9 Ways to Reverse a Downward Giving Trend

A positive approach to encourage stewardship and generosity.

Here are some of the steps our church has discovered by trial-and-error ithat have helped us slow down, then reverse, a downward giving trend.

1. Emphasize generosity, not just giving

The Bible is full of great teaching about stewardship and generosity, but we must always remember that God’s Word is not as concerned with our money as with our hearts. Which is why we need to teach more about generosity than giving.

2. Teach stewardship, not just giving

People want to be generous. Church members want to support the church ministries financially. What’s stopping them isn’t a lack of desire, but a lack of ability. They want to give, but they don’t know how to do it without taking an already paper-thin financial margin and breaking it totally.

3. Assume good intentions

We need to start with the assumption that the people who voluntarily show up at church week after week are wanting the church and its ministries to succeed. When I mention our church’s financial needs, I’ll often use a phrase like “this is not about guilting anyone into giving. I’m assuming you’re here because you want to help, so I’m letting you know about one of the ways you can help, if you’re able.”

4. Teach them how the church is funded

As I mentioned in my previous post on this subject, there’s a growing group of people who are so unaware of the realities of church life that they assume the church is financed by an outside entity, and that their donations are just a supplement to that.

5. Practice good stewardship of what is given

People are less likely to donate to a church that isn’t demonstrating good stewardship of what they give. For most churches and pastors, poor stewardship is not a matter of extravagance, but of unseen waste.

6. Hold special giving celebrations

New generations are less likely to give in a steady stream, and more likely to give in single doses. So let’s provide opportunities that match the way they are most likely to give.

Also, when church members see a facility upgrade or hear about a ministry need that was met, they’re more excited to give the next time.

7. Give quarterly updates

People want to give when their gifts can be helpful. Sharing the need before the year ends allows them to do this.

8. Break down the need into doable bites

One year, we came in at $8,000 under our expected income. That seems like a lot of money to make up all at once—and it is. So I broke it down for the congregation this way. At an average attendance of 150 people per Sunday, that $8,000 shortfall could have disappeared if every attender had given just $1 more each week ($150 x 52 = $7,800).

If our church averaged 75 people, it would have meant $2 more per Sunday, and so on. Obviously, not everyone is going to give exactly $1 every week, but when the need is broken down that way, people can see that every little extra thing they do can add up to a significant impact.

9. Do the kinds of ministries people want to fund

Keeping the lights on in the building won’t get anyone excited about giving. Unless they can see a direct connection from keeping the lights on to doing ministry that matters to them. As pastors, we see that direct connection regularly. But the average church attender doesn’t. So we need to make it obvious for them.

This article was adapted from Pivot ‘s “9 Ways To Reverse A Downward Giving Trend In An Otherwise Healthy Church.” Used with permission.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations." Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

ajax-loader-largecaret-downcloseHamburger Menuicon_amazonApple PodcastsBio Iconicon_cards_grid_caretChild Abuse Reporting Laws by State IconChurchSalary Iconicon_facebookGoogle Podcastsicon_instagramLegal Library IconLegal Library Iconicon_linkedinLock IconMegaphone IconOnline Learning IconPodcast IconRecent Legal Developments IconRecommended Reading IconRSS IconSubmiticon_select-arrowSpotify IconAlaska State MapAlabama State MapArkansas State MapArizona State MapCalifornia State MapColorado State MapConnecticut State MapWashington DC State MapDelaware State MapFederal MapFlorida State MapGeorgia State MapHawaii State MapIowa State MapIdaho State MapIllinois State MapIndiana State MapKansas State MapKentucky State MapLouisiana State MapMassachusetts State MapMaryland State MapMaine State MapMichigan State MapMinnesota State MapMissouri State MapMississippi State MapMontana State MapMulti State MapNorth Carolina State MapNorth Dakota State MapNebraska State MapNew Hampshire State MapNew Jersey State MapNew Mexico IconNevada State MapNew York State MapOhio State MapOklahoma State MapOregon State MapPennsylvania State MapRhode Island State MapSouth Carolina State MapSouth Dakota State MapTennessee State MapTexas State MapUtah State MapVirginia State MapVermont State MapWashington State MapWisconsin State MapWest Virginia State MapWyoming State IconShopping Cart IconTax Calendar Iconicon_twitteryoutubepauseplay