Giving is often a difficult topic for pastors to discuss with their congregations. The common worry is that no one likes to be told how to use their money. But donations are vital to keep the local church running effectively.
The Barna Group shares that only 5 percent of the United States population tithe (a “tithe” is defined as giving 10 percent of an annual income to a church or non-profit organization). In fact, most Christians today give an average of 2.5 percent of their salary to the church or to a non-profit organization, and today’s giving amount is significantly down from a 3.3 percent average that was given by Christians during the Great Depression (according to Church Leaders).
In addition to this lower average, many churches also experience a lull in giving during the summer months—congregants go on vacation and don’t donate money while they’re away, or they sometimes neglect to give during the summer in order to save for other activities.
Now that it’s summer, your church has to face two realities: that the year is about halfway over and that summer has arrived. This combination of facts may give you some anxiety when you take a look at your church budget.
Here are five tips your church can use to combat low seasons of giving:
- Set up online giving for your church. Online giving helps keep donations consistent throughout the year, because even if church members miss a Sunday, they can still give online.
- Teach people how to give. To some pastors, giving might seem intuitive—but not all members of your church know how to give or why they should give, so it’s critical to teach them.
- Highlight unmet needs. If your church is doing a building project or sponsoring a missionary, you may want to highlight these specific, unmet needs to your congregation in creative ways. You could put an insert in the bulletin, send out information by snail mail, or have a fundraising event at your church, but however you decide to get the word out, it’s important to let your congregation know about specific needs they can help meet.
- Keep a practical budget. Because giving may go down during the summer, be sure to set up a clear church budget with realistic expectations on giving and spending.
- Say thank you. Never forget to say thank you to those who give. Highlight how donations are being used in your church and thank your donors. People love to see the difference their money is making in the world around them.
These five tips can help increase giving in your church not only when donations are down, but throughout the year, as well.