Sometimes places of worship undertake complex initiatives to spur church giving. I’m sure you’ve heard of these, if not participated in one yourself. Maybe it was the classic giant thermometer that slowly fills with red marker, or perhaps a complex, murky program with a name like The Legacy Project or Foundations For Tomorrow 2018. I remember one church used a baseball theme (“Hitting a Grand Slam?”), complete with pastors showing up in old-timey baseball uniforms.
Some of these may still have a place in 2018, but the truth is church giving doesn’t need to be engineered using complex (and tacky) tactics. There are many surprisingly easy ways to improve church giving. Here are three of them.
1. Build Stronger Relationships with Your Members
The more your members feel connected, the more likely they will be to give. That sounds like a bold assertion, but there is a lot of evidence that suggests this to be the case. One secular study concludes that a sense of connectedness to any social group improves people’s moods. The connection of mood to giving is not hard to see. There are very good reasons why nonprofit fundraisers tend to involve food and drink and other feel-good elements. Schools hold bake sales because people associate baked goods with pleasure and are more apt to (over)pay for cookies than for less interesting stuff.
Someone who walks in to your church, sits down, listens, and leaves, all without any meaningful interaction with other people, is not connected. They aren’t getting that mood boost that comes with feeling connected. And if they don’t feel like a part of the body, they don’t feel the same compunction to give.
There are much more meaningful reasons you likely want to push for connectedness and a sense of community, but consider that giving is also on the list.
2. Teach Kindly What the Scriptures Say About Church Giving
The Scriptures are clear about the importance of generous giving for all believers. But some leaders avoid talking about money, in spite of the focus Scripture has on the topic. There are 2000 verses on the topic of money in the Christian Bible: four times as many as there are on prayer! How many pastors mention money anywhere near as often as they mention prayer?
One reason giving may lag is that people simply don’t know (or don’t remember) the scriptural imperative to give. We at Givelify have heard many success stories from pastors who have started including this message more intentionally each Sunday. It’s true, harping on money in ways that are perceived as annoying or manipulative can negatively affect giving. But teaching kindly what the Scriptures say will do the opposite. Many non-givers will be inspired to give by the message of Scripture.
3. Implement Mobile Giving to Increase Avenues of Giving
Mobile giving might be the easiest of all. For one, it’s surprisingly simple for the place of worship to set up. A good mobile giving solution won’t require specialized knowledge to implement, and it won’t come with crippling ongoing payments. Mobile giving should also be effortless for worship members to use. And making it easier to give tends to positively affect giving levels. We at Givelify typically hear back from pastors that have added Givelify mobile giving that their overall giving has increased at least 20 to 30% (or more depending on the church). The majority of members are comfortable giving this way, and some (especially Millennials and Generation Z) are most comfortable with this method.
So give it some thought: before you decide to embark on another complex, big-ticket fundraising effort, be sure you’ve implemented these three simple ways to increase church giving in your ministry.