How to Reverse the Decline in Giving

How to Reverse the Decline in Giving

I wrote the following for You can read it and all my other writing at,

Since 1968, Americans have given less of their disposable incomes to their church while their incomes have risen. Those are the findings from a recent report from empty tomb, inc., a group that tracks giving. Their most recent report tracks giving through 2020. They report that in 1968, Americans gave 3.02% of their disposable incomes to churches, but by 2020 that number was down 39% to 1.83%. The irony is that Americans’ incomes in 2020 increased 182% over what they made in 1968.1. We are making more money but giving less away.

How do you reverse this decline in giving? My view is that it is accomplished one church at a time. One of my mantras to my clients is that if you want to increase giving, you must make it easy and fun. Let me expand on each of those two major strategies.

First, make it easy for them to give. Now more than ever, it is easy to make giving easy. Americans love options, and this includes how they do commerce. Today fewer checks are written, and most carry little to no cash upon their person. Technology is threatening the use of plastic cards, with over 90% of adult Americans carrying a smart device that allows them to carry on commerce almost instantly. We must give our members and attendees the means to give what they most enjoy. The easier you make it for people to give, the more apt they will be to give. This is why we offer 15 different ways by which you can give through platforms.

Could expanding your options increase your giving? By scheduling a free consultation, we will show you how our systems and platforms will save you time and money. Contact us at (615) 206-4000 or at We can help you make giving easy for you.

The second and most important strategy is to show people how fun giving can be. How can giving up my hard-earned cash be fun? Well, think about it, you spend a lot of money to have fun. From going to the beach to Six Flags or a weekend movie, Americans spend a lot of money on fun things. We must help people understand how giving to a church can be fun.

Giving becomes fun when I realize what my gift accomplishes. Let’s change the conversation about giving. We need to focus more on what giving accomplishes than focusing on what I call “ought to” giving. Most of your members know they “ought to” give. They need to see the results of their giving. You must teach that giving it is not about money, it is about Missions and Ministry! If you want to reverse the decline in giving, you need a vision that motivates people to want to give. Why?

Dollars follow vision. Big visions get big dollars. Do you know what else follows vision? People. The more people you have, the more dollars you can raise. The more dollars you raise, the easier ministry is. Since dollars follow vision, it is vital that the story and message you communicate connect with people. We call that the Connecting Power of Vision.

What is vision? My friend, Herb Buwalda, came up with the best definition. He says, “Mission,” answers the question, “Why are you here?” “Vision” answers, “Where are you going; What is God asking of you now to impact the mission?”

To successfully use the connecting power of vision, always run your appeals through what I call …

The Three C’s of Vision – Your vision must contain these three C’s to be heard. Your vision needs to be:

  1. Clear – Keep It Simple Somehow!
  2. Concise – Can people repeat in two to three sentences what you ask them to give to? If not, then you need to work on the “ask.”
  3. Compelling – Does it touch their heart? If not, then the response will be less than you hoped for.’s platform is designed to help you share your vision and tell your story. Our systems not only make giving easy, but we give you multiple ways to communicate the value of a gift given to your church, thus making giving meaningful and fun.

Here is a thought, this weekend, as you take up the offering, think of how to make giving easy and fun. Doing this might see an increase in your offerings. An increase in your offering allows you to do more missions and ministry! If you doubt that, consider this quote from the empty tomb report.

“If the same portion of income had been donated in 2020 as was donated in 1968, aggregate Total Contributions would have been $35.9 billion for the denominations in the study compared to the $22 billion that did come in.”2.

It makes you wonder what could have been accomplished with $13.9 billion more. How much giving is lost at your church simply because giving is not easy and fun? If you are ready to reverse the decline in giving, contact us at or (615) 206-4000, and we will help you get started making giving fun and easy!

  1. Ronsvalle, John and Sylvia Ronsvalle. The State of Church Giving through 2020. empty tomb, inc. Champaign, IL page 13
  2. Ibid, page 17

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