Millennials are the largest generation in the US.
Like every generation, they have a particular set of beliefs when it comes to who and how they financially support churches and nonprofit organizations.
As a church leader, it’s important to understand these beliefs when it comes to encouraging them to steward their financial resources well as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Here are five ways millennials are motivated to give. Filter your discipleship efforts and communication through these five lenses to help focus your message.
#1. Ditch relevancy
Millennials do not care if you are relevant. But they do care if you are authentically Christian, aim for quality in everything you do, and serve those in need in your community and around the world.
Passing an offering plate on Sundays and teaching a sermon series is not enough. They want to know that their financial gift is making a difference, which leads us to the next point.
#2. Give to a cause
Millennials generally do not give out of obligation. For example, they will not support your church because you are affiliated with a particular denomination, the need to purchase a new building, or to cover administrative costs.
As a church leader, let your congregation know how they are giving funds the work of the ministry. This not only includes the work that takes place within your congregation, such as preaching and Bible studies but the work your church is doing in the community.
Let them know their gift is making a difference. Help them to see how the money they give is going toward the things they care most about.
#3. Build relationships
Even though millennials are digitally savvy, this doesn’t mean you can base your relationship with them on social media alone. Millennials value personal relationships.
Actively build relationships with the millennials in your church. From one-on-one meetings, fun group activities, and yes, social media interaction, be involved with the people in your church who fit this demographic.
#4. Be transparent
According to David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, “Millennials live in an era of radical transparency, powered by social and digital tools.” This has two important implications for your church.
First, be transparent how the church spends money. Provide regular updates of your church’s financial well-being. You can do this by providing weekly, monthly, or annual reports. Figure out what works best for you if you are not doing this already.
Second, millennials tend to be skeptical of institutions, so be concise and clear in your communication. Avoid using hyperbole. Let them know exactly where their financial gifts are going — especially if you are raising money for a special project, like a building fund or new ministry.
#5. Focus on building a generous church culture
Millennials in many ways are just getting started professionally and financially. What is more, many millennials are graduating college with significant student loan debt, and many millennials are underemployed.
As a church leader, focus on building a generous church culture. The amount of money someone individually gives to your church is not what matters. What matters is that the person is stewarding his or her resources well and graciously, yet sacrificially, giving as stewards of what God has given them.
Connecting with the millennials in your church in the way that best resonates with them, is important to helping them to live and love like Jesus when it comes to stewarding their financial resources.
When it comes to communicating with millennials, avoid completely jettisoning practices that connect well with the older generations in your church. Aim to blend multiple communication strategies together to best serve your diverse church demographics.