Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ALTERNATIVE GIVING: A Coordinator’s Guide

Christmas is a time of gift-giving. But all too often, the gifts we give and receive are trivial — books, neckties, jewelry, video games. How many of these do we need anyway? This Christmas, help your church congregation, or even just your family, focus on the gift that really matters, through the Methodist Mission in Cambodia’s Alternative Giving Campaign. Give a gift of LOVE this season, and in turn, find yourself and your church refreshed.

This brief coordinator’s guide can help you run a successful Alternative Giving campaign at your church. Download a more in-depth PDF handbook here.

1. THE CATALOG: How to use it
We encourage churches to make the catalog available to their congregations in hardcopy. this helps members feel more connected to the campaign.

We understand many churches will not have the resources to print a batch of glossy, full-color catalogs, so we’ve made the catalog available in a wide range of formats (at www.scribd.com/altgiving/collections), from the margin-less color version to a catalog designed to print on an inkjet printer on normal 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Find the one that works best for your capabilities and resources.

There is also a PDF version of the catalog available that you can send out by email to your church members or friends. The resolution is too low for printing, but it looks nice when viewed on a computer screen. This catalog version has active links that takes you directly to the online giving. The link will direct you to a webpage of The Advance for the program here in Cambodia who will be responsible for following through on each of the different kinds of gifts listed in the catalog. The Advance is the designated giving arm of the United Methodist Church. Through other donations that support administration and fees, they are able to guarantee that 100% of your gift will arrive here in Cambodia to support the ministry program that you designate.

2. LOGISTICS: When and how
We have attempted to make this campaign as flexible as possible, giving you all the tools you may need, but leaving the logistical decisions up to you. You can run your campaign over one or more weeks between now and Christmas. We do recommend you distribute gift catalogs to church members at least one week in advance of the offering collection, to give them time to look over and pray about the available options.

Your campaign can be as simple as having congregation members drop order forms and checks into the offering plate one Sunday, or it can develop into something much bigger. Aldersgate UMC in Virginia has reported great success with their Giving Bazaar, wherein church members visit a “store” with tables showcasing different catalog items available for “purchase.” At each table, members can pick up a Christmas card insert, which will inform someone on their Christmas shopping list that a gift has been purchased in their honor. (These printable card inserts are available on scribd soon.) These inserts are then taken to a “check-out” counter, and the gifts are paid for.

3. PARTICIPATE: Promote awareness
The Alternative Giving campaign is about much more than fundraising. It’s about growing awareness of our programs here in Cambodia. We don’t just want your money this Christmas season. We want your thoughts, prayers and conversations.

We encourage you to find unique ways for different people groups in your congregation to participate in and own the project. One easy way is through the handouts (available on Scribd) aimed at specific groups within your congregation, including women, youth and sunday school children.

Mt. Tamalpais UMC in Mill Valley, Calif., gets its children involved in their campaign by asking Sunday School classes to create the Christmas cards that the “a gift in your honor” inserts can be glued to during the bazaar, so church members walk away with a very personalized card to give a loved one.

4. PUBLICITY: Get Attention
When you run an Alternative Giving campaign, you will have access to dozens of pre-fabricated and customizable publicity materials, including posters, bulletin inserts, PowerPoint slides, Sunday school and small group handouts, and short videos. Print materials, PowerPoint images, and logos for the alternative Giving campaign can be downloaded at www.Scribd.com/altgiving. All posters and handouts leave space for you to include the contact information of your local campaign coordinator or, if you prefer, just your church office.

Short videos can be viewed and downloaded from the Methodist Mission in Cambodia’s YouTube page, www.youtube.com/mmcambodia. (See full instruction manual for guidelines on downloading.) most videos are 3 to 5 minutes could easily be projected during a worship service or shown in a sunday school class or small group.

5. UPDATES: Campaign Support Online
Please notify us when you decide to participate in the Alternative Giving campaign by emailing us at altgiving.mmc@gmail.com. This way we can keep you up-to-date on campaign developments, answer frequently-asked questions and notify you when new resources become available. Also, periodically check our website (chad-cambodia.blogspot.com) for updates and tips on Alternative Giving.

6. DONATIONS: Online and Mail Options
There are two tactics for campaign coordinators or church administrators tasked with handling donations for an entire church. One is to fill out a summary order form (available on scribd soon) representing the entire church’s orders and mail it, along with a check, to your conference treasurer or directly to the General Board of Global Ministries, at Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068, GPO, New York, NY 10087-9068.

Individuals and entire churches can also donate online. To determine which advance number catalog items go, you must use the “Catalog Prefix to Advance Number Key” located in a grey box on the Order Forms and also on the Online Giving instruction sheet. This will show you how to match a catalog item’s 3-letter prefix with its corresponding Advance number. Or, follow the links provided in the email version of the catalog to go directly to the correct online giving page for each gift.

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