Jeff Brooks is a really smart guy when it comes to fund-raising. (And not just because he listed Church Giving Matters as one of his top 10 fund-raising blogs to read.) He posted recently, How many people are likely to give — now and in the future. He makes a clear distinction between actual donors and the age groups with the highest giving potential.
I think his observations are correct. It follows a consistent trend that those who are older are most likely to have the highest liquidity in your congregation and most likely to be the largest giving segment. That group, therefore, has the highest giving potential. The false security in this is to assume members of this age group will give to your church. The reality is no one in your church HAS to give to you. In fact, Passing the Plate defines the average American Christian’s posture toward giving as “discretionary obligation.”
While it is good to keep in mind that your communication strategy should be segmented by member preferences and be audience specific, the only way to build the giving capacity of your church is to strive for engagement instead of awareness.
Take the church bulletin for example. All it does is send messages into the already cluttered mind of the member, if he or she even reads it. The church bulletin is not engagement; it’s an exercise in awareness.
Take the announcement time, still very popular in churches. Again, all you are accomplishing is sending more messages into an already saturated environment where everyone and everything is trying to grab the attention of your members. The announcement time on Sunday morning is not engagement; it’s an exercise in awareness.
Awareness is important, but engagement is primary. Engaged people want to be aware, but awareness doesn’t always lead to engagement.
Engagement only happens in relationships like in small groups, mission projects, and outreach efforts. When you stimulate an environment where groups of people are gathered together to reach a specific goal or complete a specific task, engagement is more likely to happen then than at any other time.
How is your church engaging others? What groups within your church are you currently engaging? Are there are segments of your membership that are disengaged?
Engagement will always increase giving capacity.