Ultimate Guide to Recurring Giving for Churches

Church, Monthly Giving

By Jeremy Reis

Recurring giving is a game-changer for churches looking to create a stable and predictable income stream. By encouraging your congregation to make regular, automatic donations, you can ensure that your church has the resources it needs to carry out its mission and make a lasting impact in your community.

Unfortunately, in my experience, far too often churches and pastors don’t want to make this an explicit request: give to us weekly or monthly. Your church is doing great things! You deserve good funding for your mission.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to setting up and growing a successful recurring giving program that will transform the way your church approaches fundraising.

Understanding Recurring Giving

What exactly is recurring giving, and why is it so important for churches? Recurring giving is a donation model where supporters commit to making regular, automatic contributions on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. This approach differs from one-time donations in that it provides a consistent and reliable source of income that your church can count on.

The benefits of recurring giving are numerous. First and foremost, it allows your church to plan ahead with confidence, knowing that you have a steady stream of funds coming in. This predictability makes it easier to budget for ongoing expenses, invest in new programs, and respond to unexpected needs. Additionally, recurring giving can help to deepen the engagement and commitment of your congregation, as they become active participants in supporting your church’s mission over the long term.

By understanding the power of recurring giving, you can begin to shift your church’s fundraising strategy from a series of one-off campaigns to a sustainable, long-term approach that will help you achieve your goals and make a lasting difference in the lives of those you serve.

Setting Up a Recurring Giving Program

To launch a successful recurring giving program, you’ll need to choose the right platform and integrate it seamlessly into your church’s website. Look for a system that is user-friendly, secure, and offers a range of customization options to fit your church’s unique needs. Many popular church management software solutions, such as Planning Center, Church Community Builder, and Breeze, offer built-in recurring giving functionality.

When setting up your program, consider offering a range of donation frequencies and amounts to accommodate the preferences and financial situations of your congregation. Some members may prefer to give a smaller amount on a weekly basis, while others may opt for larger monthly or annual contributions. By providing flexibility and choice, you can make recurring giving accessible and appealing to a wider range of supporters.

Once you have your platform in place, make sure to prominently feature recurring giving options on your church’s website and in your online giving portal. Use clear, compelling language to communicate the impact of recurring gifts and make it easy for people to sign up and manage their contributions.

Communicating the Value of Recurring Giving

To build momentum for your recurring giving program, it’s essential to educate your congregation about the powerful impact of consistent, reliable support. Share stories of how recurring donations have enabled your church to make a difference in people’s lives, whether it’s through funding a new outreach initiative, providing resources for your youth ministry, or supporting missionaries in the field. Do this from stage. Do it via video. Do it in email. Communicate value wherever you can.

Emphasize the convenience and flexibility of recurring giving, highlighting how it allows people to make a meaningful contribution without having to remember to write a check or make a donation each week. You can also point out that recurring giving enables supporters to spread their contributions over time, making it easier to fit generosity into their budget.

Consider creating a visual representation of the collective impact of recurring gifts, such as a thermometer or progress bar that shows how much has been raised and how close you are to your goal. By celebrating the power of many small gifts adding up to make a big difference, you can inspire more people to join your recurring giving program.

Promoting Your Recurring Giving Program

To get the word out about your recurring giving program, leverage a variety of communication channels to reach your congregation and potential supporters. Email campaigns are a highly effective way to share information, testimonials, and calls-to-action related to recurring giving. Segment your email list based on factors like past giving history, engagement level, and demographic information to tailor your messages and increase their relevance and impact.

Social media is another powerful tool for promoting your recurring giving program. Create engaging posts that highlight the benefits of recurring giving, share stories of how these contributions are making a difference, and provide clear instructions on how to sign up. Encourage your followers to share your posts and invite their friends and family to join your church’s recurring giving community.

Don’t forget to incorporate recurring giving into your church’s events and announcements. Whether it’s during a Sunday service, a small group meeting, or a special event, take a moment to remind people of the opportunity to support your church through consistent, automatic contributions. Consider providing a sign-up station or including a recurring giving option on event registration forms to make it easy for people to get involved on the spot.

Nurturing Your Recurring Donors

Once someone has signed up for your recurring giving program, it’s crucial to nurture that relationship and show your appreciation for their ongoing support. Start by sending a personalized thank-you message that acknowledges their commitment and reminds them of the impact their gifts will have. Consider including a small token of appreciation, such as a bookmark or sticker, to make the message even more memorable.

To keep your recurring donors engaged and informed, provide regular updates on how their contributions are making a difference. Share stories of lives changed, goals achieved, and new initiatives launched, all made possible by the consistent support of your recurring giving community. You can send these updates through email newsletters, social media posts, or even personalized video messages from your church’s leadership.

Consider offering exclusive content or experiences for your recurring donors to show your appreciation and deepen their connection to your church. This could include a quarterly Q&A session with your pastor, a behind-the-scenes look at your church’s ministries, or a special event just for recurring donors. By making your recurring donors feel valued and included, you can strengthen their loyalty and encourage them to continue their support over the long term.

Overcoming Objections to Recurring Giving

Despite the many benefits of recurring giving, some people may still have concerns or objections that prevent them from signing up. One common worry is the financial commitment involved in setting up a recurring donation. To address this concern, emphasize the flexibility of your program, highlighting the ability to pause, adjust, or cancel contributions at any time. Remind people that even small, consistent gifts can make a big impact when combined with the contributions of others.

Another objection may be the perception that recurring giving is only for wealthy donors or those who can afford to give large amounts. Counter this belief by reiterating the significance of every recurring gift, no matter the size. Share examples of how small, regular donations have added up to make a meaningful difference in your church’s ministries.

Some people may simply be hesitant to set up a recurring donation because they’re unsure of how the process works or they’re concerned about the security of their financial information. To overcome these objections, provide clear, step-by-step instructions on how to sign up for recurring giving, and emphasize the security measures in place to protect their data. Consider offering a demo or tutorial to walk people through the process and answer any questions they may have.

Measuring and Analyzing Your Recurring Giving Program

To ensure the ongoing success of your recurring giving program, it’s important to track key metrics and analyze your results regularly. Keep an eye on indicators such as the number of new recurring donors acquired, the average gift size, and the retention rate of your existing recurring donors. By monitoring these metrics over time, you can identify trends, spot opportunities for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your program.

Look for ways to segment your recurring donor data to gain deeper insights into the behavior and preferences of different groups within your congregation. For example, you might compare the giving patterns of long-time members versus newer attendees, or analyze the impact of specific campaigns or events on recurring gift sign-ups. By understanding what motivates different segments of your audience, you can tailor your communication and engagement strategies to better resonate with each group.

As you reach milestones and achieve success with your recurring giving program, be sure to celebrate and share those wins with your congregation. Highlight the collective impact of your recurring donors’ generosity, and express your gratitude for their ongoing support. By regularly communicating the tangible results of your program, you can reinforce the value of recurring giving and inspire more people to get involved.

Implementing a robust recurring giving program can transform the way your church approaches fundraising, providing a stable and sustainable source of income to support your mission. By following the strategies outlined in this guide, you can create a culture of generosity within your congregation, one in which people are excited to make a consistent, meaningful impact through their regular contributions.

As you educate your members, promote your program, and nurture your recurring donors, you’ll be building a strong foundation for your church’s future, ensuring that you have the resources you need to continue making a difference in your community and beyond. So don’t wait – start putting these principles into practice today, and watch as your recurring giving program grows and thrives, powering your church’s ministry for years to come.


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