If you’re in ministry, you’re painfully aware of the Summer Slump – Attendance drops, activity decreases and giving declines. Offerings during the summer drop 15%, 20% or more.
How can your church eliminate the giving slump?
You can’t – at least not completely.
But you can do things to reduce it.
There’s no silver bullet for the summer slump. It’s more a year round process really. That being said, I believe the key in reducing the summer slump revolve around two things – 1. Increasing Attendance and 2. Offering and Promoting Digital Giving.
Step 1 – Present the Facts
Pastor, encourage some rest and time with family, but challenge them not to take several weeks off from the church. Remind them their kids and others are watching. Do this from the stage and thru all other means.
Make the church aware of the historical decline in attendance and its impact on giving. Don’t be shy. Be honest with your people. Tell them the facts. Share the % decrease in the past and share the dollar impact the decrease has had over June and July. Share what your church could do if this decline wasn’t there.
Before you address the giving slump, (telling the church what you want them to do), thank those already giving. The last thing you want to do is be asking for money and not thank those who are already giving. How? From the stage, write an email, create a thank-you video and email it, or send personal thank you notes. There are any number of other things you could do as well.
Step 2 – Keep it in Gear
Get rid of the mindset that says summer is a time to rest and not do much in your church. Although staff and key volunteers will take time off, you must change your overall mindset to be such that you are going to offer great stuff to your church family during the summer. Give them a reason to change their “in cruise mode” mindset for the summer. (Hint – Don’t be in cruise mode as a church).
A Few Ideas:
Pastor, when you’re out, schedule good speakers (I mean really good ones). In other weeks, hold a Prophecy Series, have Answers in Genesis over the course of a few weeks. Host a series on raising a family. Address a hot cultural topic.
When the Worship Pastor is out, have a top notch worship guy fill in. The music portion of the service shouldn’t suffer just because your worship pastor is on vacation.
Have family fellowship events after a Sunday Morning service – lunch, followed by water slides, inflatables, volleyball, etc. Challenge your people to invite their neighbors to attend church and stay for the meal and game time.
Have a High Attendance Sunday during the summer, followed by a cook-out.
You get the picture.
As People Vacation:
Keep your people engaged as they go on vacation thru social media and email. Keep them informed about what God is doing without “forcing them” to think about going to the website. Encourage them and remind them to use digital giving options while on vacation. Again, thank them for giving. Put a give button on your live-stream for those watching on-line when they miss.
Engage them thru a Mobile App. Tithe.ly offers a great Mobile App.
Step 3 – Use & Promote Digital Giving
In early April, promote ways to give. Be sure to offer on-line AND mobile options. Get as many as you can to set up recurring gifts. The more that automate, the better. Having a mobile giving app is huge. The key here, whether website or mobile – make it as easy and as few steps as possible. Tithe.ly offers a great Giving App.
Remember, $0 are received from people who miss church if there are no digital giving options available. In my experience, many, if not most do not make up “missed” giving. (Also, deploying digital giving options will increase giving throughout the year. I’m sure you are already aware that anywhere from 25% to 30% of your congregants are not there on a given Sunday).
Have cards in seats that read “I Gave Online” so they can feel part of the offering time. This may seem unimportant, but it’s not. Pastor, thank those who give digitally each Sunday just before the offering and remind them of these cards periodically.
In late May, just as school is about to end, email your church to remind them of what you shared in step one.
Report back to the church how June attendance and giving went. Thank, encourage and challenge as appropriate. Then do again for July.
Plan and budget for the slump, but try to avoid it strategically.