In a recent session at the Stewardship Kaleidoscope conference, Rev. Peter Reuss, a Partner at GSB, delivered a powerful message centered around the idea that “it’s not about the money — it’s about the mission.” Reuss emphasized the importance of understanding and communicating the “why” behind charitable giving, underlining that people want to know their contributions are making a difference in the lives of others through the grace of God.
He highlighted a common issue within the church: a focus on needs rather than the mission. Reuss contended that while the church is good at discussing its requirements, it often neglects to convey why those needs matter for the broader mission. He noted that the most prevalent motivations for church giving are shame and obligation, stemming from a perception of stewardship as a duty.
To address this, Reuss introduced a five-step approach to effective fundraising for churches and religious organizations, emphasizing that asking for donations should not be the first step. The process includes Identify, Inform, Motivate, Ask, and Thank. He stressed the importance of inspiring people with the “Why” and connecting fundraising to spiritual goals rather than just practical tactics, asserting that understanding the purpose behind giving is what truly excites individuals.
In conclusion, Reuss urged congregations to meet people where they are on their journey of generosity and emphasized that fundraising should focus on the powerful ways God is working in the church and the transformative impact it has on people’s lives, rather than simply presenting budget deficits. This perspective, he argued, is the key to successful fundraising efforts in support of God’s kingdom.