Five Ways to Counteract the Summer Giving Slump

Communication+Generosity // May 3, 2018

For most churches, summer vacations bring a dreaded trend: Attendance wavers more than usual and giving declines. And with the exception of the most mature givers, people simply don’t make up that giving when they return. The result? We lose valuable ministry revenue. Fortunately, you can take five very simple steps to counteract the summer giving slump.

Step 1: Promote Online Giving (Again)

I know you did this when you first launched your online giving platform. But how long ago was that? The convenience of giving electronically is widely known today, and you’ve likely had your giving portal in place for quite some time. When is the last time you did a strong promotion to engage more giving electronically? May is the perfect time to do so, allowing those traveling in June, July, and August to have an effective way to continue giving while away.

Leverage all of your communication methods for this promotion! A bulletin insert, your weekly e-newsletter, the pastor’s video blog, worship announcements, and social media are all appropriate channels to host this promotion.

Step 2: Leaders Go First

As part of your online giving promotion, do a demonstration from the platform in worship for the next couple of weekends. Talk about why you and your family choose to give electronically, and be sure to mention that’s why people don’t see you putting your gift in the offering basket. (Yes, some are wondering why they never see you putting a gift in the offering basket!) Put screenshots of the process on your screens. Walk them through it as if they are seeing if for the very first time. Don’t gloss over this too quickly.

Step 3: Promote Recurring Giving

While you’re doing the demo, show them how easy it is to make their gift recurring and automated. Once in place, their giving shows up regularly whether they’re in attendance or not, and they don’t have to think about it while they’re enjoying their vacation. Churches who have promoted this well see a much flatter giving curve during the year, with less of a dip in the summer.

If you aren’t convinced of the power of recurring giving, learn more from this free eBook.

Step 4: Send a Giving Statement

In late May, send out a giving statement. Include a vibrant cover letter reviewing ministry successes over the last few months. Then, discuss the importance of ongoing ministry while people enjoy some time away during the summer. Encourage them to get ahead of their giving before leaving for vacation. Use this space to encourage them to get setup online giving and to implement a recurring gift. Include easy-to-follow directions and screenshots.

Need some help with crafting a mission-enhancing giving statement? Check out this free eBook.

Step 5: Promote Signups for Your E-Newsletter

It’s important to help people stay connected while they’re away. In the e-newsletter, provide links to your online giving platform. Make it easy for them.

The Summer Giving Slump is Not Inevitable

When our people are away from our church buildings for any reason, we expect they’ll continue engaging in various spiritual disciplines, right? When people are on business trips, we hope they’ll continue to read their daily devotionals. When folks are ill, we hope they’ll still pray. When families are at weekend softball tournaments, we hope they’ll be in community with people, showing Jesus to everyone around them. Why would we not encourage them to continue the spiritual discipline of generosity, just because they’re on an epic summer road trip?

Technology and communication are key components of an effective summer giving strategy. I’ve written a couple of eBooks to help you use both tools to grow generosity in your ministry. Check them out for free: Generosity Speaks: Designing Communication to Impact Giving and Leveraging Technology to Accelerate GivingPrefer more customized help with your strategy? Start by taking one my communication survey or technology survey, and I’ll prepare a free assessment with actionable steps. 

About Rusty Lewis

As a church leader, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the funding to do what God’s calling you to do. But when you think about trying to address that problem, you feel overwhelmed, you dread the potential pushback from your congregation, and you’re not sure where to turn for help. Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped more than 120 churches close the gap between their current financial reality and what they need to move forward in ministry.

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