Why Recurring Giving Matters (and 6 Ways to Increase Monthly Giving)

Why Recurring Giving Matters (and 6 Ways to Increase Monthly Giving)

Tithely media icon
Modern Church leader
Publish date
December 5, 2018

This week on TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry talk about why recurring giving can make a huge difference in your church, and they share six proven ways you can increase monthly giving.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • 3 reasons why recurring giving matters
  • The 4 hidden reasons why recurring giving is good for givers
  • 6 tried and true ways to increase monthly giving
  • Does recurring giving remove God from giving?
  • How to encourage people to start recurring giving


Here’s a list of resources mentioned during the show:


This week on TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry talk about why recurring giving can make a huge difference in your church, and they share six proven ways you can increase monthly giving.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • 3 reasons why recurring giving matters
  • The 4 hidden reasons why recurring giving is good for givers
  • 6 tried and true ways to increase monthly giving
  • Does recurring giving remove God from giving?
  • How to encourage people to start recurring giving


Here’s a list of resources mentioned during the show:

podcast transcript

(Scroll for more)

This week on TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry talk about why recurring giving can make a huge difference in your church, and they share six proven ways you can increase monthly giving.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • 3 reasons why recurring giving matters
  • The 4 hidden reasons why recurring giving is good for givers
  • 6 tried and true ways to increase monthly giving
  • Does recurring giving remove God from giving?
  • How to encourage people to start recurring giving


Here’s a list of resources mentioned during the show:

VIDEO transcript

(Scroll for more)

Dean Sweetman:  Good day, fam. Dean Sweetman here along with the one and only Frank Barry. Mate, how's it going?

Frank Barry:  It's awesome. It's cold in San Diego.

Dean Sweetman:  Same. LA is gloomy. I don't believe it. Where's the sunshine?

Frank Barry:  It's under 70 and we're talking about recurring giving today. It's a good day.

Dean Sweetman:  I guess, yeah. I guess that works. Why recurring giving matters. I'm so excited about the subject, because actually, back in the very early days of conceptualizing the mobile giving app when we first started talking about it, this was one of the big problems that I wanted to solve. Because up until that time, before you have a mobile strategy to be able to do it and the technology that we now have. Before that, it was really challenging to get recurring giving going.

Frank Barry:  Recurring giving is an interesting topic, I think, in the church because when you talk about automating things and doing recurring things, some might have some apprehension, but church-goers and people who are faithfully giving have been doing recurring giving for hundreds of years? Thousands of years? Because they've been putting their money or their crops, whatever it is, whatever they're giving in the plate every week, or every other week, or every month. They've been doing it in a recurring manner just by putting cash and check in the plate, right? It's not new, necessarily-

Dean Sweetman:  It's not new.

Frank Barry:  It's just [crosstalk 00:01:40] new.

Dean Sweetman:  Yeah. I guess what we're talking about is using technology, digitizing it, making it easier, and essentially just really allowing people to do something that they wanna do and letting them do it easier. We know that when things are easy, right? When you get the obstacles out of the way, everything just flows and it's better.

Frank Barry:  Interesting stat, so I was doing some research. Recurring giving is a thing. We have our own data, but I was just looking online, and there's lots of people that do some sort of fundraising, whether it's in the church or outside of the church for charities. You can find a bit of a range here, but from the four or five studies that I found from different organizations, most people were in the roughly 30%. Recurring givers give 30 to 40% more than non-recurring givers.

Dean Sweetman:  Interesting.

Frank Barry:  If you think about that, 30% more over the course of a year than non-recurring givers. That could be a big number for your church if you take that instead of, if that's not just one person, but let's say that's 100 people on recurring giving, or 1,000 people on recurring giving. Those numbers start to add up.

Dean Sweetman:  We know the reason, right? It's consistency. When you have someone set up on recurring the ability to have consistent income coming in from those people, and that leads us into our first benefit, right? We're gonna talk about the why and what comes as a result of talking about recurring giving?

Frank Barry:  Why we need recurring giving. Hitting that one first.

Dean Sweetman:  One of the things about the church, and I'm gonna use the word business, but you know that's in air quotes, right? We know the church is not a business. It's the mission to preach the gospel to change the world through the love of Jesus Christ. But there is business in the backend, and if you're not applying business principles in running your church, you're gonna struggle. That's maybe a topic for another day, but in business, you ... Generally speaking, you budget on, from your income and how you're gonna spend that income. In the church world, the most, most of our income comes in from people's giving, okay? That money's coming in on the ledger as income, even though it's a given donation, and then as stewards, as accountants, as managers, as overseers, as pastors and leaders, we then have to spend that wisely.

Dean Sweetman:  That comes from things like if you're a church plant, you're renting buildings. If you're an established church, you might have bought some land and built a building, and now you've got a mortgage on that building. There's the facilities, then you're gonna have wages, right? You're gonna pay people, and then you're gonna have all other kind of stuff. The crafts you've gotta get to the kids' church. All the ancillary items.

Frank Barry:  Food, you got the food you're doing, or other meetings you're doing-

Dean Sweetman:  All the-

Frank Barry:  ... like trainings, and-

Dean Sweetman:  Never ends.

Frank Barry:  ... research stuff. Yeah, right. There's always-

Dean Sweetman:  Never.

Frank Barry:  ... things going on.

Dean Sweetman:  You're gonna have to have a budget for that. Let's just say that your budget to run the church is a million dollars a year. Let's just say. If you've got a million dollars, and let's say last year you brought in a million dollars. So you go, "Okay," I always like to budget about 80% of my previous year's income.

Frank Barry:  Most churches, I mean, that's a good point. I think most churches are gonna look at previous years-

Dean Sweetman:  Correct.

Frank Barry:  ... and they may just go one year, they may go three to five years back, and just look at what's the historical trends? Even maybe giving by month or by week or something, and just to try to really understand-

Dean Sweetman:  Or that.

Frank Barry:  ... the patterns of giving for their church and set their upcoming 2019 budget based on historical trends.

Dean Sweetman:  You've got two things, right? You've got the historical trend, what happened in the last year or three, and is the church growing? What's the trend line of attendance and giving, which should always be tracked all the time. Subject for another day. You've got this thing, you've got this amount. We're gonna budget on X. The first thing that recurring giving is gonna do is it's going to equalize things to the point where you can actually start to get confident on those amounts coming in every month, because when people shift from coming on Sundays and giving, digital or plate or check or cash, it doesn't matter how, to a consistent form of recurring giving, that is automatically gonna bring a really awesome safety net to the budget. Because, as you stated, the people that give recurring give more, because of the consistency of giving. That's automatically gonna shore up the budget. It's automatically gonna get you the ability to see into the future a little bit, and know that there is X amount of income coming in no matter what.

Dean Sweetman:  I think that's the first big point. It's just gonna give buoyancy and safety to your budget, because you know you have an X amount percentage of that budget being met by recurring giving.

Frank Barry:  If you had, I just quickly brought up a calculator. If you had 50 people giving $100 a week times 52 weeks. I think, if I did the math quickly right, that's $260,000 a year that you would know is coming in, right? Or with some certainty level, a very high confidence level, you could say, "I know in 2019 these people are still members, they're active, they're recurring gifts are still set up. I looked in and they're all still there. I can expect $250,000 in income to come in from that group. Now that's the baseline for my budget. It's locked in."

Dean Sweetman:  Well, if your budget's a million and you go, "Well, there's a quarter of it done. Now I'm gonna," and if you've got ... Technically, rule of thumb, if you're bringing in a million a year, it's about, give or take, $1,000 per member per year is kind of the rule of thumb. If you've got 1,000 members, you need about 1,000 average, right? There's people who don't give, there's people who give a lot. There's people who tithe, people who don't, but if you can start shoring up ... Imagine getting 50% of your budget covered on recurring. Now, we have churches on our platform that do that, and they're very, very good at it, but if you can start the year knowing that half your budget is met, and you don't have to worry about it, that's a pretty awesome place to be.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, exactly. Okay, so why do we need recurring giving? It makes budgeting a lot easier.

Dean Sweetman:  That leads us into the obvious thing, it increases giving, right? We've touched on how that happens. Consistency equals more. I think, too, there's a posture that we've gotta think through is that, I always came out at it like this. People want to give. I just need to give them an easy way to do it. It's not arm twisting, and it wasn't me convincing them, and it wasn't pestering them, and it wasn't me making them feel bad, which biblically is incorrect. People always need to feel like they should be giving with joy, without the pressure, but they want to. That's how I always started. People want to give. If you're fulfilling the mission, preaching the gospel, reaching people for Jesus, caring and loving for the people that God's put in your care, presenting a great vision. People want to give to that. They just do.

Frank Barry:  Doing great things in your community, right? Serving people, helping the homeless, feeding, right?

Dean Sweetman:  All that. People wanna give.

Frank Barry:  You're doing all these things, people wanna be a part of it.

Dean Sweetman:  If you start from that premise, all I have to do now as a leader is make it easy, which is the premise of If you boiled down what we do as a company, we make giving easy. You strip all the bells and whistles that we have.

Frank Barry:  Maybe we should qualify that, 'cause sometimes people can hear that and go, "Well, that's not right. Giving is not supposed to be easy." We're simply talking about the final stage of making the gift, right?

Dean Sweetman:  Oh, yeah.

Frank Barry:  Giving is still hard in the heart.

Dean Sweetman:  100%.

Frank Barry:  Giving is still hard in your faith, in your commitment, and all of those things. We're just talking about, it's easy because it's now on your phone. We're not saying it's not hard. It still requires faith, and love, and all of these things.

Dean Sweetman:  100%. Yeah, no. This is, like you said, the final moment of activity and activation, but you've preached about this, you've taught this, you've taught the gospels, you've taught as a Christian how you're supposed to live a generous, big life. You've taught about generosity, you've taught about stewardship, you've taught about all these things leading people to the point, using scripture. We've done past shows on this. "Okay, I'm gonna be a giver, and I'm gonna support my church. I might, I'm only gonna start with 1%, I'm gonna give 10%," whatever it is, doesn't matter. At that point, now, we wanna make that as easy as possible.

Frank Barry:  Don't throw another hurdle in the way. Make it easy. At whatever moment I'm ready to do it too, right? Don't make me have to be somewhere at a certain time in a certain place, all of these things-

Dean Sweetman:  Exactly.

Frank Barry:  ... to make that decision.

Dean Sweetman:  Recurring giving is easy. It's the easiest form of giving, 'cause you only have to set it up once, right? We have other easy forms of giving via text or in our app. Our little QuickGive button, which is the way I give. I open up the app on Sundays, and I hit, "QuickGive" and it's awesome.

Frank Barry:  Wait, wait, wait. You don't have auto recurring giving set up? [crosstalk 00:11:23]-

Dean Sweetman:  No, I have auto recurring giving on some things-

Frank Barry:  I think we need to have a conversation about that.

Dean Sweetman:  Yeah, no. Maybe. I have auto recurring on some of my giving. I have manual giving on things that-

Frank Barry:  Oh, okay. Fine. You're safe.

Dean Sweetman:  Yeah, I'm safe, but the QuickGive is one of my favorite things to do. But the auto recurring is the fastest, 'cause it's set up once and then it happens without you thinking. We know that that consistency is gonna increase giving-

Frank Barry:  Yeah, absolutely.

Dean Sweetman:  ... just by the sheer act.

Frank Barry:  And the consistency, and I know we want to dovetail in a little bit, because there's reasons why people aren't in church, right? I mean, there's tons of studies out there, I'm sure this number isn't completely accurate, but in the ballpark, people don't attend church every Sunday. Maybe they go twice a month.

Dean Sweetman:  I know that for a fact.

Frank Barry:  I mean, again, I don't have the paper to show you, but people just aren't there every Sunday. We all know that.

Dean Sweetman:  Every church leader listening to this knows that, and we're coming up to Christmas, which is awesome because everybody comes. Our Easter services are packed, and for a leader, a Church leader, you want every Sunday to be that, but that's not the case. Then you add in lifestyle. A lot of kids' sports are getting played on Sundays. You're getting inundated with so many other things to be involved in in your life. Gradually, you get worn down. Getting into church beyond twice a month is pretty awesome these days for a lot of people who have busy lives [crosstalk 00:12:55]-

Frank Barry:  On average. We're not saying that it's-

Dean Sweetman:  On average.

Frank Barry:  ... right or you should or shouldn't. We're just saying that's the state of things. That's just-

Dean Sweetman:  It is.

Frank Barry:  ... the fact of the matter that people aren't always there.

Dean Sweetman:  You can put your head in the sand, right? And just say, "Well, that shouldn't be," or preach against it. Or you can provide great solutions like recurring giving that actually are gonna help with the budget, and bring a little peace of mind as far as that goes.

Frank Barry:  Look, people are sick, people are traveling for work, kids events, whatever. There's all kinds of reasons they may not be there, right? There's all those reasons, but oftentimes, they're still committed members that, if they weren't sick, they would be there, but they still do wanna give. So giving, auto recurring giving as an option lets those people keep going.

Dean Sweetman:  100%. 100%. The next one, which is a cool one, it improves donor retention. Now, we're getting a little bit into the weeds of fundraising concepts here, which is more your specialty than mine, but there's some things about donor retention that ... It's very kind of, more in the non-faith-based, non-profit world, they talk about-

Frank Barry:  Yeah, like charity giving-

Dean Sweetman:  [crosstalk 00:14:02]-

Frank Barry:  ... charitable giving donor retention kind of thing, right?

Dean Sweetman:  Charitable giving. But in the church-

Frank Barry:  It's a very different world, yeah.

Dean Sweetman:  ... same vibe, right?

Frank Barry:  Yeah, yeah. I mean, it is an interesting thing. Donor retention is, "Okay, I wanna keep my donors. I wanna keep them giving to my organization." You gotta figure out how to fix that. When church members start giving, you just want that to keep happening. Recurring giving helps that to just keep happening automatically versus people maybe, they start wanting to give. Maybe they have a tough time financially, or they don't end up at church a few weeks in a row, or whatever. There's all kinds of reasons that something can happen, but this recurring giving helps you to retain donors. Really, it's not donors in our case, right? It's faithful Christians attending our churches.

Dean Sweetman:  God's beautiful people.

Frank Barry:  Right, exactly, but it just helps that keep going. You're not losing that money.

Dean Sweetman:  The last of the whys before we talk about from the member's side. I'd say this again, early, conceptually, when I was thinking about mobile giving. This is back in 2013, and why it was ... So many problems it was gonna solve was things like in, whether you're a US church, in Canada, or down in Australia, we have long, hot summers. People, I have friends in Canada that used to dread the summer a little bit, because they get so little sunshine up there. Literally, people just leave. I have a friend in the Rockies and he's like, "My whole church leaves. They go. They're not gonna be around here, because they got four weeks of sunshine, and they're gonna go use it." The European's the same. I have friends in Europe with churches and the place just empties. Okay, so there's a problem. There's a problem.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, there's a problem, and I guess it happens all over the place. I even think of-

Dean Sweetman:  Everywhere.

Frank Barry:  ... my in-laws live in Palm Springs, Palm Desert area, and so that's a big sort of head there for the summer, and then leave, right? There's a population of people that go to and from sort of two homes. They live one place for a while, then they live in another place for a while, and they switch back and forth.

Dean Sweetman:  There's a problem. The problem is, is that we have seasonal things affecting church attendance. The other thing that you have in certain parts of the world is weather.

Frank Barry:  Not here. Not here.

Dean Sweetman:  Yeah, we don't have that in Southern California usually, but in many places, you have ice and snow that can shut down a Sunday service quicker than you can blink. The sad fact is, is that people are gonna be restricted from coming to church for safety reasons. Can't get on the roads, and if they're giving traditionally with cash and check, that's gone. Are they gonna make it up next week? We'd like to think so. The numbers tell us it doesn't happen like that. A missed opportunity for an offering in a Sunday service is a missed opportunity for income. I know that's really bland and stripping it down and doesn't sound very spiritual, but it's a fact.

Frank Barry:  You've dealt with it a ton, right? In Atlanta-

Dean Sweetman:  A ton.

Frank Barry:  ... it happened all the time.

Dean Sweetman:  Nonstop. You put on a big, cheery face, and you go, "Praise God." It's just, it is what it is. Mobile, the real concept of the solution came from trying to solve those problems. If recurring giving does anything, it flattens things out, so you are not peaks and valleys with giving. Getting, here in the Northern Hemisphere, May is coming. You've had Easter. It's a high. Kids are getting out from school. Oh my gosh, everyone's gonna start traveling. June, July, August are gonna be brutal. We know on our platform that those summer months actually hold, on average, with other months of the year. We've got the data. That's because of recurring giving, and anywhere, any time, right?

Dean Sweetman:  When you've got your phone with you and you get a reminder, that helps 100%, but it's the recurring, man, that absolutely ... So when you've got weather affected, and you've got recurring givers, not gonna be as big a problem.

Frank Barry:  I think it's interesting, too, that many church leaders might not even know, right? But there's a term for, it's called the summer slump.. It's an actual thing in many churches, especially in the US. It probably happens worldwide in different seasons, but in the summer, if giving is kind of flat in the summer, you see it go down and then-

Dean Sweetman:  Absolutely.

Frank Barry:  ... kind of recover after you come back, right? That's a big deal. If you're gonna lose that income over the summer, what if you wanted to put on some great summer events and activities, and do things in your community? Or do more at your church, but you know income's going down, so you're gonna react to that as a church, and probably have to scale back a little bit what you're doing based on how the budget's flowing. Being able to keep the summer slump at bay by providing great tools with recurring giving is a huge benefit to your church. Again, it's not 'cause people don't wanna give, it's just because they're probably traveling for summer vacation, or they've got family in town, or whatever's going on. But they still wanna give.

Dean Sweetman:  I like what you said here in the notes. "It's really hard to forget when it's automatic." When you set something to automatic, you don't have to ... I'm the worst, I got-

Frank Barry:  What do we do automatic, right? We pay, if I could pay everything automatically, I would. I think I'm 98.5%-

Dean Sweetman:  Same.

Frank Barry:  ... there, right?

Dean Sweetman:  Same.

Frank Barry:  Everything is done on autopay. So why not ... I'm the kind of person that, and this is probably true for lots of people. We have a checkbook. I couldn't tell you where it's at. We would write one check a week, and it was the check that every Sunday morning, we'd be like, "Honey, where's the checkbook? Check that drawer, check that drawer, look in the car. Is it in your purse? I haven't used the checkbook since last Sunday." Most weekends, we'd find it. Some weekends, we'd totally forget. We'd show up at church, don't have the checkbook. I never carry cash unless somebody's giving me cash for some reason. So we wouldn't be able to give. We wanted to, but we just [crosstalk 00:20:40]-

Dean Sweetman:  There is the problem.

Frank Barry:  Then you've got kids, and we've got three ... It's crazier, and it gets crazier. For us, auto-giving, or at least the ability to give right on my phone while I'm in church when I'm reminded during the offering, now I can do it and I don't ever have to worry about my checkbook.

Dean Sweetman:  Yep. Absolutely critical. Can I just switch gears for a second and just talk about, this is gonna all sound so clinical, and it's almost like, "Wow. Giving is supposed to be spiritual, and this, you're making it sound like it's all automatic, and it's digitized, and on my gosh." So when we touch-

Frank Barry:  Are we taking God out of the picture? I think is the-

Dean Sweetman:  It's the last thing we wanna do as a company. We touched on it a little bit in the front end, but let's just make sure that in all the technology and what we're talking about as far as recurring giving, what you've gotta know is that the ... Are we taking the spiritual nature, are we taking God out of the giving moment by doing all this digital stuff, this mobile stuff? I think, from the beginning, from the premise that giving is spiritual, that giving comes from the heart. This is all how Jesus taught us to give, how the New Testament teaches us to give. Giving is a heart issue. I've met people who trust God with everything in their life, except their money. They will not give. I just know people like that. I'm not gonna convince them of that as a leader. I can preach sermons and teach the Bible all I want, but that person is not gonna unlock their heart in the area of generosity and giving until a personal revelation comes on the inside of them.

Dean Sweetman:  When we talk about giving, before all these bells and whistles and stuff we're talking about, we're talking about that giving is a heart issue. First and foremost, beginning to end, this is just the final little, "Oh, let me do the final physical act of giving, instead of bringing my crops to the temple, bringing my doves to be slaughtered-"

Frank Barry:  Or bringing my checkbook to church. It's the [crosstalk 00:22:54]-

Dean Sweetman:  "... or bringing my checkbook," right? That's the final-

Frank Barry:  Or my cash, yep.

Dean Sweetman:  Before all of that, which you could say is, if the giving moment is 1%, what we're talking about here is the 99 leading up to that moment, right? Of setting up. That's all heart. If as a leader, if you're not preaching and teaching a God-inspired vision, and you're not preaching, teaching what the Bible says, it's gonna be hard for people to get captured. People get captured and inspired by what God is telling them. That comes through His word, right? Most of the time. When people are captured by God through what they get a revelation about in scripture, and then insert giving, insert love, insert joy, insert whatever, it's like that's the beginning point. Don't be confused with, "Oh, I'm just gonna what Dean and Frank said, and do all these cold points." If it's not an explosion on the inside of the church member-

Frank Barry:  [crosstalk 00:24:00], yeah.

Dean Sweetman:  ... then it's, you're gonna be beating your head against a wall.

Frank Barry:  Yeah. I mean, I think giving is an overflow of our faith, and an overflow of our gratitude. When my faith is there and I've read the scriptures, and I see how, man, in the book of Acts the people were so generous, and they gave, and they served. I see that lived out in the Christians, and I go, "I need to be like that too," right? They did that because of their gratitude, right? That's all from the heart. That's all stuff that you learn from the scripture and your faith grows. This stuff is just the tech to make it easier and to help a church be smart, and be wise, and be diligent, right? With the things God has entrusted them with.

Dean Sweetman:  Absolutely. 100%. Let's talk about some proven ways to get this thing cooking. Let's get into some-

Frank Barry:  Practical. Practical.

Dean Sweetman:  Yeah, let's get some really practical stuff. So-

Frank Barry:  How do you increase recurring giving? We wanna give you six ways to increase recurring giving.

Dean Sweetman:  The first thing I think you've gotta do is, you gotta count how many you've got today. Sometimes this is hard, 'cause you gotta be honest. How many recurring givers do you have? You've gotta know that number. Some church leaders hate this, 'cause they don't wanna deal with numbers. They don't wanna deal with metrics. They don't care about KPIs. None of that, but absolutely critical parts as a church leader, you must know your numbers. God is in the numbers. He wrote a whole book about them. You've gotta know your numbers. How many-

Frank Barry:  God is in very detailed.

Dean Sweetman:  ... recurring givers? Yeah. How many recurring givers do you have today? Then take that with how many total givers you have. Let's just say-

Frank Barry:  Real quick. Pause real quick. We're on Facebook. People are live right now, and people will watch this after. I'd love to know how many people watching right now or watch the recorded version, how many of you guys know the number of recurring givers that you have today? Just-

Dean Sweetman:  That's a good question.

Frank Barry:  ... pop in. You don't have to tell us how many or any of that, 'cause [crosstalk 00:26:01]-

Dean Sweetman:  Just say, "Yes," or, "No."

Frank Barry:  Do you know the number? Yes or no?

Dean Sweetman:  So that's-

Frank Barry:  We'll encourage you if you don't.

Dean Sweetman:  Mission critical. I gotta know my number. Then, the other number I'm gonna know is how many total donors do I have? Let's just take within a month period. Let's look back at November, which just finished. How many recurring givers are set up to give to my church in November? Let's just deal with the general fund for right now. General tithes and offerings. Let's say I have 10, and I have a total of 100 donors, right? If you're using our church management platform, you can see that. If you're using our backend management, you can see all this. If I have 10 recurring givers out of 100 for November, the first thing I'm gonna do is I gotta set a goal.

Frank Barry:  I think to add to that, you wanna know the number of recurring givers and the dollar amount that those people are giving. Know both of those numbers by comparison. Also, the one-off givers and the dollar amount there.

Dean Sweetman:  I know some pastors that don't wanna know what people give to their church. I wasn't one of those pastors. I did wanna know, but I know some guys that don't, and I get, 100% get that. Get someone to get this data for you without names on it, right?

Frank Barry:  This is aggregate-

Dean Sweetman:  This isn't really about who's giving what.

Frank Barry:  Right, exactly.

Dean Sweetman:  This isn't about that. Just get someone, get your admin guys to go in and get these numbers for you. Amount of recurring, how much they gave, and how many total givers. Then start setting a goal. If I've got 10 out of 100, I think a reasonable goal for me to set as a church leader. Let's say within six months I wanna see that get to-

Frank Barry:  20.

Dean Sweetman:  20, I mean, my gosh.

Frank Barry:  What if you just doubled it to 20? That would be amazing.

Dean Sweetman:  Would be phenomenal. I think the big goal is you wanna get to 50. I mean-

Frank Barry:  But that probably isn't happening in three-

Dean Sweetman:  It's gonna take a while.

Frank Barry:  ... to six months, right? That might be a whole year-long campaign.

Dean Sweetman:  Could be two years.

Frank Barry:  Right, two years, but depending on the size of your church, absolutely.

Dean Sweetman:  You gotta know your numbers, and you gotta set some goals. Incrementally reach them. But then, how are you gonna do that, right? It's all good intention. "I'm gonna increase," how are you gonna do it?

Frank Barry:  Let's add to it that know your numbers, set your goal, and make sure you are committing to looking at that every month, right? Looking back at how did the previous month go so that you're just paying attention, 'cause if you don't measure it, you're just never gonna know where you're at. If you don't go back and look, you're setting a goal and you're never gonna get there.

Dean Sweetman:  Well, you can't manage what you don't measure, right? If I'm trying to manage something and grow something, and I don't know what's going on under the hood, I'm struggling. How about one of the first things you do is you tell your church why recurring giving is so great for the church, which is essentially the first half of the podcast, right? You can take literally what we said and explain that to the congregation. Explain about the summer slump. Explain about having a consistent budget being allowed the church to be able to consistently and properly handle the money that's come in. If you explain the why to the church, they'll start going off in people, 'cause you've got, you've got this segment of people that struggle with generosity in church. We know that through data, but you've got another bunch who are all in. They are all in on the church vision, but they haven't got on the recurring train. There's a group of people, maybe it's 20, 40, 50% of your church that would really consider getting on recurring.

Dean Sweetman:  Explain the why to the church so that they can then be informed to go, "You know what? That sounds like totally common sense for me to get in and start doing that."

Frank Barry:  We didn't write it in here. Maybe it's implied, but I think it's explain the why. You can take one, two, five of the points that we mentioned earlier, 'cause people like to know that. They like to feel part of the planning, part of the process, part of what's going on. You're bringing them in. Maybe part of explaining the why is literally once you've done that, you ask. You just say, "We've got-"

Dean Sweetman:  "Would you?"

Frank Barry:  "... X doing it now." Maybe you want to share that, maybe you don't, but minimally, you've gotta ask them. "Would you consider setting up your regular giving as an auto-recurring gift?" People will do it.

Dean Sweetman:  I know that there's people listening right now that are cringing, because-

Frank Barry:  Yeah, absolutely. It's a bit scary. It's a little scary.

Dean Sweetman:  It's scary, but it's like, "Hang on a minute, you're just getting me excited about asking for money generally. Now you're asking me to do recurring." It's like that's so next level boldness, but man, it's what it takes.

Frank Barry:  I'm gonna throw out one thing. The church I go to oftentimes, other than maybe the primary sermon or message, oftentimes maybe the welcome or the offering moment where we're taking up the weekly giving, a volunteer is doing it, right? I've been up there, friends have been up there. It's on everyone to volunteer. Recently, one of the guys that got up, he just, he talked about ... Used the Bible, talked about why it's important, things like that. These are short, right? It's a couple of minutes, but he shared about going through the process of sort of giving one time every week, and what it meant for him to go through and set it to recurring. His own-

Dean Sweetman:  Journey.

Frank Barry:  ... heart and mental journey of getting there. In a sense, though, it was an ask, because he ended with, "Hey, would you guys consider doing the same thing?"

Dean Sweetman:  So good.

Frank Barry:  It's a volunteer asking the church too, right? If you have people who have gone through that, man, use their stories and get them up on stage. Or find ways to get them in front of the congregation so it's not just the staff asking.

Dean Sweetman:  When we're talking about promoting it, we're talking things like announcements, right? We're talking about having it on your website and talking about from the website. Having even some-

Frank Barry:  In the bulletin, right?

Dean Sweetman:  Definitely.

Frank Barry:  When we say announcement, that can be pretty broad, right? Most churches have a bulletin.

Dean Sweetman:  Everyone does it different.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, so put it in the bulletin, put it on the website.

Dean Sweetman:  Email, comms, social media, right? Just talking about it in general. I would just say, I'm going a bit to the divert here, I would definitely designate a couple of times of year to talk about recurring giving as a-

Frank Barry:  In a prominent way kind of thing.

Dean Sweetman:  In a prominent way. I wouldn't go every week, recurring, recurring. That can be a bit much, but maybe at the start of the year and when kids come back from school. For the North America, those are two different times in the Southern Hemisphere and Australia, summer is the end of the year. But in North America, we get two starts to the year. We get January and we get September-ish, right? When kids are back in school. I would use at least one of those to talk about recurring.

Frank Barry:  [crosstalk 00:33:32]-

Dean Sweetman:  Beginning of the year is the best one, 'cause that's when you should be preaching about your vision for the year. "Hey church, this is what we've done. This is where we're going, and oh, by the way, let's-"

Frank Barry:  I think a lot of churches, just from what I've seen, they may not talk about giving hardly at all during the year, but many churches at the beginning of the year use that as their one time to actually really heavily talk about it. Look, if that's your thing and that's how you operate, just weave in the ask for recurring giving during that, right? Just take advantage of your normal flow. As you were talking, I thought of, I've seen a couple churches and there's probably a lot out there, but I've seen some examples where people have, they've set up sort of a theme for their recurring giving program where they've branded it in a way and they've put some package and things around it to make it, to give it some life, and to make it a thing so it's a known thing in the church. You may not talk about whether you're personally in it or out of it, but it's a known thing that the church can talk about more commonly. It's not just always an ask, it's more of a highlight of what you can do within the church.

Frank Barry:  I like this idea of branding your recurring giving program in some way. I know Life.Church comes to mind. I know they had one. I think the Rock Church here in San Diego has one, as well.

Dean Sweetman:  Well, the other opportunity for recurring giving is around a building fund, or a vision fund, or a fund, right? That you're specifically raising money for X. Those are great opportunities, that would be the other opportunity, too. That recurring giving for the general, but then you might have specific things that you're raising money for throughout the year, whether it be land, buildings, a homeless program.

Frank Barry:  New program, yeah. Homeless shelter, new kids' program, whatever it might be.

Dean Sweetman:  That is a great way to introduce people to recurring giving, 'cause often you're talking about small amounts and giving on a consistent basis. I remember back many years ago, we needed some new chairs. It was an, I can't remember what it was, it was a lot of money at the time. It was like 30 grand or something. It was like, "Hey, let's just get a bunch of people giving 10 bucks a month to pay off the chairs in a few months." It was so easy and bite-sized, and it got people introduced to recurring giving. Often a fund-

Frank Barry:  That's good, yeah.

Dean Sweetman:  ... or a [inaudible 00:36:10], right? Gets people in the habit of starting that.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, and I've seen churches do it. They need a new roof for the building, or they need chairs, or they need the new AV equipment or whatever it might be. This micro fund kind of recurring giving to support this thing is a great idea.

Dean Sweetman:  Starting small is better than not starting at all. Often I would challenge people and say, "Listen, to get to a tenth might be a stretch. If you're a new convert, you're new in church, you just turned up. You're like, 'Man, you want 10% of my money? I mean, are you kidding me?' That's a challenge, but just starting with 1% and just going from there." Once people get it-

Frank Barry:  [crosstalk 00:36:52]-

Dean Sweetman:  ... and they start to feel the blessing of that, it's so easy. Just get started.

Frank Barry:  Get started. Make the ask, get people started. Encourage them to start. Then, I think our last point, right? Is make it easy.

Dean Sweetman:  There it is.

Frank Barry:  I think we might be able to show making it easy. Give me one sec.

Dean Sweetman:  Oh, we got show and tell?

Frank Barry:  I think that's working. We have show and tell.

Dean Sweetman:  Uh oh.

Frank Barry:  Let's see if this works right. I've got up the giving form. It's just on a desktop environment, Dean. I don't think you can see it, but for voiceover, even for those who might be listening to this and not seeing it, we've got the giving form. It's up on my desktop right now. It's just showing that someone can enter an amount. They can pick the fund that they wanna designate their gift to that the churches can set up. Then some basic info. I can give my credit, debit card, or my bank account. Once I've entered that info, really simply, Dean, what do we got on the form? Your favorite thing related to recurring giving.

Dean Sweetman:  Cover the fees?

Frank Barry:  No. The ability to actually set up the recurring gift, right on the form.

Dean Sweetman:  Oh, yeah. On the giving form? 100%.

Frank Barry:  On the giving form. On the giving form.

Dean Sweetman:  Oh my gosh, yeah. No, no. Pick the fund, put in the amount. Is this the new giving form you're showing everyone?

Frank Barry:  Yeah, this is a new version of the giving form that's coming out soon.

Dean Sweetman:  Super cool.

Frank Barry:  [crosstalk 00:38:20]-

Dean Sweetman:  Yeah, I mean, just set the how often you want it to go and when you want it to start. Two clicks, right?

Frank Barry:  Every week, every two weeks. However you wanna do it. Every month, maybe. I wanna give on the 16th every month. Put in my amount. Hit, "Give." Confirms you wanna give this much to the church-

Dean Sweetman:  Sorted.

Frank Barry:  ... and you're set up. Really simple.

Dean Sweetman:  If there is something that we've developed as a company is that, right there. That is what, it's like all the work that we do, all the staff, everyone's working hard. Especially the engineering side, that is the pinnacle of our business. Allowing people to be able to set up recurring in a few seconds is a big chunk of why we exist.

Frank Barry:  We have churches, I think you mentioned it earlier. We have churches that, of their digital giving pie, 'cause there's still people that are gonna give cash and check, but of their digital giving, they'll have 50, 60, up to 70% of people set up on automated recurring giving. Huge benefit to those guys.

Dean Sweetman:  Absolutely. Man, what a great show. I hope it's been helpful. It's a big subject.

Frank Barry:  Huge.

Dean Sweetman:  It's definitely a needle mover. There's no question about that.

Frank Barry:  If you're watching, please give the show a like. Please share it on your Facebook feed. We'd love for you guys to help us spread the love, get the topic out there. We'd also love your questions. Maybe we didn't cover something on the show. Pop it in the comments of the Facebook show. Dean and I are gonna hop over to the comments. We'll try to answer questions right there and do our best to keep this topic front and center. We have a great show lined up next week.

Dean Sweetman:  Next week?

Frank Barry:  Oh my gosh.

Dean Sweetman:  Oh, I can't wait.

Frank Barry:  It's gonna be awesome. Chuck Leslie from the Rock Church who, he heads up there, just their generosity team, right? All things giving, he runs that program at the Rock Church. They have this thing called the All-In campaign that's just a big deal. They do such a good job with this campaign that chuck's gonna come on, he's gonna share all about it next week. Folks gotta attend.

Dean Sweetman:  That's a big church, right? On multiple campuses, they do some really phenomenal things in the community. Pastor Miles is a leader in every sense of the word, so gonna be some great takeaways to listen to Chuck next week. Can't wait.

Frank Barry:  Gonna be fun.

Dean Sweetman:  Awesome, man. All right. We'll see you soon.

Frank Barry:  Yeah. Good times. Thanks, fam.

Dean Sweetman: fam, thanks for tuning in. We'll see you next time. God bless.

This week on TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry talk about why recurring giving can make a huge difference in your church, and they share six proven ways you can increase monthly giving.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • 3 reasons why recurring giving matters
  • The 4 hidden reasons why recurring giving is good for givers
  • 6 tried and true ways to increase monthly giving
  • Does recurring giving remove God from giving?
  • How to encourage people to start recurring giving


Here’s a list of resources mentioned during the show:

Publish date
December 5, 2018

Why Recurring Giving Matters (and 6 Ways to Increase Monthly Giving)

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