In the summer, the temperature may be rising, but charitable giving is on the decline. Many factors play a part in this, including lower weekend attendance, vacation schedules, and summer distractions.
It turns out that contributions entered by Fellowship One churches in June, July and August of 2013 were down 13% over the previous three months!
The most obvious answer for giving slumps during summer months is that attendance is down. However, if we know attendance is going to be lower as people go on vacation, resulting in less contributions being made, why don’t we do something to keep it from happening?
We’ve discovered several key reasons that churches see a decline in giving over the summer:
Reactive vs. Proactive
Doesn’t it seem like there’s always something demanding your attention? Does the tyranny of the urgent keep you from planning in advance? If that’s you, then you’re most likely reacting to the summer slump too late to have any real impact.
Lack of Resource Management
Many churches fail to do forecast budgeting. Not allocating funds before they’re given means failing to fund important ministry initiatives and missions. Summer giving trends need to be accounted for during the budgeting process, not when resource issues start to cause pain.
Uncertainty and Doubt
Many churches just don’t know what to do, or they think it’s not possible to really make an impact. Or maybe it just seems too complicated. Unfortunately, simply “hoping” that things will get better is not a strategy!
Even though they know the budget takes a hit EVERY summer, many churches still fail to come up with an action plan.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, here are some simple steps your church can take to impact this summer’s decline and eliminate its impact in coming year?
Summer Appeal letter
People still open mail! Especially when it’s from someone they know and trust. Take an opportunity this summer to remind donors why they should be faithful with their gifts throughout the summer. Be sure to address the ministry taking place in the summer not just the expenses that are mounting up. Make it easy for them by including a postage-paid envelope where you only pay the postage if they mail it back. Many will do so and it will pay for itself!
Use your Facebook and Twitter presence to build relationships with your members and community. Show pictures of the ministry taking place and provide links to help support those ministries.
Few people carry cash or checks these days. The best and most proven way to avoid the summer slump is to set up online giving. Promote your online giving platform in May to help remind people to give even if they aren’t at church to do so. Even more effective than that is to choose an online giving solution that offers “scheduled giving” options. Communicate with everyone, but especially to your consistent givers, encouraging them to set up their giving schedules online. Regular, systematic giving is the key to avoiding a budget meltdown due to the summer heat!
These ideas are just a jumping off point! Use them to fuel a conversation with your team and develop your own action plan.
Need Information on Rolling out Online Giving at Your Church?
If Online Giving is not a solution you are currently offering to your church, Fellowship One Online Giving offers convenience, cost effectiveness, and consistency. Regularly scheduled online giving lowers the church’s administrative costs, typically increases the total amount given, and often levels out seasonal giving lulls.