Today’s post is written by Valerie Russell, Content Specialist for Ministry Brands. It’s no surprise that churches are affected by lulls in generosity, spurring a need for them to find ways to encourage recurring giving. Roughly 86% don’t meet their annual budget goals. When you boil it down, that means 43 out of 50 churches aren’t raising enough funds during the year to support their ministries. So, what are the other 14% doing differently to meet their goals? It’s easy—they’re offering a recurring giving option through their online giving platform. Recurring giving is when someone schedules an online gift that’s automatically deducted from their credit card or bank account on a repeated basis. Givers complete a one-time set up to choose the frequency of the gift (such as weekly, monthly, or quarterly), a dollar amount, and payment method. Switching to an online giving platform can make all the difference for your ministry. Sounds simple enough, right? But you may still wonder how this could spark and kindle the giving spirit at your church. Let’s explore the top ways recurring gifts transform generosity and engage your congregation. INCREASE GIVING (AND GIFT AMOUNTS) People want to support your church and watch it grow. But, we’re naturally wired to meet the specific challenges presented to us, and we don’t explore much beyond that. If your only option is for people to give once, many will rise to the occasion without realizing the church’s needs exist far beyond the value of that one gift. By providing your church with information and digital tools to set up recurring gifts, they give more faithfully. People who set up recurring donations give 42% more annually AND make additional one-time gifts 75% more often than one-time givers. Plus, many recurring givers increase the gift amount over time as they spiritually mature. IMPROVE BUDGET FORECASTING All-sized churches generally experience an increase in giving during year-end. Then, things start to slow a bit. Come summer, attendance and giving slip a little more (and can even become stagnant). Between work, kids’ soccer games, and travel, giving tends to fall far from being the first thing on people’s minds. Recurring giving is the solution to reduce the chance of people forgetting to give and makes the process of giving more accessible. Imagine keeping the summer slump and holiday travel from slowing down your ministry. Rather than a drop in giving, you still have a stream of gifts coming in—no matter how many people are in the seats. The consistency means more accurate budget forecasting and dips in seasonal giving are smoothed out. Finishing a new building project or sending your youth group on a mission trip wouldn’t have to remain on the wish-list until the next big wave of gifts. Those activities are possible at any time of the year. Simply put, recurring giving is the best way to keep generosity flowing throughout the entire calendar. Here’s some quick math to illustrate how recurring giving leads to more consistent giving levels: Your average churchgoer only attends 37 weeks a year. That leaves 15 weeks they’re not at service during the offering. If someone in your church gave $50 during every attended service, they donate $1,850 annually. If that same person set up automatic recurring gifts, their annual giving amount would swell to $2,600. Think about the impact a $750 increase in giving can make for your church’s vision. CONNECT WITH A RANGE OF GIVERS As a church, it’s your goal to connect with people from all walks of life and help them grow spiritually. Some may find recurring contributions seamlessly fit into their budgets. Others might be running a bit tight and feel like they can’t give enough to really help your mission. If that’s the case, they may not give at all and slowly begin to withdraw themselves from their church family. Recurring giving is an excellent way to engage all members because it helps them fit giving into their monthly budgets. It enables them to see that generosity is possible regardless of the amount they contribute. Being able to give anything on a regular basis helps people feel engaged and excited about participating in your ministry. Though they may not give large amounts now, offering a small recurring gift fosters a generous spirit that benefits your church for years to come. Recurring gifts provide churches with peace of mind that comes with stable revenue. Having a group of committed givers strengthens annual campaigns and sustains your church through lean times. Whatever the size of your congregation, a healthy recurring giving program will prove to be a beneficial asset for years to come. Shelby Systems is committed to helping churches large and small streamline their giving process. We provide the software and the plan that can help your church make the leap to digital giving. To find out how, contact one of our Ministry Consultants today.