The COVID19 outbreak has changed everything. Churches have quickly scrambled to get their live streams and weekend plans under control, but the biggest conversation I’m seeing and question that is being asked is “what about tithes and offerings?”
Churches need to shift their strategy with giving as well.
If you haven’t already set up online giving, it might be tough to get people giving online now… but it’s still worth the effort. Reach out to Tithe.ly, RebelGive, PushPay, or one of the many other online giving companies and get it set up.
Also, prepare yourself: your giving is most likely going to decrease. At least in the short term. The economy is tanking. People are losing their jobs. So, adjust your church budget. Cut expenses as you can. Go into conservation mode.
Having said that, there ARE still ways to lead people to give…
Talk and teach about giving
A lot of us in the church have been hesitant to talk about giving for various reasons. But it’s more important than ever that you teach what the Bible has to say about it. Teach about generosity. Teach about the joys of giving.
I can’t emphasize this enough. People don’t give to desperation (they’re often desperate themselves), they give to inspiration. They give to vision of what could be done with the money. They give to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
Tell the story of what God is doing at your church. Tell the story of what God is doing specifically with their money. Keep your antenna out for stories. Get creative in how you tell stories.
Lead the way in generosity & faith
Give as much as you can yourself. Model the behavior you want to see. When people see your faith, theirs will grow as well.
Ways to Tell Stories
Post on Social Media
Post on social media…video posts such as FB Live or Insta Stories
Post on social media…static photo posts with a quick two or three line story
Send an email newsletter type publication with a story or two about God’s faithfulness through someone’s generosity
Preach a story…include a story of what God is doing when you preach
As you’re taking to people, tell them the stories. On the phone, when back together in person, etc…tell people the story and it will spread organically. Grass roots, viral, storytelling is very powerful.
Traditionally, we’ve thought of telling stories of God’s faithfulness in churches as a polished testimonial video. But it doesn’t have to be that format at all. Get creative and get the stories out there…and inspire people to give toward vision and cause, not out of desperation and you’ll see your giving improve.
Also, simple and effective but something we can easily forget to do: remind people that even in times of crisis the church still has a mission and still needs them to give generously to pay the bills. Like literally remind them and tell them. “We need your money.” But be sure to tie it to vision and follow it up with stories…otherwise it just looks like desperation.Remind them of the mission and vision often because vision leaks.
Ways to allow people to give:
Make sure you remind people of the church address and that they can still safely give by check if they want to.
Get a giving tool on your website (again, see Tithely or Pushpay or RebelGive or similar).
Text to Give
Most giving platforms have an option to donate via a text message. Makes it easy to promote during a live stream, post in comments, etc. If you use a service like TextInChurch.com to communicate with your people, you can also promote your text-to-give option there as well.
Your bank can help you set this up for folks who prefer it so it can be auto-drafted. You’ve got to let people know this option is available and get the forms for them to fill out.
Don’t lose hope. While it’s likely your giving is going to dip unless you’ve done a lot of work ahead of time, but God owns it all and he can sustain you and you have the creativity to inspire people to give.