Alan Wildes

Alan Wildes

10 ways to avoid the summer giving slump – Guest post – Steve Caton

I have been asking people I trust to guest post on my blog about electronic giving and generosity in general.  Tim Cool of Visioneering Studios guest posted for me a couple of weeks ago and helped instigate some great conversations.  Thanks Tim for your efforts.

I also reached out to Steve Caton of Community Church Builder and he chose to write on a subject near and dear to me; how to proactively avoid the radical effects of the summer attendance/giving swoon.  Thanks to Steve for his time and expertise.  Enjoy! 

Summer is almost here. You’ve thought about it. I know you have. Your church business administrator is probably warning you about it, too. What am I talking about? Yep. The summer giving slump.

It happens in every church, every year. And yet some churches still think if they just pray hard enough, then it magically won’t happen.

When it does, it hurts and we just hang on until it ends sometime in September. The good news is that we’ve done some research and uncovered some churches who have significantly changed their giving cycles by implementing a more strategic approach to online giving. We published what we discovered in a recent case study. (Note: To access the case study, you’ll need to “Like” Church Community Builder’s Facebook page.)

While you’re downloading the case study, here are 10 ideas to help you avoid (or at least overcome) the summer giving slump:

  1. Capture email addresses…today. Make sure they’re up to date.
  2. Utilize video messaging services. When you can’t be there, the best substitute is feeling like the pastor is talking to you. It comes off much stronger than just another text-based email. People always give to people who ask, not good information that is intellectually stimulating. Check out the tools developed by BombBomb. They support video with ease and are integrated with the top church management solutions.
  3. Talk about online giving in every weekend service…before, during, and after summer. They’ve forgotten about it since last Sunday. Trust me on this. It is easy to weave this into that time where you express gratitude for people’s generosity before the offering. (You do that, right?)
  4. Silence online giving skeptics by asking the leadership–staff and unpaid–to give online. The pastor should participate, too. Lead by example!
  5. Encourage recurring giving participation during new member’s class. Let people know that generosity is a core value of your church. Help them navigate the different options. Don’t leave this to chance.
  6. Leverage paper and stamps.  Research exists that indicates some people still prefer the printed appeal but will also respond online if you offer that choice.
  7. Offer multiple giving options. Not everyone should give online. There are many Bible translations. Why can’t there be multiple giving options?
  8. Send regular updates to remind people that ministry still happens even if they are not there. People give to life change. Be sure you are sharing stories about ministry impact on a regular basis.
  9. Update your offering envelopes in the pews to include a box to check that says, “I gave online.” This is a simple, subtle way to let others–even guests–know they can be generous with your church online and during the Worship service.
  10. Place online giving on your home page. Make it easy to find. Nothing is more frustrating than when you want to give online and can’t find the button. People are going to give, why not make it easy for them to be faithful in their giving through your church?

What ideas do you have about how online giving can help you avoid the summer giving slump in your church?

Steve Caton is the vice president for sales and marketing at Church Community Builder.

You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Steve also posts regularly on his blog, Church Community Matters.

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