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.
The summer slump.
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. Yep, you got it. The summer slump.
It’s natural for your members to think less about the church when they’re laying on a beach. The only chairs they’re thinking about stacking are their rusty collapsible beach loungers.
While the members of your church are on vacation and enjoying summer activities, the life of your church goes on. But God’s call on your life doesn’t stop just because attendance suffers a 30% drop during the summer slump. And online giving doesn't have to decline!
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 to overcome the summer giving slump:
- 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 heads 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 summer 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?
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’t 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 give more frequently and more per year. When you lead the members of your church to automate their giving, it 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.
Not sure how to promote recurring giving?
Check out this post: 6 Proven Ways to Increase Recurring Giving in Your Church.
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 church event that’s 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 church 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 a 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 its 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.
More resources and tips about online giving for churches:
- Online giving software for churches and ministries
- Increase Online Giving In Your Church with These 9 Proven Strategies
- Simple Guide To Creating Awesome Online Donation Pages
- 7 Ways to Optimize Your Church’s Online Giving Page to Boost Giving
- 7 Online Giving Myths That Are Crippling Your Church (NewData)
- 1 Offline Way to Encourage Online Giving
- How to Effectively Launch Online Giving: Expert Tips from 11 Communications Pros
- Choosing an Online Giving Service for Your Church: 7 Important Questions to Ask Before Making a Selection
- 3 Reasons Your Church Must Offer Online Giving
- 3 Key Findings & Online Giving Best Practices from Fundraising Research
- How North Coast Church Doubled Online Giving and Saved Over $82,000 in A Year
- The Top 3 Common Questions From Churches About Online Giving
- 8 Ways to Break Out of a Summer Giving Slump