When preparing for a dinner party or outing, there are three “taboo” topics: faith, finances and the federal government. As a Christian organization whose mission is to drive impactful giving in our community, we wholeheartedly disagree with the first two. If we’re not sharing our faith and the importance of giving, how will we create meaningful change that honors God?
While we think faith and money are acceptable conversion topics among friends, we do believe that there are ways to sponsor and direct such conversations that make them more palatable and comfortable for everyone involved. People are much more likely to take an action when a friend recommends it, and starting a conversation about giving could start the stirrings in their heart that will eventually kick off their journey into philanthropy. But how do you start this conversation? We’ll break down three helpful tips to make talking about giving easier.
Share your personal journey.
Giving is a personal process, and the experience is uniquely meaningful to each person. If you want to sponsor a conversation about philanthropy, start by sharing your own journey. What caused you to seek out ways to be more generous? How did you get started in the process, and what did you learn along the way? Focus on the condition of your heart and how it has changed or evolved as you practiced Biblical Stewardship. Be honest and open – you can quickly go from sharing your heart to bragging about your generosity.
Don’t talk dollars.
Giving is ultimately about personal sacrifice, and the amount of money you give away is irrelevant to a conversation about giving. The number affixed to a check doesn’t sway others to give, and it might intimidate them and keep them from giving in the first place. Even statements like, “Giving only $20…” could plant the wrong idea in someone’s head. Steer away from mentioning dollar figures at all. Instead, talk about the Bible’s model for philanthropy. Giving should be sacrificial, joyful and generous. That looks different for every giver.
Talk about the outcomes, not the output.
We already said you shouldn’t talk about dollars, but we also recommend staying away from the details of your donation frequency and setup unless you’re specifically asked. Instead, talk about the organizations you support and the programming they’re able to offer because of faithful donors. When you focus on the way God uses donations to further his Kingdom, the impact of philanthropy becomes visible and real for people. If you don’t know the impact your donations have on organizations, reach out to their fundraising coordinator and sign up for their email newsletter! Many nonprofit organizations share compelling updates and stories with their donors if you simply ask.
It’s our hope that you feel more confident in your ability to talk about giving with your friends and loved ones. Know that these conversations don’t lead to action overnight, but even planting the idea can make room for God to move in their hearts and lives. You merely have to start the discussion!