Explaining need

The Church of England is often seen as wealthy, and it is a surprise to many that a church’s ministry is mainly funded by local people who give to it. Whilst the Church Commissioners do have significant investments, these are invested in a long-term and responsible way to generate income to pay for approximately 15% of the costs of the church’s ministry and mission on a sustainable basis. Without that income the parish ministry of The Church of England would be significantly diminished. But the vast majority of the church’s financial resources are raised by local communities, and is a remarkable testament to them and their generosity.
Dean of Winchester

There are numerous worthy and deserving causes that need people’s support. If we are to encourage people to give to us, as churches we must explain why we need people’s support, and how vital it is to our ministry and mission. We must do this primarily to people within our church community, but also within our wider communities too. They may not regularly attend church, if at all, but they often are still supportive of it, and value the role it plays within the community. They are also often keen for the church to be there when they do need it, such as life events (baptisms, weddings and funerals) and celebrations like Christmas, Easter and Harvest. 

Explaining need is a key part of the giving mix and can’t be neglected. People may find it easy to give, they may see the impact gifts make, they may trust the church with its money, but if they do not see the need to give then often they will not. By explaining the need, and that the church’s ministry and mission is reliant on people’s gifts and it will not happen if people do not give, you can provide the impetus for people to give and ensure your hard work on mechanisms, impact and trust is not wasted. 

“If you don’t give because no one’s ever asked you, I’m asking you now. If you don’t give regularly because you’ve never got round to it, I’m saying today’s the day. If you don’t give much because you think St Martin’s doesn’t need it, I’m telling you that it does. If you don’t give a lot because you don’t have a lot, I’m saying your giving something is an example to everyone else. If you don’t give more because no one’s ever said thank you, I’m thanking you right now. If you already give until the pips squeak, I’m saying that’s wonderful, and nudge the person next to you to do the same." 

Rev Dr Sam Wells 

Ways to explain need 

  • Ensure any request for support includes an explanation of why people’s support is needed 

  • Develop giving materials for the wider community that show how the church meets their needs