Denis Greene

Denis Greene

Greene began working in the nonprofit development field in 1981. He founded Church Development in 1992 after a near-death experience motivated him to integrate his faith, education and skills in work that served the church and the virtue of stewardship. He has helped over 200 churches across the USA raise more than $200,000,000. He is the author of The Stewardship System, Stewardship-Based Capital Campaigns, and How To Ask For Donations as well as numerous articles on stewardship.

Recent Posts

9/14/20 4:22 PM

The ICSC Conference: 5 Insights From Church Stewardship Experts

The International Catholic Stewardship Council annual conference is being held virtually this year. From September 29 - October 9, 2020, experts from around the world will be sharing their best practices. On 9/29/20 at 10am, I will be presenting a workshop titled "The Tithes Of Saints: Cultivating Leadership Donors". Below is included a link to the conference, hope to see you there.
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3/18/20 11:04 AM

Coronavirus and the Church: a Pastoral Response

In some ways, we are all in uncharted waters with the public health updates of the past few weeks. In any moment of history, the Church has an opportunity to retract in fear or to reach out to the margins and be Christ's love for our neighbors. In this blog post we discuss how your church can survive and thrive in spite of the pandemic. The key message in our recommended communications is that, though services may be temporarily cancelled, the church is alive and responding! The Church carries on its mission, especially in times of crisis.
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1/21/20 7:45 AM

Church Capital Campaign Slogans Based on Marketing Research

In our most popular blog we offered a list of many possible church capital campaign titles. Since we have helped over 200 congregations through their capital campaigns, we have learned what makes a good church capital campaign name.

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11/12/19 9:15 AM

Planned Giving in Stewardship Season

Although polls in recent years agree that the size and number of religious congregations are changing, a new study surprisingly found that revenue is not necessarily changing along with participation.

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9/25/19 11:42 AM

The Internet and the Modern Church

Effective church stewardship obviously involves people who attend church. So what about the reported decline in church attendance, isn’t that going to affect stewardship? Yes it does. Can the Internet help? Maybe. Here are a few suggestions, some found on, of course, the Internet.

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9/6/19 11:15 AM

Helping Millennials Support Your Church

Here are a few observations about giving among the millennials at your church. If you’re thinking “What millennials?”, well, that’s a great topic for a later post, but for now let’s talk about the younger adults already attending your church. These tips are hardly earth-shaking but they are a distillation of many suggestions and may give you some ideas to consider.

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7/24/19 9:17 AM

Should a Pastor Know Who Tithes?


Rarely have we heard a more controversial question than this. While some denominations tend to have a common answer around this issue, all three pastors quoted are from the same denomination:

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7/8/19 12:27 PM

Tithing and Proportionate Giving

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5/28/19 8:16 AM

Why Church Capital Campaign Follow Up Is Crucial

Commitment Sunday has passed. Congratulations! Your church capital campaign is complete, right? WRONG. The follow up period can double fundraising profit. 

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5/13/19 10:10 AM

Pastor's Role in a Church Capital Campaign

“Many pastors are afraid of a capital campaign,” a pastor told me. Now retired, the pastor admitted he too had put off his first campaign for quite a while. What was he most afraid of? Talking about money.

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3/19/19 7:02 AM

6 Hidden Costs of a DIY Church Capital Campaign

The sticker shock of professional church capital campaign consulting proposals can be paralyzing. Often times the church leaders' response is to move forward with a capital campaign without assistance - we call this the do-it-yourself, or DIY campaign. Self-run campaigns can be enticing on the surface because it seems that the church can save upwards of six figures on consulting fees. However, this thinking is short sighted and can cost the church greatly in multiple domains. Here we lay out the hidden costs of a DIY church capital campaign. 

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2/7/19 4:11 PM

You Need Volunteers in a Church Capital Campaign

We believe in involving everyone at your church in your capital campaign. While we'd love to take credit for the idea, we're just doing what the research tells us. Engagement is consistently highly correlated with life satisfaction, evangelistic communities, and participation in financial giving. Our previous success and the latest research has proven that our process-oriented strategy works. When organizing a church capital campaign our method to provide volunteer opportunities for everyone to get involved in the church’s mission. Read on to see how we do it.

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1/28/19 12:39 PM

Church Capital Campaign Communications 101

Just as important as the purpose of your capital campaign is the methodical communication your vision. This is one of the tasks in which you need to put on your business cap and start thinking about your project like a communications professional would. The key word: marketing.

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1/17/19 8:16 AM

Church Member Engagement: Research Says

I've been doing research on stewardship for a long time and one of the great resources that I've come across is the Gallup ME25, which supports one of my assumptions - that an engaged congregant is much more likely to invite a person to visit church. The keys to engagement are: involvement in decision making, connecting socially, and engagement as a volunteer. Watch my video below to hear more about that.

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1/3/19 8:06 AM

The #1 Cause of Church Stewardship Failure

Whether we want to admit it or not, we are in a state of failure. Only 5% of church goers tithe, and we know it is good for the soul just like we know exercising is good for the body. Charitable giving is a $300 billion industry. There are clear patterns for failure and clear best practices for success. Think you know what the root of the problem is? You might be surprised at our answer!

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12/27/18 8:17 AM

4 Annual Catholic Stewardship Reports to Copy

One of our foundation principles in stewardship is communication. It's important in personal relationships, and it's important in a person's relationship with his or her church. Putting together an annual report can seem like a big tasks, but the outcomes and benefits of transparency make it worth your while. Here we share what we love about a few of our favorite recently published annual reports from some Catholic clients.

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12/18/18 4:56 PM

36 Stewardship Scripture Passages, Parables & Prayers

The Bible is a book about giving - with more promises related to giving than to any other subject! For example, the subject of "believing" appears 272 times, "prayer" 371 times, and "love" 714 times; while "giving" is mentioned 2,162 times! Jesus talked more about giving than anything else; more than half of the parables have to do with money and worldly goods. Educate church members on the meaning of stewardship with bulletin inserts, sermons, homilies, and reflections based on the following.

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12/4/18 4:26 PM

Sample Church Capital Campaign Calendar Plan

Below is a sample timeline for organizing your capital campaign activities. Our capital campaign process is tailored for each individual church to best fit the needs of the culture of your community. We don't believe in one-size fits all campaigns but instead work with your leadership team to make sure the components of the campaign are timed well to be received by the volunteers and congregation. 

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11/27/18 8:46 AM

How to raise 10% of your income in a year-end appeal

Now that it’s the holidays, nonprofits are ramping up their solicitations for gifts. December is often when people are most generous—25% of philanthropic dollars are donated this month! Be proactive in inviting your community members to remember your church in their holiday and year-end donations. Read on to learn why so much money comes at the end of the year and how to structure your year-end appeal.

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11/12/18 7:13 PM

What this Parish Stewardship Director is Doing Right

We've collected lots of information and ideas about how to grow giving in parishes over the 25 years we've been doing this ministry. In this interview, Denis Greene speaks with his friend, Megan, Stewardship Director at Visitation Catholic Church in Kansas City, MO about her process for growing annual giving in the parish.

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11/6/18 3:58 PM

Why Are Churches Failing at Stewardship?

This may seem harsh, but as a society and as a Church, we have failed to help people embrace stewardship. It obviously does not work to just tell people they need to give. Pastors have been beating that drum for centuries.

I think we need to take an honest look at what this approach has produced. If you are using tithing as the barometer (those who give 10% of their income back to God), then the age-old approach to preach about giving has produced a 95% failure rate.

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10/31/18 12:21 PM

Church Capital Campaign Pledge Card Samples

As you are getting started with a church capital campaign, it may seem like a simple task to create a pledge card, but there are many considerations and variations with the information you collect and the language of invitation to include that make a difference in your giving results. Here are some samples that we are proud of and some reasons why we chose to craft the pledge cards as they are. 

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10/25/18 12:58 PM

How to Ask for a Large Donation

At some point, every pastor has to learn how to ask for a large donation. It's difficult to approach a member to ask for money. We make this intimidating experience easier with some tips. Learn how to deliver your pitch without offending your friends or getting kicked in the shins!

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10/9/18 11:07 AM

Do We Really Need a Separate Stewardship Committee?

"Can't my finance committee serve both purposes?" That’s a very good question, given that fewer than 20% of churches/parishes have a committee dedicated to stewardship ministry. Here are some tips for why a separate committee is necessary and how to make the best use of your committee's time.

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9/25/18 2:28 PM

7 Steps to Create a Culture of Stewardship

Our goal is to help you build an ongoing culture of generosity in your church. The following list are 7 underlying values of The Stewardship System™ to highlight in building your stewardship ministry. These values are based on research and experience. Each value should be supported with specific activities. Use this list with your stewardship committee to determine what you want to accomplish with your ministry. For a printable version of this, and discussion questions to guide your planning, check out our stewardship strategic planning guide

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9/4/18 4:21 PM

28 Interview Questions for a Fundraising Consultant

You've identified that your church is in need of a capital campaign. And you've realized how much work it would be to pull that off on your own. So you're looking at firms to consider hiring. Below is a selection of questions to help guide your request for proposal and interview process when deciding upon a fundraising firm.

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7/31/18 8:19 AM

8 Major Benefits of a Feasibility Study

A pre-campaign feasibility study offers church leaders a deep understanding of church members and helps facilitate successful capital campaigns. In addition to measuring the likely levels of financial commitments, a properly conducted feasibility study discovers the congregation’s level of support for the church and its ministries, the pastoral and volunteer leadership, and the proposed fundraising effort.

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7/12/18 10:01 AM

20 Church Capital Campaign Slogans List & Logos

Communication is a huge part of running a successful church capital campaign. You may have the most beautiful mission and vision for your parish, but if no one knows what that vision is, you'll fall flat on your face trying to raise funds to support it. In our church capital campaign communication guide, we lay out a branding plan that aims to educate the community on the value of the campaign - developing a theme, slogan and logo is a part of that process. Here are 20 slogans and their logos that our clients have created to inspire and communicate what they were hoping to accomplish with their capital campaign building projects. I hope what you find below gets your creative juices pumping!

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7/6/18 12:00 PM

4 Steps When Getting Started with a Church Capital Campaign

We do capital campaigns, but those represent only one aspect of successful church strategic planning. There is a whole process to growing your church and getting ready for a big fundraising project. We advocate embracing these 4 strategies when getting started with a church capital campaign.

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6/20/18 5:17 PM

Why You Need 6 Months to Plan An Annual Campaign

We published our new annual campaign kit, Hope Grows Here, last month and we got a few funny looks. Most churches do an annual campaign in the fall, and so it seemed early to be posting materials. But it's not! A well-run, thoughtful campaign will take you 5-6 months at a steady pace (or at least 3 if you're sprinting).

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6/14/18 4:06 PM

7 Tips for Hiring A Church Capital Campaign Consultant

After praying, developing a long-range plan, defining the vision, securing a financial forecast and a master plan, and completing a feasibility study, your church is now ready for a capital campaign. You've looked at how much work it's going to take and agreed you need to bring in a professional for this one. Now the question is, "Who should we hire?"

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5/15/18 2:15 PM

The 7 Steps of Stewardship-based Church Capital Campaign

Not all capital campaigns are created equal. When working in the church, it takes a different approach from the secular world and a spiritual understanding of the effort. As you are getting started with a church capital campaign, follow the steps below and you're on the track to be successful.

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4/3/18 3:20 PM

On Tithing: How Many Churchgoers Tithe?

While I’ve said before that facts are friendly, sometimes they aren’t pretty. When it comes to what percentage of churchgoers tithe (or give at least 10% of their income to charity), the latter definitely applies.

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3/6/18 9:18 AM

What Is Stewardship?

Whenever I hold a workshop, one of the points I often make is that stewardship is not fundraising. Fundraising is asking for a donation, a secular approach, whereas stewardship is the spiritual way. In stewardship, we facilitate the discovery of God’s blessings and the prayerful development of how to share those blessings.

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2/6/18 8:39 AM

How Many People Skip Volunteering?

With the correlation between volunteerism and generosity, Church Development looks at just how many people are offering up their time.

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1/2/18 3:44 PM

Church Giving and the New Tax Law: Your Stewardship Might Take a Hit

The new tax law passed by Congress and signed by the president in December may affect church donations.

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