The giving pattern of recurring givers signals a deep commitment to your church's mission and is vital to the stability of any church. So how do you encourage first-time givers to give again and ultimately become consistent in their generosity?
First, you have to earn it. I touched on that topic in an earlier blog post. Second, you must make it easy! I'll cover that here.
One type of online giving that is arguably the most valuable is recurring gifts. This is an automated function that takes place at intervals defined by the giver. The best part is that recurring gifts happen whether or not the member is present for the weekend experience. Churches who see an increase in recurring gifts are able to achieve a more sustainable level of revenue throughout the year instead of a series of peaks and valleys.
Here are a few concepts that will help you increase recurring gifts in your church.
- Make it easy to set up
Just for fun, I have tried setting up a ‘giving account’ on a variety of church websites. In some instances, it has taken me up to 15 minutes to make this happen. Talk about a friction point! If you make it that hard for people to support your church, don't be surprised when very few do it. If it takes more than five minutes to give online, you should consider some new tools!
One way to turn one-time gifts into recurring gifts is to ask givers to sign up. It's amazing what people are willing to do if we just have the courage to ask. Do this through multiple communication mediums regularly utilized within your community, such as Sunday services, bulletins, e-newsletters, blogs, social media, etc. Another option is to simply place a prominent button on the member login screen of your church management system. You can do that, right? People should be able to update their contact information, volunteer, interact with their small group, and give all through the same system.
- Make use of the seasons
Whether it is summer or Christmas, make a push to sign up for recurring gifts during the holiday seasons. Not only do people tend to think more about their generosity during the holidays, many people travel during this time, too. Let them know that they can continue to support your ministry — even when they are out of town.
- Show people how it works
Show people a quick demonstration of how to sign up for recurring gifts. Many of those who are wary of online giving will feel more comfortable about the process if you create a brief (three minutes or less) video that shows them how to do it. Post it within the giving page on your website. Consider sharing it during your new members class. Some churches even create a ‘support desk’ in the lobby which provides live support to those who need additional help or instruction. It's a great time to talk about shared values and gives people an easy way to be faithful in their giving.
- Introduce the option to new givers
Implement a process of follow-up with your first-time givers. Build the relationship. Invest in these people. Do not let them fall through the cracks. In your messaging, make them aware of the ability to establish recurring gifts to continue to support your ministry on a regular basis.
I am a huge fan of recurring givers and believe it should be the goal of every church to develop more of them every year. Churches that do this effectively are typically far from financial pain. For more tips on how to effectively increase your recurring donations, check out this free online giving case study from our team at Church Community Builder.
How does your church effectively inspire recurring gifts? How has it impacted your overall giving?