By Kira Mudge
Sixty-five percent of Americans contribute to charitable organizations, yet church contributions are on the decline. People are giving; they just aren’t giving to you. Why?
Why is it only 20 percent church attendees are contributing financially to the church? That’s only 1 out of 5 families. This is alarming. But what’s even more alarming is that of the 20 percent contributing anything, only 3 percent are giving something in relation to their income (say 10 percent).
Why? Why is it 97 percent of church attendees are giving more to the cable company than the mission of God? Giving is a biblical teaching. Why are so many missing the lesson? Could the answer simply be that we aren’t effectively communicating it?
Instead of passing buckets to maintain momentum, we need to engage with the spirit and start growing generosity in our members. People cannot get excited about paying the electric bill. We need to show them their funds matter for more. We need to show them they are partnering alongside us in God’s mission. We need to inspire them to participate with us. We need to talk about giving. And, then we need to make it easy for them to join.
The key to developing a culture of generosity lays within inspiration, and the key to communicating inspiration lays within technology.
So, how do we inspire our people to give while engaging with technology? Easy.
There are many online donation options available to ease the use of fund transfers for your congregation, but don’t just incorporate a digital bucket. When looking for a donation platform, look for a system that will help you fully engage and build a culture of generosity among your people.
People are intrinsically designed by God with the desire for community and belonging. They long to be part of something bigger themselves. You just need to provide the platform.
Inspire by Making an Impact
Inspire your congregation by showing them the impact the church is having on the community. If your church is barely breaking even, and all your funds go to running the show, challenge yourself to give some away anyway. We are called to give. We are asking our people to give.
If you want your people to engage in a recklessly generous fashion, lead them. Find a local cause you can impact and bless them, serve them, give to them, and then tell your church about it. Better yet, show them. People are emotionally driven. If they can see the impact of their gift, they will be inspired to give more.
When looking for a giving platform, seek one that allows you to communicate with your members. Find a tool that provides a communication avenue to share stories and inspiration. Giving should be celebrated and seen. Generosity is contagious, and it needs to start with the leadership of your church. You cannot out give God. Practice generosity, and you will not have to preach it.
Providing an avenue to engage with and inspire the 20 percent currently giving is essential, but what is more significant is finding a way to engage with those members attending and not contributing at all.
But first, we need to address why 80 percent are not contributing financially. Certainly, there are a variety of reasons. Some in our culture live outside their means and are strapped to keep up with their spending. Some may feel the church does not need their money, as things seem to operate smoothly without their contribution. Still others may have experienced a misappropriation of funds when it comes to the church and are therefore leery and untrustworthy. Whatever the reason, it can be addressed and overcome with intention and inspiration.
This is too large a donor pool to remain sitting in front of us, untapped. We need to provide a way to reach them where they are and subtly include them among the giving.
Provide a Way to Practice
People need to be met where they are in their giving journey and slowly taught, inspired and grown in generosity. It is our job as leaders to incorporate these environments and encounters for our people.
This may be the most prevalent point and the place where technology can cultivate growth where no other means are available.
When choosing a giving platform, find an option that allows you to engage new givers and inspire them to start their contribution journey in a way that is easy and fun.
Find a giving platform with a round up feature. The round up is a non-threatening ask for those new to giving, and it does not require a large financial commitment to start. The round up feature allows users to turn spending moments into giving moments by rounding purchase amounts up to the nearest dollar and donating the difference. Since the giving amount is lowered to pocket change, it is easy for the first-time or cash-strapped giver to engage, and it is easy for the current giver to add in their already established giving.
Providing a way for non-givers to become givers is an obvious goal in using a round up option, but the potential inspiration that occurs when your congregation engages in something together is what’s important. If you collect the round up money and then choose to give it away, you will see amazing stories of benevolence inspire your congregation. When everyone contributes a little, it turns into a lot of extra funding for your cause. You will show your people just how much their funds are needed, and, at the same time, you will help those struggling with their mistrust in donating to the church.
Remember, these are funds you weren’t previously receiving, so donating them and cultivating generosity growth really makes sense. Generosity is contagious! When people start feeling and seeing the impact they are making, they will give more. They will move from sole round up user to recurring donor to engaged mission-focused giver.
Allow for Life to Happen
After we have inspired and encouraged our congregation, we still need to provide them with an avenue to maintain their giving regularly or the decline in church giving will not subside. We live in an over-scheduled world. A regular church attendee only makes it to service 1.7 times a month, and if you aren’t there, it’s hard to donate. Even if we intend to “double contribute” the following week, we seldom remember to do so. If we are reliant on filling buckets with paper as our only form of contribution collection, a continued decline is inevitable.
Luckily, the solution for combating intentions and attendance is a simple one.
Online and mobile donation collection platforms make creating and regulating giving easy. With mobile giving, people can donate anytime from anywhere; church attendance is no longer required for contribution. When choosing a donation platform, be sure to choose one that allows members to set up recurring gifts.
Churches who engage in a mobile giving platform generally increase their giving by 34 percent simply by adding the mobile feature. This is accomplished by allowing givers to set up regular and recurring gifts and allowing the donors to give when paid. Giving shouldn’t just be available on Sunday; it should be available when funds are available.
With mobile giving, giving happens every day of the month and at all different times of the day. Make sure the giving platform you choose allows gifts to be set up weekly, biweekly, and monthly. By simply decreasing the variables in giving, intentions to give become reality in giving.
There are many giving platforms available to help you engage your congregation and move them into the technological age. But when choosing a platform, make sure you find one that not only provides multiple options to engage givers where they are in giving, but also provides a platform for you to grow your congregation and inspire them in their generosity journey.
This information is courtesy of Gyve.io, an online and mobile giving platform that focuses on growing individuals as givers and helping churches build a culture of generosity, www.gyve.io.