Giving to Get
Sometimes the best ideas of the least intuitive.
That’s the case for engaging non-givers in your church to take a first step.
Let’s start with two church generosity questions:
- What percentage of active households give to your church? (You should know this number!)
- What is your specific plan to engage these financially disengaged people?
Engaging the Financially Disengaged
I was perpetually shocked by the number of people not giving to our church when I was a lead pastor.
I knew so many of these people. They loved our church. They invited people to our church. Their children loved our church. Many of them were baptized in our church.
Yet they remained financially disengaged.
I don’t mean to judge, but it wasn’t a financial problem. I spent time in many of their houses, rode in their German cars, and felt envious of their European vacations. These people could give. They choose not to give.
You know people like this, as well. They love your church, but they aren’t financially committed. It’s not that you’ve ignored the subject publicly and even privately. You’ve preached about generosity. You think givers every week, too. But for some reason, these people seem entirely resistant to opening their financial hands to their church.
To understand how to engage these people on a generosity journey, we must first understand why they remain disengaged.
Why Don’t People Give To Their Church?
Perhaps there are as many reasons as non-givers.
Some giving issues are outside of our immediate control, like financial hardship. But these issues are minimal. The more likely candidates for financial disengagement are:
- Lack of trust or transparency: Some people may be hesitant to give to their church if they do not trust how the money is being used or if they feel there is a lack of transparency regarding the church’s finances. This is especially significant for people who have been burned through generosity in the past.
- Dissatisfaction with church leadership: Some people may choose not to give to their church if they are dissatisfied with the leadership, the direction of the church, or how it is being run.
- Personal beliefs: Some people may have personal views that conflict with the teachings of their church or the way that the church is using its funds, which may lead them to choose not to give.
- Lack of engagement: People who do not feel connected to their church community may be less likely to give, as they may not feel invested in the church’s mission or its financial needs.
While these reasons are frustrating for church leaders, they can be directly addressed.
Inspiring Non-Givers to Become Church Tippers
Generosity is a journey. As a church leader, it’s your job to lead people along a discipleship pathway that includes growing in generosity. It’s spiritual malpractice to ignore the heart of giving.
Engaging people in your church along a generosity journey requires they take giving steps. Like most journeys, the first step is often the most challenging step. And that’s true for generosity.
The first step of generosity is complex due to the obstacles that must be first addressed. As we said, trust, transparency, and an overall lack of engagement keep people on the financial sidelines. I hate to say it, but passing an offering bucket or preaching once a year on giving won’t move the needle for the disengaged. We must address their obstacles to inspire their first generosity step. Here’s the secret that inspires the first step of generosity:
Ask non-givers to give through your church to something outside of our church.
Think about it.
Tipping (giving a few dollars to a practical need or for a specific ask) is the first step of a generosity journey. People don’t step from not giving to priority, percentage giving. Non-givers need an accessible, practical, tangible, and emotional step.
That’s the power of giving through your church to something outside of your church.
To create this step, you only need to create an opportunity for people to specify giving for something beyond your church. Here are some simple steps to follow:
- Select an organization, non-profit, etc., from your community doing great work. This organization needs to be trustworthy to help you grow the trust of your non-givers. If you need ideas, find a food pantry, homeless shelter, or ask a local school how you can help.
- Select a Sunday to support this effort.
- Create a dropdown selection via your online giving platform, use a QR code, have a text-to-give number dedicated to this effort, or use old-school envelopes to ensure giving for this purpose is separated from regular giving.
- Promote the effort the week before and make giving easy on the collection day. Use stories from the organization to activate participation. Remember, the ask needs to be highly practical and emotional.
- Focus on participation, not dollars. It helps to make the financial contribution relatively small. Asking everyone to give $5 to this effort is easy.
Making Generosity First-Steps Systematic
If you do this ONE time, many non-givers will participate. But remember, we’re trying to establish the first step of many. Systems simplify steps. Here are some systematic suggestions to make the most of this type of first step:
- Make this a monthly moment, focusing on a different organization or need each month.
- Brand these days. Many churches I work with do this every fourth Sunday of the month, calling it “$4, FOR our Community, every Fourth Sunday.” Another church client calls the first Sunday of the month “Love Does Sunday.” Offering a monthly opportunity allows you to highlight stories from the previous month to activate participation for the next month.
- Use an email nurture sequence to follow up with all first-time givers. Email 1: Thank them for participating and highlight the organization or need they supported. Email 2: Highlight a story from a ministry space in your church. And Email 3: Ask them to consider giving to their church.
What You Can Expect
If you read this and worry that your current givers will abandon generosity to your church and begin giving to these other organizations instead, I get it. That’s a natural response. But it is also somewhat founded upon scarcity.
Think about it. All the non-givers currently in your church aren’t giving anyway. A moment like this can build trust and give them a reason to financially test generosity. Most of your current givers will give over and above what they already give. Again, we’re only asking for a few dollars. Finally, a few people could divert all or most of their regular giving to this moment or to the organization. This rarely happens, but in time, the volume of new givers beginning their generosity journey will make up for the few losses.
The results Speak for Themselves
This is more than just a good idea. It’s a proven system that is a part of the Funding Funnel that Funds Your Church.
Bryant Golden is the senior pastor at Centerpoint Church in Tampa, Florida. Bryant launched a monthly “For the City” campaign last fall, where they invite everyone in their church to give to a different community organization or need on the fourth Sunday of each month. Here’s what they experienced:
- 206% Increase in NEW GIVERS
- 62% Increase in TOTAL GIVERS
- 26% Growth in TOTAL GIVING
- 112% Increase in RECURRING GIVERS
It may be coincidental, but:
- ATTENDANCE grew by 48%
- SERVING increased by 13%
By creating a first step along the generosity journey, Centerpoint Church is experiencing a massive increase in first-time givers, total givers, recurring givers, and every other giving metric (and engagement metrics).
Where Should You Begin?
The Funding Funnel is a proven system that helps churches understand the five categories of givers currently in the church and creates a journey that inspires everyone to their best next generosity step.
ONLY A FEW SPOTS REMAIN!
I’m so confident that this system will help you that I’ll guarantee it. I’ll refund your investment if you implement the system and don’t see progress.
Before we go, here are 2 other articles that may help:
- 5 Actions that Can Close The Generosity Gap
- 5 Ways the Current Financial Tension Can HELP Your Church
- Fixing, “The Church Just Wants My Money!”
I hope you’ll jump into this next group,
NEW CHURCH FUNDING MASTERCLASSES BEGINS MAY 4!
In this masterclass, we will focus on the categories of givers that currently exist in your church and how to best systematically inspire them forward in their generosity journey.
- PLUS One Individual Session.
- That’s 6 HOURS of time we’ll spend together!
- Groups limited to 10 churches to increase the personalization.
- Don’t worry if you miss a session! Recorded replays are available to all participants.
- Plus, FREE RESOURCES, including The Funding Funnel Planning 12-Month Template, Category Boundary Descriptions, Vision Scripts and Content Creation Templates, Thank You Systems and Ideas, Email Templates and Samples, and Segmentation Ideas to target your communications.