How to Motivate Increased Giving Without Begging
Stewardship week. The week that pastors and congregants dread the most throughout the whole year. But alas, a necessary evil. At least that's the way it feels sometimes. If you do NOT look forward to standing up in front of the church and explaining how you need money for basic needs, as well as all the extras everyone wants, you are not alone. If you feel like a beggar on the street or a Salvation Army bell ringer, you've come to the right place.
The good news (no, not THE Good News!) is that there's help available. With a little knowledge and a new plan of attack, you CAN increase the level of parishioner giving without the need to stand at the door, hat in hand.
In order to improve the current state of giving at your church, it's helpful to know some of the statistics about who, when, why, and how people give to charities. The following facts are from Nonprofits Source, a company specializing in digital marketing for nonprofit organizations. They give an insight into the giving patterns of different groups of people.
- 49% of givers use a debit or credit card
- Only 5% of American churchgoers tithe
- 80% of Americans give 2% or less of their income
- Receiving tithes online increases donations up to 32%
- 37% of regular church attendees and Evangelicals give nothing
- The average adult gives $17 per week
- 30% of annual charitable giving happens in December, with 10% in the last three days
By making use of this information, you can start to target your stewardship campaigns to those who give nothing or those who don't tithe.
Not only do you need to know basic statistics about giving, but you also need a little more specific information on the giving habits of people in different age groups. This can help you analyze your own congregation and target each group accordingly. For example, Millennials tend to respond to texts and social media but not emails, whereas Baby Boomers are regular email readers and will respond to emails more than social media requests. Knowledge like this can help you fine-tune your tactics.
What Motivates People to Give
Another thing that you need to know about your congregants is what motivates them to give. If you're going to tap into that 37% of people that give nothing, you have to know what's important to them. Is it missions? Maybe they have a heart for Community Outreach? Do they have children that need kids ministry or daycare? What they probably aren't concerned with is the state of the sanctuary roof or the cracks in the driveway (until they hit a pothole, that is).
These are necessary line items in the church budget, but they aren't too exciting. Let's face it, the most charismatic preacher is going to have a hard time selling the everyday nuts and bolts of the church budget to a congregation.
When you plan your message on giving, focus on the things that your worshippers are passionate about. You can, (and should) tie the ends together by talking about how supporting the local church makes these other programs possible.
Technology is the key to making it easier for people to donate. Donation software and apps simplify the giving process as opposed to giving through the church website, which often requires several steps. According to research, 40-49% of people, across all age groups, are enrolled in a recurring giving program, where money is taken out of their account monthly to support an organization. What would it mean to your bottom line if you could get your tithers to do this? If it's that easy, you can recruit more tithers as well.
Text-to-Give apps are popular with every generation because they can use their smartphone to donate quickly. This means that as their hearts are moved by a testimony or a special need, they can give right away instead of waiting when they might forget. Striking while the iron is hot, so to speak. It's also effective because they don't see the money leaving a bank account immediately, making them more likely to give more.
The Bottom Line
The keys to increased donations are knowledge, proper motivation, and easier giving. If you can master all three of these, you'll be well on your way to a stewardship message you can look forward to.