Gift Giving In A Church Setting
Gift Giving Wisdom for Small Group Point People
Recently, I had coffee with Kellie Wright who attends Browncroft Community Church, the church I serve. She and her daughter co-founded Golden Hello, a company focused on helping organizations give gifts to show appreciation to create a strong culture. In the Small Group Network, we tend to have a variety of questions about gifts for small group leaders during Christmas and at other times. As we go into the planning season of summer, I thought getting her insight might help you plan well for this upcoming year.
- Small group point people focus so much on the strategy of small groups. Giving gifts can seem like a once-a-year appreciation. Why do you think a gift-giving strategy could really build the ministry?
In our experience we have seen three ways that a gift-giving strategy can build and benefit culture. First, individual gift-giving expresses personalized gratitude and appreciation for leaders. Secondly, group gift giving can effectively build a team through a shared experience. Thirdly, consistency matters. Individuals tend to volunteer above and beyond rather than leaving a role when they feel appreciated. We help organizations by starting with baby steps and many move towards a touch point each month with two gifts a year as a goal.
- Small Group Leaders on a whole meet with their group of approximately 10-12 each week. If time is valuable, how do you know when to gather leaders to appreciate or offer a gift?
If I was working with a small group of people as a gift giving portion of their strategy, we would help them figure out a rhythm. We would consider gifts shipped to their homes, events at the church, a 15-minute coffee conversation, etc. Not everyone would be able to attend, so we would want to mix up the ways that we appreciate small group leaders.
- The normal rhythm of giving gifts in a small group ministry either happens at Christmas time or at the end of the program year during May or June. What tips would you offer small group point people to consider when deciding on a gift?
I would encourage leaders to consider these factors in deciding on a gift:
1) Number of people who will receive these gifts
3) Look at your demographic of small group leaders
4) Average age
5) Likes and dislikes
6) Gifting trends for your targeted age group
Based on these factors, building a simple survey can tie it all together
- It can be a struggle with a vast number of small group leaders to consider their birthdays, anniversaries, and other special events. How would you encourage small group point people to plan for these types of opportunities to connect?
As an organization focused on giving gifts, I would encourage you to decide on what special events you will give gifts. ex. for birthdays. Set up a simple excel spreadsheet and fill in the names, addresses bday etc. add it to your giftinging calendar each month and ship them out. Whether you use a company like Golden Hello or not, you need to have a champion to partner with you on this endeavor to tangibly express appreciation consistently and in a timely manner..
- In small group ministry, we have coaches who support small group leaders. How would you encourage these volunteers to consider gifts for the leaders they serve?
I feel if the volunteer leaders feel valued and appreciated by their coaches that will encourage them to give back. In this level of leadership, I feel like the gift is building the relationship from coach to small group leader. As the coach gets to know the leaders, they can start to sense the best way to appreciate them.
- How would encourage small group leaders to think about giving gifts to the members of their groups?
I feel their gift of giving their time and knowledge is what I value as a member of a small group. It is a big responsibility and time commitment to step up to be a leader. Jan, my small group leader, is fabulous. She always suggests quarterly picnics. Either someone volunteers to host or we meet at the church. We bring a dish to pass and chat for an hour and a half to get to know each other better. We all look forward to that! Taking time for us to bond outside the group means just as much or more to me than a tangible gift.
Written by: Peter Englert Adult Ministries Director at Browncroft Community Church