You only have to ask

Published on: 17 August 2021

Our church is eight miles from Diss in South Norfolk and is definitely a rural church.

The congregation varies from 35-55 week by week with numbers increasing to 100 at festivals.

We were perhaps a little slow off the mark when the PCC realised that if you do not have any live Sunday services during lockdown then the weekly giving just stops. Many of our congregation prefer to give weekly, which is of course fine, but what was not fine was the growing hole in the budget.

I’ve long been a fan of the “Nudge Theory”, a concept in behavioural economics which is widely used in Government and Business, and is very effective in achieving a change in behaviour. We had this very much in mind when formulating an action plan to address the situation.

Asking people for money is never top of the list of favourite things to do, but when you are facing real problems doing something seems quite the best alternative. The PCC decided to write to everyone in the church family and tell them of the situation and the consequences if we did nothing. At the same time we put a case to convert weekly giving into a regular standing order, and made it as easy to do as we could.

Like most families, when things get tough they rally to the cause and what a result:

  • 25% increase in people giving by standing order;
  • 8 (one-off) donations equivalent to more than 30% of our annual giving.

I suppose it only goes to prove, “you only have to ask”, but the way you ask is very important. Thanks to the generosity of our great church community here in Pulham Market we are now back in the black and paying our way – and importantly we are still able to give 10% of our annual income to worthy causes.

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