Unemployment is down. The stock market has been on a tear. Overall charitable giving is on the rise in every sector except for churches. So what is missing? Cultivating generosity within the body of Christ is critical for church health. Unfortunately, many churches are still struggling to increase giving even as the economy recovers.
Many church leaders have turned to technology tools like mobile and text-based giving as a solution for increasing generosity. Others go a step further by launching a five-week sermon series on financial stewardship. Those are great ideas, and can definitely make an impact ... for a little while. However, developing sustainable generosity required more than simply offering new methods of giving and inspiring church members with Biblical truth.
Tools and inspiration are only half of the equation
Nothing that lasts is ever easy to build. If you want more than a ‘quick fix’ for generosity in your church, consider implementing these five strategies.
- Go beyond 'offering' other giving options. More than simply offering a variety of giving methods, leverage the tools and technology behind them to identify and connect with your givers, especially the new ones. Cultivating those relationships early on will impact future giving.
- Measure giving on a macro and micro level. We should know not only how church-wide giving is trending year over year but also who the regular givers are — and when someone abruptly stops giving. Giving is a good indicator of spiritual growth. If a church member suddenly stops giving or decreases their giving dramatically, it could be a sign of financial hardship or an early warning sign they might be disengaging with your church.
- Leverage technology to increase generosity by balancing intuition and information. Church leaders who lean too heavily on intuition risk leading their church down a dangerous financial path. Church leaders who lean too heavily on information sometimes fail to act. Use your church management system to provide balance to both perspectives.
- Develop a culture of transformational generosity in your church. This means making the offering a meaningful part of the service, telling stories about ministry that has been made possible through people’s generosity, and allowing people to give the same way they manage the rest of their finances.
- Commit to properly manage your givers just as much as their money. So many churches don’t recognize church members as donors. When it comes to cultivating donor relationships, we should be doing as well as if not better than the nonprofit down the street. What could be accomplished if we engaged our members to give more?
To learn more about increasing generosity at your church, download the free resource NextGen Generosity.
What process does your church have in place right now to cultivate relationships with givers?