By Morgan Mudge
A key takeaway from COVID-19 showed us the value of online giving. Without online giving, your church might not have survived. You are not alone.
As a result of COVID-19, online giving exploded in use. Consider these facts the accounting firm CapinCrouse discovered in a survey of churches in early 2020.
- 90% of churches have seen an increase in online giving.
- 53% of churches that saw an online giving increase saw it increase by over 20%.
Yet, while having an online platform, many churches fail to use that platform properly in our experience. As we move into the future, it is apparent that online giving will continue to be the primary source of nearly all your ministry funding. As a result of this, every church needs to follow the basics of a digital giving strategy.
My friend Mark Brooks has a saying, “If you don’t have a plan, you are planning on failure.”
One of the biggest mistakes churches make with their digital giving strategy is a lack of any coordinated plan of action.
Most churches frankly emphasize increasing giving or givers without a thought to developing generous members. That kind of strategy results in perhaps a one-time large offering, but what about the other 51 weeks of the year?
Developing a strategy for each of the following groups builds out long-term success for your church.
The Rookie Giver
The Rookie Giver is a first-time or sporadic giver. The Rookie attends service but has not yet partnered financially with the mission of the local church. The Rookie may drop cash in the bucket if it is on hand, but they do not have a pre-planned action for giving.
How can you encourage someone to become a first-time giver?
- Share how you decided to give for the first time. Testimonies are a powerful way of encouraging others to start on the path of generosity.
- Challenge them to set aside a little money to give the next time they attend.
- Encourage them to pray about giving to the church.
- Talk about generosity in small groups and from the stage.
The Relative Giver
The Relative Giver decides to give based on how they spend money in other areas of their life. They note their monthly expenses (cable bill, new clothes, car payments, etc.) and reflect on whether their spending aligns with their giving. The Relative Giver sees the Church’s vision, has intentions to contribute and includes giving as a consistent part of their budget.
How can you encourage someone to become a recurring giver?
- Encourage them to pick a percentage of their income to begin giving each week or each month.
- Have them incorporate giving into their monthly budget.
- Coach daily encounters with God and weekly attendance at services.
The Relational Giver
The Relational Giver not only sees the vision of the church, but they also are fully bought-in on the mission. They view giving in proportion with spending and have shifted their perspective to categorize giving as an essential part of their life.
The Relational Giver regularly gives in line with their income, often practicing the biblical stewardship of tithing, offering 10% of income to the local church.
How can you encourage someone to become a relational giver?
- Change their ACH transfer through their bank or the church online generosity app to a recurring giving amount to more than they regularly pay to one of their recurring monthly expenses.
- Challenge people not to give from their excess, but rather be generous with what God has given them.
The Radical Giver
The Radical Giver is a driven giver. Their emphasis is not so much on what God is asking them to give but on what God is asking them to keep.
A Radical Giver has completely revamped their frame of mind when it comes to living generously. They give from a true passion or calling and dictate their spending and lifestyle around giving, not the typical reverse perspective.
How can you challenge someone to become a radical giver? Spend time helping someone think through these questions:
- Do your long-term spending decisions reflect more focus on how God is calling you to serve Him or do they focus more on your own comfort?
- How is God challenging you to change your plans or expectations to commit more fully to Him?
- How could living a “simplified” lifestyle allow you to be more generous?
- Are you adjusting your lifestyle to follow biblical principles (devotion to God, family, community, and mission), or are you adjusting biblical principles to fit your lifestyle?
- After reaching 10% (tithe), can you add one percent to your generosity percentage each year?
While the above are ideas that need more fully developed, they will provide you with some direction on implementing a plan of action that fits your culture and context. The point is that unless you take action to address generosity, it is unlikely that you will see much of a giving increase.
With the Right Plan of Action, you can see a giving increase. With The Right Strategy, moving people up the generosity ladder, you will help your members provide spiritual food for a world that desperately needs the Gospel message.
Morgan Mudge is vice president and general manager at Gyve, an engagement platform that stewards relationships and releases resources for Kingdom impact, www.gyve.com.