Half Time for Giving

Half Time for Giving

We’re now halfway through the year, and it’s time to assess the state of giving in your church. Are you meeting your budgeted needs, or are you falling behind? Based on my experience, most churches are struggling to meet their budget needs by this point in the year. My general advice is that if you’re over two weeks behind in giving, taking immediate action to reverse that decline is crucial. So, what steps can you take? Here are some suggestions…

First, keep abreast of how your giving is doing. When I asked how giving was going at your church, did you know the answer? I find most church leaders don’t know the current state of giving. How can you successfully manage any organization if you don’t know its financial status? So, my first suggestion is to stay current on how giving is going.

At OnlineGiving.org, we provide our clients with a dashboard of up-to-date information about their current giving state. Our clients can then devise strategies to meet the needs the data shows need to be addressed. The key to staying current on giving is never falling behind. We help you know how giving is doing. For more on our ability to track giving, see this post: https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/the-importance-of-knowing-your-giving-metrics.

When you find yourself falling behind, it’s crucial to take a proactive approach. It could be due to unfavorable weather or an increased budget. However, if you’re more than two weeks behind budget, it’s unlikely that the weather is the sole reason. Identifying the cause of your shortfall may not immediately solve the problem, but it can prevent a recurrence in the future. This proactive approach is key to maintaining financial stability in your church.

Without a plan of action or a huge influx of money, it is doubtful that you can close a large gap.Most churches see a rise in fourth-quarter giving that ultimately can close a giving gap. However, in my experience, it isn’t very likely for most churches to make up more than a 10% shortfall in their budget. If you are more than 10% behind or more than two weeks behind, I advise an immediate action plan to reverse your decline so the gap doesn’t become larger and thus impossible to close.

Have a positive plan to bring in as much as possible. In most churches, stewardship is rarely mentioned or focused on. Seldom is there a sermon on giving. Without a plan of action, you are planning on failing. While you might not close the gap at your church, you can still raise significant dollars. Here are some things I would do if you are over two weeks behind budget…

  • Consider revising the rest of this year’s budget. You will not make it, so why keep it as a mark you cannot hit?
  • Preach a positive sermon series on stewardship. Ensure the messages are not guilt-ridden or desperate sounding, but help members see the benefit of their gifts for the church and themselves.
  • Use every offering time as a stewardship teaching moment. Here is a post on how to do that: https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/connecting-the-dots-for-donors
  • Incorporate lay testimonies into your service, showing the positive benefits of giving.
  • Focus weekly on a church ministry and tell how members’ gifts support that cause.
  • Prepare a compelling appeal letter or email focusing on the church’s positive activities and asking members to give. Here is a post that talks about how: https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/how-to-make-appeals-appealing

Let me end by asking the question I began with, how is giving going at your church? Sitting around wringing your hands will not close the gap. Nor will desperate appeals work. If you are behind, think of a plan of action to allow you to end the year on the best footing possible. Then, start planning for a realistic budget for next year and an aggressive stewardship plan of action.

At OnlineGiving.org, we provide the tools to make up for any giving gap you are experiencing. Our platform is perfect for all of the above. To have us show you a demonstration for free, contact us at (615) 206-4000 or at support@onlinegiving.org.

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