Assembly of Orthodox Bishops Releases Generosity Survey
138 Page Report Addresses Giving to Orthodox Parishes
A new report, published by the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops in America and developed by Orthodox demographer Alexei Krindatch, offers insights into stewardship practices and attitudes of Orthodox Christians and their parishes. More than 2800 Orthodox Christians, representing every Orthodox jurisdiction, participated.
The four page summary -is interesting, refreshing and exciting if only because it so completely supports what has been stated by many as "good stewardship practice".
- Pledging is better than a 'non-system'. "Pledgers" give 60% more (in actual dollars and % of income) than
Parishes using a pledging method encourage parishioners to plan their financial participation in parish life before - not after the fact. As a result pledging parishes usually generate more large donations. In this study 22% of donations in pledging parishes exceeded $3K/yr.
- Track your parish's median donation. (Not average!) In 2014 the median 'regular giving donation' by an Orthodox household was $2000 per year.
- Persons who are "involved with parish life" give more than those less involved. (The corollary is those that give ... likely become involved)
- Engaging parishioners in dialogue about 'what kind of parish we want to be' generates energy and commitment.
- People want parishes to bring the light of Christ to the world. Parish efforts to do so would generate increased generosity toward the parish. People desire to overcome parish insularity by: greater social outreach into the local community, stronger emphasis on mission and evangelism programs, and joint efforts with other nearby Orthodox parishes.
Whining for money to keep the lights on is ineffective.
Parishes receive MUCH HIGHER contributions [$2400 vs. $1650 per household] when they ask members to give because it will enhance the parish's mission and create opportunities for spiritual growth than when they emphasize
"needs" of a parish community.
- Asking 'what does God want us to do with the resources we've been given' is effective.