Annual giving, what we commonly call stewardship, is the bedrock of all church fundraising. If you are not doing stewardship effectively, then planned giving, capital campaigns and other kinds of giving will not be as successful.
Annual giving is different from all other kinds of church fundraising because it is about the personal transformation of the giver. We are not raising money for a specific project like a building or a ministry, and we are not seeking to ensure the enduring stability of our congregation.
By making a practice of giving away our wealth in service of the Gospel, we are actively rejecting a false idol and removing an obstacle to our relationship with God.
Annual giving is an ethic, a discipline like prayer and service and worship, that is essential to discipleship and transformational to the individual. And like the other elements of discipleship, it must be done year-round. We would never restrict prayer to three months a year, or only offer pastoral care for five weeks. Stewardship – the regular, thoughtful, prayerful commitment of earthly resources to the purposes of Christ – must be done year around.
The resources below offer tools for year-round annual giving practices as well as stewardship seasons that last just a few weeks. For help with any of these resources, please contact Crystal Plummer.
- Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF): Annual Giving and Development
- Project Resource: Annual Giving Guide
- The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS): Annual Giving (TENS also holds an annual conference open to congregations. Learn more at TENS.org). Members of the Diocese of Chicago can access password-protected TENS materials with username: Luke9:17
- ECF Vital Practices, a free newsletter with articles, tools, and resources for congregational leaders, is published online monthly. Subscribe online.
Planned Giving Resources
A planned giving program can assist church members who wish to leave a legacy that will support the future of the church and its ministries. The resources below offer tools and planned giving practices. For help with any of these resources, please contact Crystal Plummer.