When we made the switch to our new system for the carwash this year, there was lots of talk about how much money we’ll raise. In the past, we’ve called the congregation for donations, then supplemented those donations with “free-will” offerings at the “free” carwash. We also sold drinks/hot dogs. It all seemed somehow … not right. We weren’t sending the best message we could to the community, our youth or the congregation.
I like Data. Seth Godin wrote about the importance of data yesterday in the context of marketing. He argues there are 5 pieces to marketing, and the two foundation blocks are data and stories. For two years now, I’ve been tracking the data of the carwash. Here’s the breakdown of what we made in 2007:
- $1,560 in collected pledges from members
- $475 donation from Thrivent. (Thanks for all you do for us Thrivent, especially our local congregation reps!)
- $384 from food sales and “free-will” offerings.
- TOTAL: $2,419
The data said we were risking about $384 to try something new.
Now for the story. As of Saturday at the Carwash, we were at roughly $1,800 in donations. There was some anxiety when we shared the amount donated to that point with the youth. I’m sure some were thinking we should re-think this whole “no donations” thing at the carwash. Jaime and I didn’t put in a donation for the carwash yet, so we were talking about what to give. We decided on an amount on Monday. I went to the office on Tuesday to see the Teller’s report. I add up the numbers, add in our donation, and guess where we end up?
Seriously. And to the best of my knowledge, that’s all donations from members, no matching funds from Thrivent. That’s a 55.2% increase in giving from the congregation. Our “data” was better than last year, plus we added a pretty cool story and built a better connection between our youth and the congregation, not to mention the impact we made on those that came to the carwash.
It seems like maybe we made the right decision this year. And maybe God really means what He says.
And now, some fine work from Paul: