Ideas for Monthly Meetings

This is Spritual Work

The choices we make about money, about giving and raising and spending money, are as much about spirit as about money.  How do we listen for Divine guidance? How do we share the material resources entrusted to us in ways that speak to that of God in every person?  How can we put our treasure where we want our hearts to be?  (See Matthew 6:21)

When people are asked in the right ways, for things they truly care about, and when they have a chance to see how their giving matters, giving can be a celebration – an act of great joy and satisfaction. When we give out of gratitude for Divine blessings, we act on faith and share what we have with our community.  We can give generously, knowing “God is able to provide every blessing in abundance, so that we may always have enough of everything and may provide (ourselves) for every good work” (2 cor. 9:8).

How Can We Encourage Members to Give to the Monthly Meeting?

Our monthly meetings provide the living context in which we can practice and learn the behaviors that help us grow in the spiritual life. Giving, nurturing and learning to act on the instinct to be generous is one of the most important of those behaviors.

In most religious congregations the encouragement to take those steps towards greater generosity is built into the act of worship.  People are asked to give as part of the liturgy, in ways that make clear this giving should be a spiritual act – an act intended both to express the faith and gratitude of the giver, and to support the life and work of the faith community.

This encouragement to give is not built into the Quaker meeting for worship, however.  So how should we do this?

Often, people are not giving because they have not been asked to give.  Some members and attenders  assume that their Meetings have all the money they need to operate; while some assume that other people are giving enough so that they do not need to give much.

To encourage members to give to the monthly meeting, we can engage in open sharing about the needs of the meeting and the spiritual rewards of generosity.

Fundamental Principles of Fundraising

These slides offer ideas for applying fundraising principles within monthly meetings and can provide some guidance for those serving their meeting in this manner.

The unique circumstances of each meeting should guide the discernment of how to best ask members to give. For help envisioning how to apply these principles within your monthly meeting, or to engage in a conversation  thinking outside the box of these principles, please call upon the PYM Director of Development.

If you want people to give, you have to ask!

  • Ask for a financial gift.  When considering making a gift, it can helpful if people know what is desired or expected. Naming a figure, a range, or specific options when you ask can help people decide what to give.
  • Explain what the gift is for in terms of what it will achieve.  This does not mean saying, “It will help us meet our budget.”  It does mean talking about what the gift(s) will support:  For example, First Day school for our children, sharing our values with our community, caring for our buildings so that we have a good place for worship and fellowship.
  • Make the connections between giving and Spirit.  Giving can be an expression of gratitude for Divine blessings; an act of faith demonstrating our trust that God will provide whatever we really need; and an expression of our commitments to sharing and justice, offering some of what we have to make better the lives of others.  Giving can be a joy and a celebration.

The more personal you can make the process of asking the better.

  • Face-to-face visits and requests are better than telephone calls, phone calls are better than letters, letters are better than notices in the newsletter.
  • Personal contacts allow questions to be asked and issues to be discussed.
  • Personal contacts make it possible for a request for support to become a conversation about our values, our priorities and our faith, as well as our money.

Continuing success requires ongoing attention.

  • One request will not suffice for all time.  Many people will not automatically give this year because they were asked last year.
  • Thought has to be given to how often to ask for money or how often to remind Friends of their pledges.
  • Thought needs to be given to the manner in which to ask or remind.  Will you use notices in newsletters, announcements at meetings, letters, phone calls, visits or another way?

Successful fundraising requires openness and accountability.

  • When members give to the Meeting, they want to know where the money is going and how it is handled.
  • Regular reporting and full disclosure of all financial activities builds trust.
  • It is helpful if members have an opportunity to shape the priorities and programs before you ask them for financial support.

“Broad decisions about the raising, custody and spending of money are policy matters affecting the welfare of all members. They should be made within the framework of a budgetary process in the monthly or regional meeting for business, rather than a less representative body.”

(Faith & Practice, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 2002, p.61)

 

A person or a group should take responsibility – and initiative!

  • Every meeting, regardless of size, should have someone responsible for the work of asking members to give.
  • When a meeting can clearly empower someone to do this work it is like collectively saying “It is okay to ask for money.”
  • The more people from the Meeting involved in this effort, the better!  This will mean that more people have ownership of the goals and that the meeting’s conversation about money may then be more public, meaningful and transformative.

Other Sources of Funds for Meetings

Grants

Some meetings have pursued and received grants of various types to fund projects, most often new buildings and property  improvements.  Many foundations and other granting sources rarely give general operating support. Most foundations and granting sources have particular kinds of projects they like to fund, specific guidelines for applying, and some restrictions on who they will fund. For example, many foundations will not make grants to churches. For more information on applying for grants, visit the Yearly Meeting’s Grants Program

Special Events

Many meetings raise some funds from special events such as fairs, festivals, auctions and sales of various sorts.  For some meetings these are quite financially successful as well as being an important component of outreach. Often, these kinds of events are not big money raisers for most meetings because the costs of the events must be factored in. Putting together a successful event also requires a great deal of time and energy. For more information on creating successful fundraising events, please contact the PYM Director of Development.

Introduction to Fundraising for Young People

The booklet Why? Ask. Thank You! was created for PYM’s children’s program. It explains fundraising in three easy steps and includes practice exercises.