The Power of Y.O.U.

Today's topic is Y.O.U. Not you specifically, but "you" the word.

In addition to a person's first name being the sweetest sound, people also love hearing the word "you."

Unfortunately, when asking for donations, too many churches and organizations fail to put the person who is making the (presumably) sacrificial gift first. Instead, the request is all about the church or organization and how great they are versus how great the donor is.

In a recent year-end mailing Jeff Brooks' saw this on an envelope:

"The bigger your holiday gift…the more we can do for our residents."

Not bad, right? But what if it said this instead:

"The bigger your holiday gift…the more you can do for our residents."

All of a sudden there's recognition that yes, while the organization does the work, the work cannot happen without you the donor making it possible.

Steven Screen calls it a "Super Simple Principle":

1. Your donor loves to help your beneficiaries

2. So when fundraising, ask your donor to help your beneficiaries instead of asking your donor to help your organization.

For churches it might look something like this:

Old way:  Our church makes a difference in the lives of youth.
New way: You make a difference in the lives of youth.

Old way: Our church has an amazing organ. We can make it even better with a    donation to improve it.
New way: You have made it possible for us to have an amazing organ. Your donation can make it even better.

Old way: Wow! Our congregation has fed 60 kids this year through Backpack Buddies. Help us feed more kids.
New way: Wow! You have fed 60 kids this year through Backpack Buddies. You can help feed more kids.

See the difference?
The old way makes a donor take the message less personally. It puts a subtle distance between them and the cause.

The new way immediately puts the donor right in the action letting them know they are making a difference in the lives of people and their community.

Even Jesus knew the power of the word "you."

Jesus could have said, "We are the light of the world…let our light shine before others, so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father in heaven."

Instead, he went with the far more powerful:

You are the light of the world… let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16, emphasis added)

Y.O.U. is a pretty powerful word. What you and your congregation/organization are doing is amazing. But remember, that work happens – not because of your church/organization – but because your people believe in your cause and the difference they can make in the world. Go and tell them.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann, consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development, Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.

United Methodist Church Giving is about people working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves. In so doing, we effect change around the world, all in the name of Jesus Christ. To read stories about the generosity of United Methodists click here.

Click here to subscribe to "Inspiring Generosity.