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Collect change for change

SUMMARY: Doing more with less is the motto for more people everyday. What if your congregation could do more with their pocket change?

As charitable organizations find donations dropping and the need for their services greater than ever, now is a perfect time to show every little bit helps and everybody can make the change they want to see in the world.

Starting a "Change for Change" campaign is a perfect way to "Rethink Church" so more people see your church as an action verb in your community.

Plan for change.
Get a group of three to five people interested in planning and promoting a project that encourages participants to think about how to make a difference with their change. Solicit ideas on what to do and how to market it to your congregation and community. Suggest families spend just $10 to make an impact. However, do not mandate the amount; that may intimidate families who are struggling. Make sure also to talk about participating with a handful of coins or a few dollars.

Start with yourself.
Kick off the campaign with an example or two of how you used your change to make a difference. Perhaps you took $10, bought bus tickets and donated them to the local hospital so low-income parents could take their children for vaccination appointments. Maybe you paid the bill for the person behind you in the drive-through line with the hope he or she will pay it forward. If you worked with an organization, share the details (address, phone number, Web site) so others can make a similar difference. Start small. Be creative.

Compete for change.
Start a competition in your church. Everyone wins because everybody makes a difference. Brainstorm award ideas-perhaps biggest impact with $10, the most creative idea or the most inspiring. Give everyone a chance to win. It is not about what is in their pockets, but what is in their hearts and minds.

Write about it.
Create a blog accessible from your church's Web site or start a column in your church bulletin. Use the blog or column to tell the stories of your congregation members and others who participate in the campaign. By sharing their experiences, you will inspire others and offer an interactive opportunity. Ask your readers to help pick the competition winners. If you're not familiar with blogging, read this article from a previous issue.

Open mouths wide.
Ask congregation members to talk about the campaign with their friends, co-workers and families. Create a flier with information on how to participate, complete with your Web site, which has the details. Honor all participants who wish to be recognized by listing them on your Web site and in your other communications vehicles.

Brand the campaign.
Connect the campaign to your church by giving it a proper name and tagline (and possibly a logo if a member has artistic talent). It could be "Change for Change, an Effort Begun by City United Methodist Church." Print inexpensive stickers (simply use labels from an office-supply store) with your campaign branding and Web-site link. Put the stickers on every envelope mailed from your congregation. Share the stickers (or at least the formatted file) with interested participants.

Involve everyone.
Start young. Children sometimes can be the most creative. Perhaps have a children's campaign with recognition for various age categories. One mother said she requires her children (ages 6 and 9) to learn about an organization or cause before they can donate to it. That way they know what a difference their money can make and how they can help other people.

Tell the media.
Find a local newspaper columnist, a blogger or a broadcast anchor who can champion your cause. Your community needs positive news, and your "Change for Change" campaign can fill that need. Don't just say they need to write or talk about the campaign. Tell the stories-the ongoing results from your campaign-so you can show them the differences being made by your church's "Change for Change."

Share inspiring resources.
Rethink Church offers a wealth of resources that relate well with a "Change for Change" campaign. This link connects to all Rethink Church resources. Share them with your congregation and post related tips and articles, such as this one on Random Acts of Kindness, on your Web site and electronic newsletters.