Best Practices from Healthy Churches: Recurring Giving
Does your church worry about seasonal fluctuations in contributions? Do you struggle to maintain a consistent stream of monthly revenue from tithes? If so, you’re not alone. Many churches are affected by lulls in giving and are constantly looking for ways to better forecast their budget. In fact, 86 percent of churches still don’t meet their annual budget goals. When you boil it down, that means 43 out of 50 churches aren’t raising enough funds during the year to support all the activities, missions, and events they need to propel their ministries forward. So, what could the other 14 percent be doing differently to reach their goals? It’s simple. They’re offering monthly recurring giving.
Read on to discover what recurring giving is, how it can help your church, and how to encourage your members to get on board.
What is Recurring Giving?
If your church doesn’t focus on recurring gifts, now is the time. Recurring giving isn’t a radical or complicated idea. It’s simply when attendees complete a one-time set-up to schedule a gift to be automatically deducted from their credit card or bank account on a recurring basis.
Donors can schedule their gifts to come out regularly, which could be monthly, weekly, or quarterly. The donor gives your church permission to draft directly from a bank account or charge a card, either indefinitely or for a set period of time.
How Can Recurring Giving Help Your Church?
Recurring giving sounds good in theory, but what does it actually look like? Here are the top three ways recurring giving can transform your current giving program, further engage your members, and increase your ministry’s reach:
Your congregation wants to support your church and see it grow. As humans, we often default to our basic instincts when it comes to doing what is asked of us. We are naturally wired to meet the challenges we’re presented with. If we only ask members to give a one-time donation, then that is exactly what they will give.
By providing congregants with information and an easy way to do give, they tithe more faithfully. One way to provide ease of tithing is through a mobile giving platform such as Text-To-Give.
Additionally, monthly online recurring giving grew 32 percent last year. This growth is further proof that recurring giving is an option that donors want. Donors are eager to give; they just need the right tools.
Improve Budget Forecasting
For churches of all sizes, the last two months of the year tend to bring consistent donations. Giving then starts to slow a bit and by summer, attendance and giving can sometimes become stagnant. Between work, kids’ soccer games, and travel, your members might forget to prioritize tithing. By offering churchgoers the option to use recurring giving, you can bypass that forgetfulness and make the process of giving easier during slower seasons.
The consistency that recurring giving provides means more accurate budget forecasting and more level amounts of contributions throughout the year. Simply put, recurring giving is the best way to keep generosity flowing throughout the entire year.
Connect with All Donors
As a church, it's your goal to connect with members from all walks of life and help them to grow spiritually. Some of your members may find monthly giving easy to fit into their budgets. However, others might be running a bit tight and feel like they can't give enough to really help your mission. If that's the case, they may not give at all and slowly begin to withdraw themselves from your church family. Recurring giving is an excellent way to engage all members because it helps them fit giving into their monthly budgets. It also enables them to see that being more generous is possible, whether they can afford to give a little or a lot.
Being able to give anything on a regular basis helps members feel engaged and excited about participating in your cause. Though they may not be able to give large amounts, being able to give even small monthly donations fosters a giving spirit that will benefit both your members and your ministry for years to come.
Ways to Encourage Recurring Giving
Here are a few key ways to encourage your members to set up recurring giving.
Provide a Starting Point
Sometimes the reason a church struggles to increase recurring giving is that people are unsure of where to begin. Members may not be aware that recurring giving is even an option. Communicate with your congregation about what recurring giving is and show them how to set it up step by step. Use slides before a service, put the steps in bulletin inserts, and share tutorials on social media.
Create Giving Tiers
Just like giving for the first time, it can be scary to commit to recurring gifts. An excellent way to make people comfortable (and excited) about recurring giving is to create tiers as a starting point. Make the first gift on the tier approachable. For instance, begin with $5 once a month. The next tier could be $15 a month, and so on.
Communicate the Benefits of Recurring Giving
The average churchgoer attends roughly 37 services a year. Imagine they give $25 for every service they attend. That comes to $925 annually, which is great! However, by encouraging recurring giving, your church might benefit from an additional $375 (for the 15 services they missed). Here are some ways to communicate the value of recurring giving:
- Use newsletters, social media, and your church’s website to show the real-life impact scheduled gifts make.
- Share the steps to set up automatic recurring gifts at least once a month, so people see how convenient it is.
- Send a letter inviting loyal givers to transition to a recurring schedule.
- Celebrate recurring givers with handwritten thank-you notes or by hosting an annual luncheon in their honor.
Scheduled giving plays a huge role in creating a culture of generosity. By promoting it and following the tips above, you’ll increase recurring gifts in a way that makes tithing easier and grows your ministry. A group of committed givers can strengthen annual campaigns and sustain your church through lean times. Whatever the size of your congregation, a strong monthly giving program will prove to be a beneficial asset for your church.
If you’re planning on promoting recurring giving at your church, it’s important that you have an easy and dependable online giving system setup. Clover Give is designed to make online giving easy and beautiful. Try a free demo today!