I am a big fan of the Barna group. They provide solid and accurate data regarding the church world. I am obviously most interested in their studies dealing with christians and generosity. The Barna Group has put out a 3 part series “The Economy’s Impact” to look at the way the recent economic conditions has affected giving to non-profits and particulary churches in America. http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/18-congregations/341-the-economys-impact-part-3-of-3-donors-reduce-giving-brace-for-the-long-haul
The study is certainly not an optimistic one, but is very straight forward in it’s reporting and findings. It shares that most christians interviewed for the survey feel that economic recovery is going to take two to three years. One very encouraging finding to read was that people in the study who were tithing prior to the economic downturn are still tithing. This finding reinforces the pressing need for our churches to teach the biblical principles of tithing.
David Kinnaman, President of the Barna Group, commented on the donor environment and offered these words:
“The implication is that church and non-profit leaders should prepare for another lean year. Response to this reality suggests avoiding high-risk and untested fundraising efforts and communicating effectively with constituents. In addition, consider proactive financial management, including adjusting income expectations. Avoid using traditional financial projections as reluctant donors are likely to cut back on the number of organizations and frequency of their support. One of the fundamentals is relentlessly addressing six donor motivations – as identified in previous work by the Barna team – including:
1. operating efficiently
2. featuring the compelling cause at the core of your work
3. communicating the urgency of the need
4. nurturing personal relationships with donors
5. demonstrating transformational impact
6. helping contributors feel a sense of personal benefit from giving.
These appear to be as important as ever as donors scale back their giving.”
How is your church addressing these six donor motivations. Every church needs a generosity game plan.