Church Giving Fatigue: What Is It, and How Can You Recover?

Don’t Get Tired

Bringing up the subject of money to your congregation is tough — especially when your members are feeling the crush of church giving fatigue.

But broaching the money subject is something every church must deal with. You have to perfect the art of talking money while also accepting the not-so-simple reality of church giving and, inevitably, church giving fatigue.

Church Giving Is Declining – Church Giving Fatigue on the Rise

Charitable giving may be on the upswing, but the amount that churches see steadily falls each year. People gave more to their church during the Great Depression than they do today. That’s a staggering statistic.

This decline in religious giving is tied to the incredible growth of non-profit causes and websites like GoFundMe. Your members have a lot more choice when it comes to where they offer their money and, unfortunately, a lot of those options are not of the church. Today’s givers aren’t heartless — they want to be a part of cultural issue resolutions — but they typically look outside religiously affiliated sectors to do so.

It wasn’t that long ago that pastors vigorously asked their members to tithe, but today’s pastors are much more hesitant to even broach the subject of spiritual giving. This is unfortunate because while it may be due to church giving fatigue, many of today’s churchgoers don’t even know that giving to the church is both a heavenly mandate and a blessing. But why?

Because their churches haven’t told them so.

Let that sink in for a moment.

When was the last time you preached about the joys and need for members to give to your church? You’re the leader of your flock, so you must strike a harmonious balance between boldly asking for tithes to God’s Kingdom while ensuring they don’t feel they must choose between the work of God and providing for their family.

What Is Church Giving Fatigue?

When your members feel you’ve asked for too much money from them for an extended period, church giving fatigue occurs.

This may or may not be true. Sometimes, their feelings accurately represent:

  • Bad fundraising strategies on your part or
  • Lost connections between the actual act and the reason for giving

The first potential cause means you’ve potentially made some unrealistic fundraising goals in the past. Maybe you’ve overestimated how much your congregation could raise or you might have expected to raise a certain amount much more quickly than you did. If you find that your church is having trouble maintaining funding, this is not a good financial position. If you have no margins, no giving growth that can pad the margin, and not enough coming in each week, what then?

On the other hand, your members might be giving as much as they possibly can, but due to poor strategies, you still can’t do what you’d like to. This is when church giving fatigue takes hold and tithes start dropping, which often leads to your church making certain cuts that perhaps should’ve been thought of sooner.

But what if your congregation simply doesn’t know — or doesn’t remember — why giving is important in the first place? As their leader, it’s your responsibility to help light the fire of giving — to show your members exactly how and why the money they offer makes an impact in your church and your shared community. People need to see proof — yes, even your flock! They like seeing the fruits of their labors. Church programs and community projects and events help connect the act of tithing with the reason for it on a spiritual level. When this disconnect is the reason your congregation isn’t giving, it tends to reflect more on the church’s culture than how much capital the church has available.

Need a little direction? Consider online coaching with DonorWERX.

How Can You Prevent Church Giving Fatigue?

As illustrated above, there are a few reasons why your flock may suffer from church giving fatigue. But what can you do to change the financial course of your congregation and shepherd your flock back to giving?

Be a leader with a vision

Every dollar given in God’s name produces good.

In Luke 6:38, the Bible states: “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” And Proverbs 18:16: “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.”

If you inspire your flock, they will give. Lead your members with a vision of what’s to come — a world they’ll have a hand in creating. Tell vivid stories during the offering, as this inspires generosity.

Call with love, not with guilt

When calling for giving in a congregation, it’s very common to use guilt as a tool. It’s human nature — financial inequity appears morally negative. If you’ve used guilt or shame as a means of inspiring giving, you may have already experienced the boost in offerings for around a month, but it sharply drops off shortly thereafter, doesn’t it? Using guilt isn’t a sustainable strategy.

Church donors give when they feel a sense of belonging — when they feel they’re loved and appreciated by the church. When you apply the first step, leading with vision, you can replace the guilty conscience with thoughts of love and welcoming in your appeals to givers.

Need some donor-focused insights? Try DonorWERX accelerated consulting

Finish what you start

Do you know how you make a runner tired? Tell them the race never ends.

How many of your fundraising goals have been ongoing? With no end?

How many projects do you fund each year? How many are completed? Do you share details with your flock?

If your congregation senses that what they’re giving to isn’t moving fast enough towards completion, they may think their offerings aren’t being well-managed. They may even feel — especially if they give as much as they possibly can — that they are alone in their sacrifices.

While it’s hard completing some of the projects you ascribe to your church, it’s the most potent antidote to church giving fatigue. Even the best runners enjoy endurance-testing sprints easier than multi-mile marathons.

Celebrate your wins

2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

Whenever you reach a fundraising goal, celebrate. And when your church completes a project that funding was raised for, celebrate again! This is the most crucial part of the whole strategy — that your flock sees the good their giving — their sacrifice — has produced. It’s a win for the whole church. And the sweeter the reward, the greater the inspiration when the next fundraiser comes around.

Throw a party, host a meal, give praise to your donors by name — any type of ritual creates bonds that spark feelings of community and a love for worshipping God who supplied once again according to your needs.

Call upon God for his blessing at the event you host. This helps your flock remember the reason they gave and ties the whole mission together with purpose and a sense of completion.

Is your flock experiencing church giving fatigue? Consider our donor management software for digital giving.

Ease the Burden of Church Giving Fatigue

Using the above, you can help ease the burden of church giving fatigue. You can help your flock remember that whatever they give means something.

When they see the impact of their investment, they see why — even if it’s painful at first — giving is a blessing.

Eliminating guilt and replacing it with love yields more bountiful offerings for your congregation for multiple reasons. Your flock may even grow.

Do you need help crafting better giving messages? See how DonorWERX can help.

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