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Mark Brooks from the Charis Group finds that there are some lessons that the church can learn about Black Friday, particularly in the area of generosity and how our people are thinking these days: Lesson #1 – The easier you make it for people to give the more likely they will be to give.  Every Sunday the typical church passes a plate or bucket asking for people to donate.  Yet most never carry a checkbook and have very little cash on their person.  So, IF they give the amount will be only a few dollars rather than a significant gift.  Our portal for collecting the offering is out dated. Lesson #2 – You must offer people multiple options to give.  Retailers know that some like to shop the stores and handle the merchandise while others like to shop online.  A smart retailer never puts all his eggs in one basket.  Yet only 14% of American churches offer online giving.  Clearly in most churches you only have one option to give and that is on Sunday morning when the collection plate is passed.  See above. Lesson #3 – People want convenience.  This past Thanksgiving season retailers began their sales the night of Thanksgiving.  Many also allowed shoppers to connect online early on the morning of Black Friday thus avoiding lines.  Retailers know that people want convenience so their online stores are literally open 24/7.  People at your church will respond if you make giving convenient for them.  An app for instance allows your people to give online wherever they are even if they are at grandma’s house on Sunday.  Make your giving convenient and you will see an increase in giving. Lesson #4 – Retailers work at driving shoppers to their stores and sites.  My local paper on the day before Thanksgiving was huge.  However there was not much news it was all advertisements for Black Friday!  My email box was filled this past week with various offers from Amazon to my favorite running store pumping deals and sales towards me.  Retailers know it is not enough to have the tools for sales unless you drive people to those tools.  Many churches offer online giving but then let it set without ever driving people to that site.  You have to work your giving tool in order for your giving tool to work! The National Retail Federation is predicting that sales this holiday season will rise 4.1% from 2011 sales.  If NRF’s estimate is correct, holiday sales this year would be $586.1 billion.  Most of that money will be on wasted stuff.  How many of your Christmas gifts are you still using from last year?  Can you even remember what you got or what you bought?  Wasted dollars.  Consider that the medium gift to a church in a whole calendar year is only $200. // Read more of Mark’s great thoughts here… What do YOU think?