Imagine that your church no longer had to worry about seasonal fluctuations in donations; instead, you had a reliable stream of monthly revenue. Financing your goals would be a lot less stressful and forecasting your budget would be a lot easier. You’re not alone. A lot of churches are affected by lulls in giving. In fact, 86% of churches 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 of the activities, missions, and events they need to propel their ministries forward. So, what could the other 14% be doing differently to make their goals?
It’s simple. They’re offering monthly recurring giving.
Recurring giving is pretty much exactly as it sounds. Donors schedule their gifts to come out regularly – usually monthly, but it could be weekly or quarterly as well. This differs from regular donations, or pledges, in that the donor is giving your church permission to draft directly from a bank account or charge a card, either indefinitely or for a set period of time.
Sounds simple enough, right? However, you might still be wondering how this could spark and kindle the giving spirit at your church. Here are the top 3 ways recurring giving can change up and transform your current giving program, engage your members, and increase your ministry:
1. Increases Donations
Your members want to support your church and see it grow. However, 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 given the option to give one time, many will rise to that occasion without realizing that the church’s needs exist far beyond the value of that one gift. If we only ask members to give a one-time donation, then that is exactly what they will give. When we give congregants the information and tools to set up automatic recurring donations, they give more faithfully. It’s proven. Just recently, an independent study reported that a donor using recurring giving will, on average, gives 42% more than a donor using a one-off option.
Additionally, monthly online recurring giving grew 32% last year. This growth is further proof that recurring giving is an option that donors want. It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Donors want to give. They just need the right tools to make it easier and more automated as they incorporate it into a regular part of their faith life.
2. Improves Budget Forecasting
For churches of all sizes, donations roll in regularly during the last 2 months of the year. Then, things start to slow a bit. Come summer, attendance and giving can even become stagnant. Between work, kids’ soccer games, and travel, giving can fall far from being the first thing on your members’ minds. By offering churchgoers the option to use recurring giving, you will reduce the chance of your members forgetting to set up their gifts just by making the process of giving easier.
Imagine being able to keep the summer slump and holiday travel from slowing down your ministry. You still have a stream of donations coming in whether people are there to put cash in the offering plate or not. This consistency means more accurate budget forecasting and more level amounts of donations from month to month. Finishing a new building project or sending your youth group on a mission trip wouldn’t have to remain on the wish list until the next big wave of giving. Those activities would be possible to do any time of the year. Simply put, recurring giving is the best way to keep the generosity flowing throughout the entire year.
Let’s do some quick math to illustrate how recurring giving can lead to more consistent giving levels. Your average church member only attends 37 weeks out of the year. That leaves 15 weeks they’re not at service to put money in the offering plate. Studies show the average recurring gift amount is about $50. So, we’ll use that amount to finish out this example. If one of your members gave $50 during every attended Sunday service, that member would end up donating $1,850 annually.
However, those donations are sporadic, and it’s hard to predict exactly when they will be received. Now, if that same member was able to set up automatic weekly donations, that would bring the individual’s annual giving amount to $2,600. That’s an increase of $750. And, because it’s scheduled every week, you would always know when it’s going to come in. Think about all the things your church could do with that increase and with the ability to precisely forecast when donations would be received.
3. Connects 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 their church family. Recurring giving is a good 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, no matter if they can afford to give a lot or a little.
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 now, 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.
Monthly recurring donations are quickly becoming a major part of giving for churches everywhere. Besides providing the peace of mind that comes with stable revenue, recurring donors are also more likely to be retained year over year. Having 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.
easyTithe customers already have recurring options built right into their plan. Launch a successful monthly online giving program with helpful resources located in your control panel, such as the how-to guide for online giving.