By Ryan Nelson
Many churches count on a strong fourth quarter to compensate for decreased giving throughout the year. That’s not a bad thing.
But what if the stakes were lower, because giving was higher—and more consistent—all year? (It would definitely make it easier to create a church budget!)
Sure, some variation in giving is inevitable. But when you let your congregation tithe online, it opens the door to a world where your church doesn’t have to worry about seasonal highs and lows.
1. LIVE STREAM YOUR SERVICE
Online giving lets people give anytime, anywhere. But during your service is still the time when people are most accustomed to giving because churches have been passing the plate for decades.
Your church puts a lot of thought into how and when to ask your congregation to give, and weekend services are probably the time you put the most effort into contextualizing giving.
Just because someone can’t physically be there when your church collects the offering doesn’t mean they can’t participate in giving.
Live streaming lets your congregation worship together wherever they have Internet access—and as long as you have online giving, they can “put something in the plate,” too.
Think about it: If you can’t ask people to give, they’re a lot less likely to do it. Online giving plus live streaming means being out of town is no longer a barrier to participation.
2. USE PUSH NOTIFICATIONS
Church apps give you access to a powerful new communication channel: push notifications. Push notifications let you send messages that display on someone’s phone, even when the app isn’t open.
As long as the app is on their phone, you can send them notifications during the summer months reminding them to give or encouraging them to support specific funds throughout the year.
Or you could highlight devotionals and other resources that talk about the importance of generosity.
People have their phones on them all the time. And they’re already used to receiving notifications from the apps they know and love.
You certainly don’t want to overuse push notifications, but there are certainly ways your church can use them to reach your goals.
3. PROMOTE RECURRING GIVING
When people go on vacation, they still pay their mortgage on time. And they’re not going to skip a phone bill because they weren’t home. Why should giving be any different?
Recurring giving lets your members give the same way they make any other regular transaction.
They can decide how much they want to give, then have it happen automatically every month.
They can schedule their donation to occur at the same time as they pay their bills, or the day they receive their paycheck—whenever is most convenient for them.
And, since it happens automatically, they’ll never miss a donation, even when vacation takes them out of the country.
Any time you talk about giving, you should be telling your congregation about the best way to give.
Recurring giving makes it easier for your church to budget because it makes your income more consistent, and it means your congregation has fewer obstacles to trusting God with their finances.
Pushpay makes it easy to promote recurring giving—in fact, we encourage it every time one of your members give online. The very first time someone gives, they’ll see a box that asks if this is a recurring gift, and it’s checked by default.
MAKE GIVING CONSISTENT
What if you didn’t have a summer slump this year? Or if giving increased steadily throughout the year, so that you didn’t have to rely on “giving season” to meet your financial goals?
When you tap into the potential of online giving, your church doesn’t have to tighten your belts with the changing of seasons.
You can help families fully participate in your service when they’re out of town. You can make giving happen automatically.
And, you can communicate with your congregation in intuitive new ways.
Recurring giving is the pillar of strong, sustainable church budgets, even in the thick of the summer slump. But it can be hard to grow.
Discover how ministries can encourage recurring donations before the summer slump hits without having to talk about it every weekend.
Ryan Nelson has been a volunteer youth leader with Young Life for nearly a decade. He writes in the Pacific Northwest, where he lives with his wife and twin boys.
This article is courtesy of Pushpay, which has grown to be a full mobile giving and engagement solution that serves over 7,000 churches around the world, connecting them to the local community and simply inspiring generosity, www.pushpay.com.