When You Look at the Numbers in Context
Monday it was announced by Kevin Ezell that the 2018 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering was the largest in it’s history. While it is true that it is the largest dollar amount, it is not the largest dollar value when you put it into context.
The original intent was to not write about the AAEO at this time. Celebrating a big number is normal and is great for PR and morale. However, some have declared the result of the AAEO a referendum on NAMB’s success and NAMB’s leadership. That is intellectually dishonest and devoid of analysis or context. Here is why:
Technically this was not the largest Annie Armstrong Offering when looking at the numbers in context.
When calculating in inflation 2018 ranks 15th in giving over the last 20 year
In reality, we are giving less today than we were in 2009 and the years prior when you examine the dollar values.
Breaking the record happens often (at least in the past).
Out of the last 25 years we have broken the record 14 times. 12 of those were prior to 2010.
1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2017, and 2018
Today we raise less money per fund-raising dollar spent than we did a decade ago.
In 2007 we raised $216.27 per $1 spent on fund-raising.
In 2017 we raised $29.78 per $1 spent on fund-raising.
That is a 726.16% reduction in effectiveness of fund-raising money spent.
This brings up a serious question about NAMB: Why is our fund-raising drastically less effective?
Despite the Recession, USA charitable giving increased every year after 2009.
The AAEO fell 3 times since 2009 and lagged behind in growth compared to national giving every year except for 2016.
The AAEO has fallen at other points as well, although not as frequently as the past decade. If we care about the reality of the AAEO, discussions need to be had around why we have been consistently lagging behind the national giving growth.
Fund-raising is NOT what measures success.
When we get down to it is not our fund-raising performance that really matters, it is our performance in the field. If “money received” won championships, the Dallas Cowboys would have won the Super Bowl for the past 30 years.
We should be evaluating our organizational strategies, leadership, and actions according to field performance, not dollars received.
We may have brought in “record highs” for Annie Armstrong, but our church planting and baptisms are at record lows.
Read more about the 40 year and 70 year lows for Church Planting and Baptisms