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Faith Leaders 4min read

How to Engage Members When Services Are Cancelled

It’s inevitable. At some point, your place of worship will need to cancel services without much notice. The primary culprit is weather: dangerous winter roads affect nearly all regions, and other weather events may also lead to cancelled services.

Even if you’re located in a weather paradise, eventually something will lead to a service cancellation. Your facility may lose power, or your HVAC unit may give up the ghost on the hottest Saturday of the summer.

When—not if—you need to cancel services, it’s important to keep membership engaged. Here are some ways to do so.

Communicate the Closing to Your Congregation

Online Giving - Engaging Members When Services Are Cancelled

Before you can engage your members, you first must reach them with the news of cancellation. This is the most important action by far, and it’s especially critical during events where even traveling to your place of worship could be dangerous—think dangerous winter weather.

While some of your congregation will still get this information by watching the ticker on the bottom of the local news broadcast, not all will. Be sure to get the message out through other channels: social media, the “prayer chain,” your email mailing list, texting—whatever options you have. Church management software with tools for sending mass communications can be a great help in this regard.

Leverage Your Digital Resources

Local news listings and phone chains can communicate that a service or event is cancelled, but that’s about it. The great thing about digital tools like social media, email, and church management software is that they give you the ability to do more than just communicate critical information.

At your next unexpected closing, consider sending out a short devotional based on the week’s planned message. You could also point your congregation to a video or audio recording of a vital message from earlier in the year. Social media is a great way to share relevant passages or songs fitting your current theme, too. Use these tools to engage your members, so that they don’t just take a “holy snow day.”

Extend Your Reach Throughout the Week

For some in your congregation, your place of worship is their primary community. Missing that gathering may be harder for them than for others. And during an extended winter weather event, others may also experience feelings of isolation.

Think beyond the weekend. Use the tools you have available to reach your people during the week more than you usually would. Doing so will serve two purposes: it will both encourage them and keep them engaged.

Enable Off-Site Contributions with Online Giving

With no offering plates being passed (and no one to pass them to!), weeks with no services can cause a dip in giving. This can be a real budgetary headache for some ministries, but you can mitigate this loss by allowing for off-site giving (with mobile and online giving) and for recurring electronic donations.

By implementing mobile and online giving for your faith-based organization now, you enable your members to give from anywhere, at any time. That means that whether they are kept away from church by adverse weather conditions, illness, or travel, they will always be able to participate in giving.

Be prepared next time you have to cancel services. Set up mobile and online giving today.

Want More Insight into Church Giving Trends You Should Leverage in 2018?

Gain powerful insight into 10 church giving trends from the data analysts at Givelify—the world’s fastest-growing mobile donation app. Download our free market report, The Mobile Revolution in Church Giving,” where you’ll gain a quick look at how electronic giving has evolved in the last few years AND learn practical tips to put these trends into action in 2018.

Inside you’ll find answers to questions like these:

  • When are people giving digitally?
  • Which days are the most popular for church giving?
  • Does high church attendance result in higher giving?
  • Can churches sustain themselves on in-church giving alone?
  • Will Baby Boomers use electronic personal giving options?

Givelify analysts have answered these and other crucial questions with data culled from over 2.5 million donation transactions made to over 10,000 churches since 2014. In fact, some of these data points are groundbreaking in ministry. Download it below!

Our market report, The Mobile Revolution in Church Giving,” will give you a better understanding of current donor behavior while also teaching you fundamental elements of successful giving programs. Apply these powerful, data-driven insights to cultivate a more generous congregation and secure higher and more frequent donations in 2018!

About the Author

Matt is dedicated to making the world a better place. He works passionately to help charitable causes use mobile technology to raise the funds they need. In addition to his role at Givelify, he volunteers with the Southside Animal Shelter and Kentuckiana Pug Rescue.

Matt Chandler