Millennials often get a bad rap, but if we’re honest, they are a positive and necessary component to vital church life and growth. When it comes to church giving, specifically, millennials respond to certain ideas and strategies better than others. Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to tap into the generosity of your millennial members.
Millennials don’t carry cash or checkbooks.
Many young people don’t even know what a checkbook looks like. They rarely carry cash, either. While their parents and grandparents relied on these payment methods, millennials use their smartphones for most financial transactions. Millennials shop, socialize, and even do their banking on their phones. To meet them where they are, offering a mobile church giving option is a must.
To foster more generosity among millennials in your church, it is critical that you find a way to incorporate modern giving solutions. Passing the offering plate is a wonderful tradition, but it isn’t practical for your younger members. By giving them the option to give using their smartphones, you demonstrate that you are listening to their needs and that you care about including them in your ministry.
Millennials don’t participate in church giving out of guilt.
In other words, millennials don’t donate to causes they don’t believe in. The good news — once they do believe in a cause, they are wildly generous with their resources (sometimes far more generous than Baby Boomers). It isn’t that millennials are stingy; it’s that they are cautious.
Work harder to clearly communicate the why behind church giving. If you are raising money toward a specific goal, share the story behind the fundraiser. Show the need and demonstrate why millennials’ participation is critical to your ministry.
Millennials struggle with debt.
Many millennials carry heavier burdens of debt than previous generations. With the startling costs of education, a volatile employment marketplace, and the increased accessibility of credit cards and credit lines, many millennials feel the vice grip of debt more acutely than other age groups.
If you want your younger members to give cheerfully to your place of worship, talk openly and compassionately about debt. Give them the tools to overcome it and encourage them to give what they can in the meantime, understanding that paying off debt will lead to greater freedom.
Millennials like to see tangible results.
Nobody likes throwing money away, but millennials especially hate the idea. Members of this young generation want to see the difference that their giving makes. They are far more passionate about causes than institutions. Show the impact your ministry has on people’s lives, and how their support helps make it happen.
Don’t keep the good stuff for staff meetings. Share the results and celebrate publicly. Help givers — especially millennials — connect their personal obedience with the positive impact it has on your community.
Bottom line: Don’t be fooled into thinking millennials don’t give. They do give — and generously! — when presented with a need and an opportunity that excites them.