Generosity

8 Ways to Break Out of a Summer Giving Slump

Generosity

8 Ways to Break Out of a Summer Giving Slump

The summer is a nerve-racking time for many pastors.

If you’ve been pastoring for more than a year, you may have experienced a significant dip in attendance and giving in your church, which makes sense.

Between families going on vacation, sporting events on Sundays, and parties and barbecues, there are a ton of good things going on during the summer that can distract the members of your church from regular attendance.

A decline in attendance during the summer usually leads to a dip in giving.

It’s natural to forget about giving when you’re not in a worship service, and it’s not like we’re thinking about tithing when we’re laying out on a beach or splashing around in a pool.

While the members of your church are on vacation and enjoying summer activities, the life of your church goes on. It’s not like you can close your doors for a few months and forget about life for a while.

You still have ministries to fund.

You still have bills to pay.

You still have salaries to provide.

The summer months can be demoralizing and kill your church’s momentum.

But here’s the deal: You don’t have to be a victim of a summer giving slump.

The life of your church can go on.

You can continue to reach out to your community.

You can continue to preach the gospel.

You can continue to participate in God’s work in your community.

In this post, I’m going to walk you through eight ways you can overcome the summer giving slump. Here’s what we’re going to talk about:

  • Make a plan
  • Promote online and mobile giving
  • Trumpet recurring giving
  • Engage your congregation on the go
  • Plan summer activities
  • Share stories of changed lives
  • Save for a summer slump
  • Support your community

The summer is approaching fast, so let’s get started.

#1. Make a plan

Do you expect to see a decrease in attendance and giving this summer? If so, you’re not alone.

This summer, there are two different ways you can prepare.

First, you can stick your head in the sand and just hope things work out.

 

I’m not sure if this has been your approach in the past. But it usually doesn’t work out well. Not knowing whether or not you’re going to have enough money in the bank to tend to your church’s needs can be a stress-inducing experience.

Let’s agree not to stick our head in the sand this summer.

Second, the best thing you can do is to make a plan to smooth out your church's summer giving slump. In the rest of this article, I’m going to share with you seven ways you can make your plan.   

#2. Promote online giving and mobile giving

Here’s the deal: A decrease in attendance will lead to a dip in giving.

I know I’m stating the obvious. But if the members of your church don’t have to be physically present to give, then you can offset the slump in your summer giving.

For churches who use Tithe.ly, they’ve actually experienced an increase in giving through the summer instead of declining.

Why’s this the case?

Simple

Donating online is becoming the new normal, and most giving (67%) takes place on days other than Sunday.

To beat the summer giving slump, you need to offer online and mobile giving options for your church.

When you give people great online and mobile options to give, it enables anytime giving.

On vacation? Enjoy yourself.
Are you traveling for work? Focus on your business.
Sick? Stay in bed.

Regardless of the reason, someone can attend your worship service; they’ll be able to financially support your church from their phone, computer, or tablet.

Now, increasing your online giving requires more than just making it available on your church’s website. You have to promote online giving and help the people in your church give online.  

Here are nine tips to help you increase online giving in your church.

#3. Trumpet recurring giving

Regular recurring giving lays a solid foundation for your church’s budget.

On average, people who make recurring donations online give more frequently and more per year. Lead the members of your church to automate their giving will help you to avoid a summer giving slump.

At Tithe.ly, we made it super simple for people to set up recurring giving with a few clicks.  

Related: 6 Reasons Your Church Should Regularly Promote Automated Recurring Giving

#4. Engage your congregation on the go

Taking a vacation is essential for you and the members of your church. It doesn’t matter if you take a “staycation” or go somewhere with your family and friends. Taking a break from work and life to have some fun is good for your soul.

When the members of your church are away, you can help them to stay connected by providing a church app.

With a church app, you can let people:

  • ​Listen to your sermons on the go
  • Check for prayer requests
  • Keep up with church news and social media
  • Donate with 1-tap

Making it easy for people to connect on the go will help them to feel apart of the life of church still even though they’re not physically present.

#5. Plan summer activities

Don’t set the cruise controls during the summer just because people are on vacation.

There’s nothing wrong with taking family vacations or skipping a worship service here and there, but that doesn’t mean the mission of your church needs to come to a halt.

Create a summer message series that will get people excited about sticking around. Use the weather to your advantage and bring in some bouncy houses and food trucks between services, or organize a picnic on the lawn. Make your party the party that people want to come to.

 

If your preaching pastor is taking time off, bring in a guest preacher who will draw a crowd. If your worship team has dwindled down to “we’re going to do an acoustic set today, with Danny and his guitar,” then consider hiring a worship team or a popular band to fill in and give people a break.

#6. Share stories of changed Lives

God doesn’t take a break during the summer. His presence isn’t felt less during worship just because you have a few people absent.

Sharing stories of God’s work in your church is a natural way to inspire giving. These types of stories—testimonies—are a tangible way people can see God’s work in the life of people.

Is there a new profession of faith you can celebrate?

Are there new baptisms you can acknowledge?

Did God recently restore a marriage in your church?

Does your church support a local nonprofit agency or missionaries?

Don’t worry about whether or not your story is grandiose and fit for the big screen. The best type of stories you can share is from the common types of stories people can easily relate to.

Share stories during your offering, your worship service, on your website and via social media. Make sure to thank the people for financially supporting your church to make these stories possible. This way people will see that their financial gifts continue to matter–even during the summer months.

#7. Save for a summer slump

It’s a good idea for your church to have a financial cushion in case you do run into a summer giving slump.

Having an emergency fund isn’t an expression of a lack of faith. Instead, having cash reserves to take care of unexpected expenses or c decrease in giving is a sign you understand stewardship in the Bible.

According to a survey conducted by Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax Group, the average church saves 2% of their annual budget. This may be a good benchmark for your church. But consider setting aside more money per month until you’re able to cover 90 days of your expenses.

#8. Support your community

Do you know who else struggles during the summer?

Nonprofit organizations.

Not only will many nonprofit organizations experience financial setbacks, but, according to TIAA Charitable, “Among the hardest hit are organizations that depend on schools and businesses for group efforts, such as hosting blood drives or collecting food for charity.”  

This summer, consider partnering with nonprofit organizations in your community to provide financial assistance and volunteer support.

There are many ways you can get your church on board to help, including:

  • Pray for organizations in your community
  • ​Invite a representative from a local organization to share with your church
  • Organize a church-wide volunteer opportunity or donation drive
  • Set up weekly opportunities for your church to volunteer
  • Take up a one-time offering

Supporting a nonprofit organization during the summer will encourage the members of your church to participate in the work of the ministry and stick around.

How has your church overcome the summer giving slump? Let's share notes in the comments below.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in October, 2017 and was completely revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Expert Tips on How to Effectively Launch a New Online Giving Tool

01
Make it accessible so people can give in the way that is most comfortable to them. Don't make it hard for people to give money.
Some people like to give online, some like mobile, some like text. Whatever they like, let them give in that way if you can.
02
Brady Shearer
www.storytape.com
Talk about it every single week. Consistently promote it on every platform. 
Be patient. We all resist change.
03
Michael Lukaszewski
www.churchfuel.com
Launch it to your staff, your leaders, and your volunteers (in that order) and help those groups use it before you launch it publicly.
04
Teach it in your new member class.
Allow for people to sign-up right on the spot via their mobile phone (or through a laptop or iPad for those that don't have a mobile device handy).
05
Justin Dean
www.thatcc.com
On launch weekend, have volunteers and staff accessible with iPads to walk people through how to set up an account and get recurring giving configured.
06
Daniel Irmler
www.churchhero.com
On a regular basis, tell stories from members who are using and loving it. 
You don't don’t need a big production value shoot. Keep it simple by using an iPhone (horizontal) and a decent mic.
07
Invite your congregation to take out their phones and download the mobile giving app right in the service.
08
Nik Goodner
www.crtvchurch.com
Explain the why behind the change and highlight the benefits of the new system. 
People like to be "on the team".
09
Kevin Ekmark
www.church.org
I always tell people, "you need to clean your house before you invite friends over". It's crucial that your giving platform is easily found, whether it's on the web or in the church. 
On the web, making sure that your website is mobile friendly (Google and Bing both recommend mobile responsive design) can be a huge help. You can also incorporate bots from Facebook or a service like Intercom to help walk people through online giving on your website. When necessary, a human can jump in and help too. This helps complete the process from being found online to completing the online giving.
10
Logan Fields
www.theappguys.org
Tell them the real reasons. Giving members are concerned with what's best for the church and not just what they individually prefer. Transparency.
"This platform will allow us to better manage finances and spend less staff time on the books and more on people." etc. The temptation is to treat members like consumers who we need to impress instead of team members. Treat them like equals who you assume are interested in what's best for the church/ mission and people will likely rise to it.
11
Kenny Jahng
www.kennyjahng.com
Launch a $3.16 campaign. Ask people to all give just $3.16 to a weekly or bi-weekly blessing fund. Then, pick one person or cause to bless IN TOWN and go give that person all the money collected.
  • It could be the all volunteer firefighter squad in town. "We'll take all the $3.16's collected and go buy a meal or treat and drop off for the firefighters who volunteer."
  • It could be a widow the church knows about - bless her with something new for her home or hobby or pets.
  • Single mothers - supply them with a night out. Or pay for a house cleaner or a handyman for a couple of hours.
  • Special needs families - pay for evening out for the parents and child care for the special needs kids so the parents get a break.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
This works incredibly well because you are teaching generosity / outward posture to your people on a consistent basis and getting people to give on mobile- while making it about PARTICIPATION vs AMOUNT. You'll have people regularly trying out the mobile option as well as pre-register them in the system.

There you have it! Some amazing tips, right?

Which tip stood out the most to you … or looked to be the craziest?! Share with us in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!

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8 Ways to Break Out of a Summer Giving Slump

Tithe.ly

Tithe.ly powers mobile, text, and web giving for
churches and ministries.

LEARN MORE
Sign Up