The future of church giving might seem uncertain. Churches are seeing a decline in attendance, and younger generations don’t often align with particular denominations. Plus, in the past ten years, overall donations made to religious organizations have decreased.
However, recent studies show a more promising future. In The Philanthropy Outlook, researchers at Indiana University predict that charitable giving will grow steadily in 2018. Specifically, church giving has been climbing, increasing by 1.8% in 2016, and it is expected to continue rising.
With this in mind, we took a hard look at recent fundraising trends and came up with three bold predictions for church giving in 2018.
1. Millennials Will Make Major Giving Strides
In 2018, Millennials are poised to make a major impact on church giving. While some might question this prediction, Giving USA’s recent study, Giving to Religion, found that younger generations give at rates comparable to past generations at the same age. The difference now is that Millennials crave engagement and motivation to become active agents of change. They are not satisfied by sermons alone.
The oldest Millennials, who are in their late thirties, are just entering a commonly more lucrative time in their careers, which naturally increases their potential to give. Giving to Religion confirmed this assumption, finding that church giving grows when donors’ incomes grow. Given that Millennials are coming into more liquid assets and they are enthusiastic about effecting change, church leaders should ramp up their engagement efforts to maximize donations from this motivated group.
2. Engagement Will Be a Key Factor in Boosting Donations
To get more Millennials (and others) inside church doors, leaders must take a close look at how they are engaging them. In particular, Millennials are nonplussed by sermons that lack motivation to take action. They want sermons to teach them and motivate them to employ practical strategies that will advance the common good. They want to leverage their skills for good and turn their interests and passions into creative vehicles for change.
In “The Future of Philanthropy Looks Bright,” David P. King analyzes The Philanthropy Outlook and urges religious organizations to identify concrete strategies to connect with congregants’ personal interests and passions. Understanding what congregants care about, how they prefer to give and why they give will build more meaningful relationships, which will yield better fundraising results.
3. Mobile-Friendly Ministries Will See Increased Church Giving
The Philanthropy Outlook boldly states that organizations need to provide mobile giving options, and then do more. The report finds that organizations that have modernized their digital technologies across the board yield more successful fundraising outcomes.
In 2018, churches that modernize all of their digital technologies will see an increase in donations because they will remove barriers that stand between donors and church causes. This is especially true for younger generations. Providing a mobile giving option gives younger generations the “friction-free” giving experience that they desire. Transforming websites, email, e-newsletters and more into a completely mobile-friendly experience will increase the chances that potential donors will “hang out” on your church’s website, perusing your content and – yes – viewing the all-important church giving pages.
In a way, updating your digital technologies is the single most important strategy your church can do in 2018. It will not only boost donations, increase donor engagement, and engage Millennials, but it will provide a foundation for lasting success.
4. The Death of Text-to-Give
Text-to-give has been on its way out for a while now, and we predict that it will completely die out in 2018. At one time, it was a novel idea that made giving more convenient. However, it wasn’t long before other more modern options stepped up to the plate, and these options — like mobile giving apps — made text giving outdated and obsolete.
Text-to-give claims to be “mobile giving,” but how mobile is it, really? You still have to have the text code and number in front of you so you know how to complete the donation. When you can give from anywhere, at any time using your smartphone without going through the motions of sending a text message, or remembering a code and number to text it to, why would you still take those unnecessary steps?
2018 will mark the end of text-to-give — and with much more effortless options available, it won’t be missed.
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!