Churches are no stranger to the summer slump. In fact, attendance drops an average of 28% in June and July. Summer vacations and outdoor activities can distract even the most avid churchgoer, and fewer attendees often lead to a decrease in giving as well. But, you don’t have to throw your hands up in defeat! We have 5 tried and true strategies to help you avoid the summer giving and attendance slump at your church.
1. Offer multiple online giving options
Remember, people don’t have to be in church to give! For those that travel in the summer, have multiple online giving options available. This way, they can give from vacation destinations as easily as they can donate from home or at church.
If you already have a branded website page for church giving, add a mobile giving app. Mobile gifts had the most significant incline last August and made up 23.3% of all online donations that month. Don’t forget text giving and using a Facebook giving app on your church’s page as well!
The key to avoiding the summer giving slump with this strategy is to remind your church family what online giving options you have and how to access them. There are plenty of opportunities for this. For example, incorporate online giving links into newsletters and emails, and mention them on social media and in sermons.
2. Stay connected on social media
This summer, try posting more on social media. Regular attendees appreciate seeing the church in action at community events and Sunday gatherings, especially when the churchgoer is away on vacation. Seeing these images and posts can ignite generosity or serve as a friendly reminder to give. With multiple online giving options set up, churchgoers can donate straight from their smartphone, tablet, or computer when (and where) they feel inspired.
3. Get active outdoors
People love spending time outdoors in the summer – even when the weather is at its hottest! And that’s what makes summer the ideal time for the church to host an outdoor event or activity. Even something as simple as a sunrise sermon given in an outside setting or a picnic with field day games can be effective.
Spread the word on social media and your website and ask churchgoers to invite a friend or neighbor to the event. One or two events that increase church attendance in the summer can help enable your mission and keep you on track for yearly goals.
4. Encourage recurring giving
Even if you’re getting a late jump on summer planning, emphasize your recurring giving program. Monthly giving grew 32% last year because donors are catching on to the many benefits. There’s no guilt or loss of connection with the church because they missed a Sunday service while on vacation or forgot to tithe on the busy weekend of their family reunion. It’s a one-time setup, and then churchgoers can monitor it at their convenience.
Recurring giving is also extremely beneficial to the church because it’s a predictable source of income and the retention rate is high. Recurring gifts are incredibly easy to process, track, and record with our online giving platform.
The primary drawback of recurring giving is that donors have to be informed the program exists! One great way to do this is to make the program unique. For instance, plan an annual luncheon for recurring givers highlighting all the good their gifts have done in the community. Also, try sending a monthly newsletter on how the church furthers their mission through the recurring donations.
Once you have something special lined up for recurring givers, send out invitations via email or in person that details the program and how to sign up. Be sure to promote the recurring giving program in sermons, emails, on your website, and at church events. By spreading the word, people become more familiar and comfortable donating to the church this way.
5. Set small, achievable summertime goals
It’s hard to predict how the overall summer will go. But, with small, achievable summertime goals set for the church, you’ll have a much better idea of what to expect as each page of the calendar turns. Write down your goals this summer regarding giving and attendance for Sunday services and special events. Then create a plan designed to reach those goals with actionable steps.
Perhaps you hope to see one Sunday a month exceed others in giving and crowd size to help balance slower summer services. For that particular Sunday, take extra measures to reach your goals like sending out personalized invitations, encouraging active churchgoers to ask friends to join, and inviting a special guest to sing at the service.
For all of the tips above, remember to monitor your progress, adjust your summer plan when it isn’t as fruitful as you would like, and to celebrate the small victories.
Let easyTithe help you avoid the summer slump this year! Our online giving tools make it simple for people to give all summer long. Contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1-888-778-4843.