When in crisis … CARE

When in crisis … CARE

 By E. Dale Berkey, Ph.D.

President, BBS & Associates

“Never” is a long time, but the term certainly applies to what we’re experiencing in our ministries today: We’ve never been through a time like this … at least not in my lifetime.

  • This wasn’t a creeping crisis. It came on like a tsunami.
  • It’s also multi-faceted: not just a medical emergency, but an economic one as well. And even the economics are painfully complicated. Massive unemployment is just one huge factor. Depressed oil prices, in combination with global over-supply, have impacted the world’s economic situation as well.
  • Yes, the U.S. government has injected stimulus money into the system, and this may have artificial short-term effects.

But in this moment, the situation is dire. Millions are without jobs. There’s no telling how long it will be before the jobs come back. Many businesses will likely fail to reopen; they simply won’t have the resources to come back to life.

What are the realities for ministries right now?

  1. There is hope.

Data from past recessions has shown that overall giving does drop, but in many cases, the current decline hasn’t been as steep as many feared.

A review of previous crises has also revealed that individual giving as a percentage of GDP actually stays fairly consistent.

This demonstrates that the core of the American people is generous. We are still a philanthropic people. Donors want to give.

Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that religious people give more than general, non-religious donors.

  1. New donors can still be found.

The economy is going to be very rough for a while; but acquiring new donors has already been a multi-year battle.

Don’t stop seeking new donors. History has shown that if you shut down new-donor-acquisition efforts now, it will cost your ministry for many years. Curtail only if you must, but don’t cut completely.

In this crisis, with more people online and reading email, many folks may find themselves drawn to your mission for the first time.

  1. Major donors need care.

Many major donors have lost a lot of money.

We need more than ever to affirm and encourage our donors, and to pray for them. Show your concern for them. And ask them, simply and boldly, to continue to be a part of fulfilling your God-given mission.

Ask with sensitivity, with awareness of the difficult situation, but don’t be afraid to ask.

Show your donors the impact of their giving and prayers over time. Use stories and statistics, shared through the prism of gratitude, so that your donors feel appreciated and affirmed — whether they are able to give significantly this year or not.

If there’s a bottom line, I believe it’s this:

The truth is still the truth. Giving is something God has called His people to do. This hasn’t changed, regardless of COVID-19 and the economy’s meltdown. All resources are from God; giving is our way of releasing His resources back into His kingdom.

We’d be happy to interact with you further as you face the challenge of communicating with your donors during these trying times. Please feel free to reach out by emailing me at dberkey@servantheart.com.