7 Reasons to Make Summer Giving Plans

Easter might be days away, but it is time to start thinking and planning for your summer giving initiative. The following post was printed at https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/7-reasons-to-make-summer-giving-plans.

As we post this, we are days away from Easter. So, why would we be talking to you about summer giving? We will give you seven reasons. If any applies to you, then keep reading. We recommend summer giving plans for the following reasons:

1. The Post-Easter Slump – A church leader said a few years ago, “It used to be that attendance dipped after Easter and returned when school started in late August. Now attendance doesn’t get back to pre-Easter numbers until October!” I’ve shared that comment with pastors nationwide, and I find agreement from large to small churches. That huge attendance and engagement you experience on Easter may dip seven days later. If you don’t take action to offset the decline in giving, you may struggle financially this summer.

2. Your past history – A look at your past summers will show how challenging it can be to make your budget in July. On Wall Street, there is a saying that the trend is your friend. They mean that you can make wise investment decisions based on the history of a company and its stock. Investors spend hours pouring over spreadsheets and reports looking for trends. The post-Easter slump is not a trend that is our friend but a trend that we ignore to our own peril. Your history is often the best indicator of your future.

3. Increased competition (i.e., Disney, lake, beach, sports, etc.) leading to declining engagement and participation – This is largely the reason for the post-Easter slump in giving. For many of your members, church in summer can be out of sight and out of mind. Less attendance/engagement means fewer dollars given.

4. If you are already behind in giving – If you are more than two to three weeks behind, I strongly recommend you do something to head off the summer slump. Summer won’t magically close the gap; it will only get worse. Hoping next week or next month will improve giving is not an effective strategy. The further you fall behind, the harder it is to catch up.

5. If you don’t have a strong fourth quarter – Some churches can run a week or two behind, knowing their last few months will be strong enough to carry them through their budget year. It’s always better to be ahead.

6. If you want to stay ahead – My hobby is running. While I am now much slower than my younger years, I learned that if I fall behind on my goal pace early in the race, it takes more energy to make up for the lost ground. The harder I must work, the less gas I have for a strong finish. My goal was to always stay ahead of my target time. The same principle works for churches. It takes continual work to ensure your church’s financial stability. Yet, that work assures you stay on pace, which makes hitting your budget numbers easier.

7. If you want to connect your summer vision to giving, moving everyone up the generosity ladder – A compelling vision of life change motivates people to give. For the typical church, summer is the key time for missions and ministry.

So, pretty much every church should have a summer giving plan! We are excited to support our church partners in their summer giving plans. If your digital giving provider doesn’t give you that kind of help, contact us at support@onlinegiving.org or (615) 206-4000.

At OnlineGiving.org, our passion is helping local churches. Through this blog, we give away lots of valuable information and tips that anyone can use. So, here is a tip that we have used successfully with churches of all sizes. Work to move as many of your donors as possible to set up their giving to be recurring. That way, whether they are in attendance or not, their gift shows up in the proverbial offering plate. Recurring giving will help even out your giving, allowing you to better manage your summer finances.

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Get ahead of the curve! That is one of what I call my “Brooks Mantras.” I’ve learned that the way to avoid running off the road when church life throws you a curve is to be prepared ahead of time. This post is your warning sign on the road that there are some curves we must navigate up ahead. Every year, from the Sunday after Easter until the fall, will present challenges in seeing giving stay at and above the levels needed to fund all God has put on your heart. Planning now puts you ahead of what potentially could be a challenging financial year. This is why, days before Easter, we want you to start thinking and planning to avoid the post-Easter slump in giving.