When I think of Summer, I think about the kids being out of school, warm weather, more daylight to get things done (or have fun), hiking, hanging out with friends by the pool, lake, or ocean, and vacation. But, as the overseer of the finances of a church, I also think about how all those factors bring about inconsistent church attendance, and that typically leads to irregular giving. The reality is that people will go on vacation and plan fun events that happen on Saturday night and Sunday morning, and that’s okay. We all need a break from time to time. In the early years of my ministry career, I wondered if there were ways to mitigate the financial impact of Summer on the church. Since those early days, technology has presented some excellent solutions to take some of the financial stings out of the Summer months. Here are a couple of strategies I have found to be successful.
Offer and Encourage Digital Giving
A recent study by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy revealed that only half of the congregations in the study received donations during the service via a digital format like text-to-give, online, or via an app. And on average, congregations only receive 22% of their giving digitally. There is no reason to make it hard for people to give to your church. The good news is that there are plenty of safe, reputable, and affordable options available to churches. A quick Google search shows options like PushPay, Tithe.ly, and Secure Give, to name a few that are church-centric organizations that can help set up digital giving for your church. We live in a digital age, with many churchgoers still watching online. Offering online donation options is no longer exclusively for large churches with extravagant budgets. I recommend using experienced professionals like the companies mentioned above to build a church app with tools to help the church give is commonplace and affordable. To help offset the Summer giving slump, offer digital options and make it easy for your church members to donate, even when not on the church campus.
Recurring Giving Promotes Financial Stability
According to the same survey, roughly half of churches offer a recurring donation option through their online or digital platform. Here’s the really good news, donations are higher among churches that provide recurring giving options than churches that do not offer any digital giving options. Two reasons for this come to mind. The first is that it’s easy. The donor simply clicks a button to make the donation repeat on a regular basis. Establishing recurring donations creates a more consistent financial relationship between the giver and their church. Even if the donor is on vacation, the church receives their repeating gift without the donor ever stepping foot on the church campus. Second, it demonstrates to the congregation that the church is culturally aware of how financial transactions happen in today’s world. It shows the adoption of technology that is attractive to people. An easy way to increase giving during the Summer months is to get people to keep giving even when they are not on campus, and recurring giving solves that problem.
My guess is that your church no longer reads the scripture from parchment or shuns using audio systems. The point is that as technology becomes available, the church needs to adapt and adopt it. Technology is not the enemy, it’s a tool. It may be just the solution to help beat the Summer giving slump.