its employees to give in support of local and global causes. Having an ongoing active relationship with multiple local nonprofits is very common.
Next, companies have found engaging in generosity to be healthy on many fronts. It is a way to help an employee grow and build team spirit. A highly held value of giving back is a sign of a strong work culture. The benefits of serving others and making the community better are undeniable, and it is good for a company’s reputation and brand. So giving is seen to be good for the team, the community, and the business.
Leading Trends In Marketplace Generosity:
- Giving by corporations increased by 5%.
- Corporations give both cash and noncash gifts.
- Corporations tend to give around their areas of core competencies.
So what are the applications for the local church?
- Both the current and next generation of believers give outside the local church because the opportunity to give is clear and convenient. It is typically offered via a relationship at work or with a friend, the impact is obvious, and the need is immediate. Church giving can be the exact opposite. It can be less relational more institutional. It can be less fun and less convenient. And it can definitely be less compelling. Budget giving just isn’t all that thrilling. I would suggest working on your vision language, making sure your dollars solve problems in people’s lives. Your message is competing with organizations that rescue an animal, cure a disease, and educate a child. These may seem like smaller visions in light of eternity, but they are really clear.
- Seek to partner with local nonprofits on projects. Help your people serve their community well. These types of relationships foster such good in the city. Your people will grow and so will your church’s reputation. Your people can even lead their business networks to participate given the service projects are community-based. What amazing open doors of ministry conversation you are creating! Most churches are hardly known in their community for being generous servants. I know that may be shocking, but we tend to be more known for our programming, size, or location. So let’s get out there and serve our cities.
- Make giving both cash and noncash easy. 90% of wealth is stored in our assets, not our wallets. Both individuals and corporations can avoid additional taxes while gaining deductions when gifting noncash assets. These assets can be traditional gifts like real estate, stocks, and automobiles, but it can also include more complex gifts like business surplus and business interest. Lifeway Generosity alone is able to liquidate both simple and complex gifts. You can even donate a car to your local church via our app and we will liquidate it for both the giver and church passing the proceeds along.
- Focus your marketplace generosity around your vision. Know what your church uniquely possesses in terms of passion and resources. Know where you succeed the easiest. God may call you to do something outside your box that is hard and seems impossible, however, He has spiritually resourced your congregation to succeed in very unique ways. Lean into your overflow of energy, passion, and giftedness. Your people have business and marketplace skills that are rarely released for the mission. This is your chance to help them see their career through the eyes of eternity. You will increase participation and success. It will also create joy along with the opportunity to expand the experience.
So if you are desiring to unleash giving in unprecedented ways you will need to break through the frontier of marketplace generosity. When you release a person to their God-given destiny you will release every resource you need to fulfill your vision. The local church is not in competition with para-church or nonprofit causes. We need to lead by example in terms of generosity, watching our people grow, and God transforms our cities. Go unleash giving today!