Engaging Non-Givers: 8 Strategies to Inspire a Generosity First Step


One of our greatest church leadership opportunities is inspiring non-givers to take a first step. In this post we evaluate 8 ideas to inspire generosity and transform non-givers into active supporters.

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Thursday, June 20, 2024, at 2:00 PM EST

How Many Non-Givers Attend Your Church?

Too many. Am I right?

But seriously, have you ever analyzed this metric? Evaluating your church membership or active database for non-givers can be very revealing.

In a typical church, about 37% of attendees don’t give at all. This is the overall average across all denominations (and non-denominations). If your church has a higher percentage of “church” people, the percentage might be slightly lower, but I doubt it.

When I was a lead pastor, our church was filled with formerly de-churched and unchurched people. The percentage of non-givers in our active database was much higher than 37%.

Whether it’s 20% or 60%, the number is too high.

Generosity fuels your church, but more importantly, it’s essential for a growing faith relationship with Jesus.

If we hope to grow disciples, we must inspire a generosity journey. This begins with the non-givers in our midst.

How to Engage Non-Givers on a Generosity Journey in Your Church

It’s not as easy as it was in the past.

When Christianity and the church were cultural norms, Christ-like behaviors such as giving were more prominent and expected. To engage people along a generosity journey in today’s cultural climate, we must rethink our approach. Yes, we’ll retain some previous strategies, but we must adopt new methods.

Here are 8 ways to inspire non-givers to take their first step toward generosity:

1. Celebrate Life Change (and Connect the Dots)

The best way to inspire action is to celebrate the results. When it comes to giving, people are more inclined to participate when the impact feels tangible and achievable. Real stories of how giving changed the lives of both the receiver and the giver make a significant difference.

2. Simplify the Process

Gone are the days of mailing “tithing envelopes” to the congregation. Today, we must provide clear, step-by-step instructions on how to give, both online and in person. This should include as many digital giving options as possible (e.g., church website, mobile app, text-to-give).

3. Offer Financial Education

Provide financial stewardship workshops or classes to help congregants manage their finances and understand the role of giving within their financial planning. Most people would benefit from a financial mentor. Why not position our churches in this needed space?

These first three aren’t all that new. The rest of this list may offer some new ideas:

4. Create a Giving Opportunity THROUGH Your Church, but NOT TO Your Church

Many non-givers are skeptical about how churches use money or believe “the church just wants my money.” Whether these are rational reasons or excuses, they are obstacles to giving. Overcome this by raising money for a community initiative and giving every penny to the cause.

Read more about this idea here.

5. Intentionally Mention Giving Every Week at Church

Yes, every week. I can provide scripts on how to do this effectively. The goal is to speak to a unique category of giver (or non-giver) each week, never using shame or guilt. Our aim is to inspire generosity as part of the discipleship journey.

6. Create a “Risk-Free” Opportunity

What if you offered people a three-month giving test with a full refund at the end if they “need” or miss the money? This idea might seem too secular, but remember, the people we hope to engage live in the secular world every day.

7. Launch a Capital Campaign

One often overlooked aspect of financial campaigns is the non-giver. Pastors typically focus on the largest donors, neglecting the many non-givers. Campaigns offer a practical, tangible, and emotional opportunity for first-time givers.

8. Target Non-Givers with Your Year-End Giving Ask

Instead of sending a standard communication to everyone, customize your year-end giving strategy to target segments of your church, including non-givers. Tailor the celebration, inspiration, and application for each segment.

Don’t Commit Spiritual Leadership Malpractice

Generosity is part of discipleship. For some, opening their financial world to God is the most significant step they can take. It’s our job to help them, but we need a plan to succeed.

Two Things Before We End…

  1. If you found this helpful, please share it with anyone in your circle who would benefit.
  2. I’m offering a FREE WEBINAR on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at 2:00 PM EST to help churches and pastors engage first-time givers.