This article on ‘How To Increase Church Giving’ is a guest post by Andrew Evans, founder of the not-for-profit group Church Fundraising, which exists to help churches and Christian ministries improve their income.
The impact of Covid-19 on church giving is, as yet, not clear. But a combination of people not meeting together and the economic implications of the lockdown for many people’s jobs and finances mean it is unlikely to be positive!
But church leaders don’t need to panic. There are some practical steps you can take to increase church giving, primarily by making it easier for people to give.
Although there’s an image in some parts of society, and the church, that all churches ever do is ask people for money, in my experience the truth is the opposite. In every survey ever done of charitable giving, over many years and in many countries, the number one reason why people give is that they are asked. Churches are, generally, terrible at asking people to give. We mumble something apologetic before the offering or have a discreet (in practice invisible!) box hidden at the back of the church somewhere. Why would we be surprised if people don’t respond? Here are some simple steps you can take to increase your church giving.
The first key to increase your church giving is to make sure you ask your people to give. There are many ways you can do this:
- Cover giving in sermons
- Ask them in handouts
- Send people a handwritten note
- Ask face-to-face
The likelihood is that you will feel you’re doing much too much asking way, way before you actually are.
2. Connect To The Vision
The second key to increase your church giving is to make sure you are asking people to give to the vision. About 80% of the time, appeals leaders make to their members and regulars run along the line of “we have to get another X amount a month so we can meet our budget.” For many who hear that kind of appeal, the natural question is “why do I care about your budget?”
Whether your current financial situation is encouraging, stable or concerning, there is only one really compelling reason for people to give: they believe in what you want to do with the money. Every time you are asking people to give money to the church you need to tell them what you’re going to do with the money: engage in a community project, reach refugees, train and equip people, counsel those in need, or many other possibilities.
How we communicate our vision is important too. There is a world of difference between saying “we’re going to employ a children’s worker” and “we’re going to provide much better pastoral care and resources for children”. One is informational yet uninspirational; the other can motivate people to get behind the results they can now picture.
3. Make It Simple
Finally, you need to make the practicalities as easy as possible. Covid-19 has hugely changed the way people pay for things. Some simple ideas include:
- Setup mobile giving through SMS/text messaging. The majority of people always carry their smartphones with them. Make it easy for people to use them to give.
- Similarly, using an online giving platform like Just Giving enables people to give simply from their phones – and automates their tax-free giving saving your finance team loads of work.
- Why not introduce a contactless card station as a modern ‘donation box’ in your church so people can use their debit cards to quickly give?
- How about switching from terrible old fashioned Standing Orders to the more modern Direct Debits, which people increase each year with inflation?
It is straightforward enough to take steps to increase church giving. Start by asking, connecting your appeals to the vision, and making it simple. You might be surprised by the results!
Andrew Evans has worked in fundraising for over 20 years but has also been a church planter and pastor. He has experience in growing giving in churches, legacies, grants, capital funding for building projects, funding church planting, and enabling community outreach projects. You can contact him at email@example.com.