March 12th, 2013

Giving Trends You Need to Know

Giving Trends

As I reviewed the Giving USA 2012 report*, I found it interesting that religious giving continues to decline, falling an estimated 8.1% from 2009-2011. This is not a new trend. Adjusting for inflation, we have seen a steady decline in this sector overall for some time.

The significance of this has been masked because religion is still the largest category of charitable giving reported, representing $95.88 billion of the total $298.42 billion. However, church leaders need to pay closer attention to the downward trend and consider the reasons why.

Three key thoughts:

  1. People aren’t motivated to give to church just because it’s church. We find many churches (even growing churches) where the vast majority of regular attenders give an extremely small percentage.
  2. Many Christian donors feel the church isn’t the place to invest for maximum Kingdom impact. Many choose to give to other organizations that demonstrate more “return on investment.”
  3. People don’t respond to the church telling them to give more. They get tired when their church emphasizes giving when finances are low or jumping from one unrelated campaign to another.

Are people less enamored with generosity? Not necessarily. The takeaway from these trends is the church needs to develop a different paradigm to shepherd its people more effectively.

Questions for your team to consider:

  • Does your church have a clear, compelling, and measurable vision? This will provide an accountable path, a motivating platform, and a focal point to celebrate.
  • What would it look like if your church launched a whole new model that built a culture of connection to extravagant generosity? Often times, giving is an isolated conversation based around a specific need. It needs to be integrated into the culture.
  • How can you create momentum around God’s unbelievable generosity to us that gives reason to be unbelievably generous with the resources He gives us? God is a generous God in every aspect and calls his people to excellence in giving. See 2 Corinthians 8:7.
  • Does your spiritual formation model grow generous disciples? Generosity is both a matter of the heart and a matter of training. It is also measurable.

What indicators have you experienced that affect giving either positively or negatively in your church?

*Giving USA 2012  The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2011  57th Annual Issue, The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University

This post is by Clint Grider. Learn more about Clint here.

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