4 Quick Questions That Could Increase Your Summer Church Donations

Are you already planning your summer vacation? You can bet your members are, too, and you know how that impacts your summer church donations.aquariumIn our 10 years of experience serving churches, we’ve seen giving contributions drop as much as 15% during the summer months. 
It doesn’t have to be that way!

Continue reading «4 Quick Questions That Could Increase Your Summer Church Donations»

What Would Your Church Do with a Gift of $10 Million?

gift of moneyIf you read our last blog containing church management “math hacks,” you may already be aware that large, unexpected gifts should be kept separate from your general budget. But that doesn’t mean they don’t require intentional thought.

Everyone dreams of that ridiculously large gift that comes out of nowhere, the one that allows all their ministry dreams to materialize. Continue reading «What Would Your Church Do with a Gift of Million?»

5 Church Management “Math Hacks” You Should Consider

S While we do consider ourselves to be knowledgable about church management, we’re the first to admit that we have some very clever church partners. We learn from them all time! We’re also continually analyzing our aggregate data for patterns and ideas that even we can’t see with the naked eye.

Do the Math

We recently published a blogpost on the compelling math around our churches’ Easter visitors last year. There are a few other stealth numbers that could be hiding from you and skewing your perception and decisions:


Math Hack #1: Build a More Reliable Budget

We helped one Texas church analyze contributor levels above and below the $500 gift mark separately. They discovered that organizational gifts were typically above $500, but they came in sporadically. They did the math and learned that 70% of their giving was coming from 6% of their donors, and that they were building their budget around these unpredictable influxes.

Application: Separate regular giving from unexpected gifts and plan budgets around what is typical. (Have a plan for extra gifts, too, so it won’t get frittered away. See our next blogpost: What would your church do with a $10 million gift?)


Math Hack #2: Plan sermon series around actual attendance

Another church guesstimated that 15% of their kids were attending their childrens’ classes at least 50% of the time. Actual reports showed that it was closer to 3%. We did the math in our data and learned that 75% of members attend 25% of the time and consider themselves “regular attenders”.

Application: If a pastor plans an 8-10 week sermon series, the majority of attendees are catching only 1/4 of the whole picture. Find out what’s happening with your church’s attendance and plan sermon series accordingly!


Math Hack #3: Know the cost of member retention vs. visitor attraction

Our records consistently show–across all size churches–that member giving rates per gift are 2 1/2 to 3 times higher than attendee gifts. In the effort to attract and assimilate visitors into members, don’t neglect current member attrition rates.

Application: From a financial perspective, as well as loyalty, connectedness, volunteerism, and leadership growth standpoint, one member (bird in hand) could very well equal 2 visitors (birds in bush). Keep your fingers on the pulse of member back-door rates and explore the why.


Math Hack #4: Save some trees–and a lot of time and money (see a sample of how this works)

Eastlake Church in California agreed to let us tell their story of why they came back to Fellowship One after leaving for a competitor to save money. One of the first things they did for their 6,000-member, 8-campus church when they returned was move all their giving statements online. They saved $20,000 their first year! Plus lots of time and a lot of trees (stamps, envelopes, paper). Members didn’t complain, but if they had, it wouldn’t have been a big deal to print out the occasional statement.

Application: Automate whatever can be automated. Make it a win-win for members and staff.


Math Hack #5: Protect your church from risk

The  cost of risky practices and failure to plan for risk is incalculable, so it’s hard to do that math. But the costs are real–both financially and in terms of human suffering and consequences. Churches are often at risk just because they are open, friendly, trusting, thrifty, and…naive. For example:

  • Are you vetting all volunteers with automatic background checks?
  • Are you emailing sensitive childrens’ information to volunteers rather than having them login to learn what they need to know?
  • Are you scanning checks and saving the data to a desktop or private server?
  • Are you posting kids pics from camp on social media? (see legal guidelines)
  • Are you copying song lyrics into a camp songbook? (see church copyright guidelines)
  • Do you have an Emergency Action Plan? (see how to create an Emergency Action Plan)

When New Life Church in Colorado Springs experienced deadly force at their church–a pastor’s worst nightmare–their security team was critical in saving lives. Two girls died in the parking lot, but the gunman’s open fire in the children’s hallway with an assault-type rifle triggered the response team into action, preventing further injury. Since then, they’ve escalated their security plan to cover a variety of threats.

Application: From a business perspective, leaders can mitigate risk by:


Got Hacks? We’d love to hear your tips, tricks, and hacks for church management. Share with us?

Have Your Church’s Facebook Numbers Gone Down?

small group holding hands

Like it or not, we all tend to rely on the numbers to let us know if we’re effectively engaging with our friends and followers on social media. However, Facebook makes a lot of changes and it’s hard to keep up with them all so, if you’re scratching your head about why something’s happening there, we can clear up at least one mystery for you.

If you’ve recently seen a decline in your church’s Facebook numbers, starting around March 12 or 13, it’s not your lack of wit, your social savvy, the disappearance of your church members, or your imagination. Continue reading «Have Your Church’s Facebook Numbers Gone Down?»

Countdown to Easter: Do the Math

Most churches have been feverishly preparing for Easter for weeks and months. In the final countdown, plastic eggs are being stuffed, logistics are being finalized, the stage is being set to impact lives with the Greatest Story Ever Told.

Here at Fellowship One, you might have noticed that we’ve been focusing quite a bit on the visitor aspect of Easter. It’s because the numbers from last year tell a pretty compelling story as well:
2014 Easter Numbers Infographic
Continue reading «Countdown to Easter: Do the Math»

How Starbucks has Changed the Church Coffee Hour


Back before Starbucks, lattes and cafés, all anyone needed to stay happy was a cup of whatever coffee was dumped into the machine and a splash of half and half. Over the past few decades, coffee has become not just a drink, but an experience. People enjoy the atmosphere, the camaraderie and the ambiance a coffee shop brings. Continue reading «How Starbucks has Changed the Church Coffee Hour»

ACTIVEkids Joins our One-Stop Destination Line-up

ACTIVEkids_Octopus_A_Icon_4C_PurpleFellowship One is part of the ACTIVE Network, a global organization that specializes in online registration software for many types of markets. We typically share information here related just to churches, but I’m excited to tell you about something church members might be interested in for their other pursuits. Continue reading «ACTIVEkids Joins our One-Stop Destination Line-up»

Most Church Members Aren’t Friendly

Most church members aren't friendly

[Click to tweet this image]

The Lent and Easter season brings new faces to church for so many different reasons. Some are there to refocus, some are new to faith, some show up for a feeling of obligation. No matter the reason, these faces are entering into your home, and hospitality is every member’s responsibility.

The problem is not that church members aren’t friendly. They ARE, in fact, quite friendly.

Continue reading «Most Church Members Aren’t Friendly»

3 Ways to Join the Easter Visitor Follow-up Conversation

Judging by the incredible response we had to our recent Easter Visitor Follow-up webinar, it’s clear that many churches are realizing the great opportunity—and responsibility—that goes along with the enormous wave of new faces Easter brings to churches.

More than 600 people took part in the conversation, looking for learnings they could incorporate now to do a better job of engaging their church’s visitors on Easter weekend. Why? In hopes of making real connections that change lives. We all know we have to do a better job of this. Continue reading «3 Ways to Join the Easter Visitor Follow-up Conversation»