Let’s face it, income for a church can be tough. If you’re like most pastors, there’s often a shortage of money at the end of the month.
We can also agree that income for your church is one of those things you have very little control over. Your church is completely dependent on the generosity of the donors and people that call your church home.
So, are we supposed to just throw up our hands in despair?
Absolutely not. Here are five ways to encourage generosity in your church:
1. Make giving and generosity part of your DNA
Churches have a bad rep when it comes to giving. Unfortunately, too many pastors have taken advantage of people and preyed upon the donations of their congregations. We still have churches that preach a false narrative of the prosperity gospel, health and wealth, or “name it and claim it” (none of which can be backed by scripture).
As a pastor, in some cases, you have to overcome past experiences, perceptions or generalizations; but you also need to share that generosity is part of spiritual development.
To encourage generosity in your ministry, you need to make giving part of your DNA. Preach about it regularly, talk about it openly and candidly, let people know that to be part of the church is to be part of a movement of generosity.
When people see that the church is genuine, that it is a good steward, and that things are happening as a result of people being generous with their giving, a snowball effect will occur, and people will be more likely to get onboard.
2. Share stories about what can be done when the church is funded to do ministry
One way to get that snowball moving is to tell stories about what the church has been able to do because people were generous. Use real stories, from real people.
My Giving = Ministry Happening
Now, you don’t have to share specific numbers or tell people how much people were giving, but explain how ministry was able to get done because of the generosity of others.
Share stories about tangible life change that occurred that was only possible because the church had the resources available. Share about how many salvations, baptisms, marriages saved, etc. that were possible from your church. People need to equate that My Giving = Ministry Happening!
This may also include sharing a story of how someone’s finances were impacted when they started to give. Now, you must be careful here because you don’t want to give the impression to someone that their results will be the same just because of giving, but God has made it clear that he will bless faithfulness.
3. Make the giving process simple and easy
This step is more practical. If you’re not accepting electronic giving, you need to get that set up today.
Many studies show that giving increases when online giving options are available and, let’s face it, most people don’t carry cash or their check book regularly.
Did you know that we have a church online giving system called SimplifyGive? The name explains it all – a simple way to give to your church. We support online giving via Debit, Credit and ACH, along with giving through web forms and text messages.
Studies show that giving in churches that have online options increases by more than 30%.
If you’re reaching a younger demographic (40 and under), you need to have electronic options available for people to be generous.
Bonus Tip: when you have your offering time in your service, make sure to communicate that you have online giving available, and put the links up on the screen or make them available in the bulletin or worship guide. There will be people that pass the plate without putting anything in and that will be seen by others. If you call it out and say, “You’ll see some people not putting anything in the plate. That’s because they probably gave online, and we welcome you to do the same”
That simple, non-invasive statement will go a long way to encourage giving.
4. Show your gratefulness for the generosity of you donors
It’s one thing to be thankful, and another to demonstrate it. Of course you can say you’re thankful. But until you actually show someone your thankful for their generosity, it doesn’t matter.
When was the last time you sent a thank you letter to a first-time donor?
A simple letter or even email of gratitude to a first-time donor will go a long way.
When you send out your donor statements, include a pastor’s letter with it to share your thankfulness, and also use that as an opportunity to share what was able to be done in that time period, because of generosity.
Bonus Tip: Consider sending out semi-annual donor statements or even quarterly statements with a pastor’s letter. With the SimplifyChurch Bookkeeping Portal, this process is simple and only takes a few minutes.
When it comes to generosity, you can’t talk enough or make people aware enough about how thankful you are AND what their generosity does for the ministry.
5. Cast a big vision and show your confidence in how you’ll get there
Until you share the vision, people won’t know where you’re going.
People will follow confident leadership and will “buy in” to a vision they can believe in. Everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves, and you can use that opportunity to bring people along.
Sometimes that vision will seem out of reach. And to be honest it should be.
Your job as pastor and leader is to cast a big vision, but then through leadership and direction, show people how that vision can be accomplished, and what part each person needs to play.
What does this mean, practically? Let’s say you have a church that averages 100 people in attendance and a budget of $200,000 per year. Going into the next year, you know God is going to do some big things, and you want to project a budget of $230,000 for the next year. That’s a 15% increase, which in church world is a pretty big jump.
When you share the vision for the upcoming budget year, share the number. Acknowledge that it’s a bold step of faith and will take God’s provision to accomplish. Then break it down to show what that number means for each person in the church.
A $30,000 increase in budget, is about $2,500/month. You may then mention that average churches only have about 20% of their active attendees as givers, which equates to an increase of $125/month for each giving unit. $2,500/(100 * 20%)
From there, use this as an opportunity to share how each person can get involved. Maybe project out and encourage people that aren’t current givers to consider giving $125/month.
Show them what this would like like if the number of givers increased by 10%. Let’s say instead of 20 people, there were now 30 people giving, and all of them committed to start at or increase to $125. Do you realize that would mean your annual budget would actually increase to be closer to $250,000! That’s even more than you projected, and it really wasn’t that difficult. $125 * 30 ppl = $3,750/month! That’s $15,000 more per year than you set as your dream goal.
These five keys will greatly increase generosity in your church. While it may sound simple, these five keys are just the start. Encouraging generosity isn’t something you complete overnight, especially if the first key of making generosity part of your DNA isn’t happening. That shift needs to start and happen over a consistent time period. Once people see you’re committed to making it happen, they’ll jump onboard as well.
Have you set up online giving for your church yet?
Even if you have a current online giving provider, you need to check out SimplifyGive.com. Our transaction rates are the most competitive and we give you everything for no monthly fee. No strings attached, no contracts, no hassle. We’re just here to serve.
P.S. We even give you text-to-give at no additional charge! Get Started With Online Giving Today!