End of the Year Church Giving

End of the Year Church Giving

November 11, 2014 by

As we approach the end of the year a lot of churches are looking at budgets and finances. Stewardship appeals are happening and church staff are begging and pleading to get those last pledge cards in.

It’s a good time to think about money.

“Your metrics always determine your behavior. What you measure will determine the path your church takes.”

Moneyball for Church

Ed Stetzer recently talked about what kind of numbers churches should look at. Attendance and giving—bodies and bucks—are the standard numbers churches track. But Stetzer recommends going deeper, ala Moneyball for the church.

Yes, look at those standard numbers. But they don’t tell the whole story.

“You can be a good, faithful church and shrink, often due to external factors such as a surrounding community in decline.”

Other measures to track include conversions, baptism, discipleship, missional living, prayer, leadership and small group participation.

Online giving grew by 18.5 percent in 2013… How easy is it for your community to contribute online?

Per Capita Giving

For another perspective, Tony Morgan is a fan of per capita giving. He says giving is a better indicator of heart change than mere attendance. Morgan takes annual giving divided by average attendance (without kids) divided by 52 and comes up with average giving per person per week. According to Morgan, the average is $41.

He also offers some strategy, like actually having a giving strategy. Morgan recommends a stewardship champion, teaching on giving, financial coaching and connecting giving with vision:

“If people are stuck financially, they’re looking for help. If you engage this topic with a biblical approach, people will respond in a very positive way. In fact, don’t be surprised if your series helping people tackle financial challenges also grows your attendance. I’ve seen it happen many times.”

Why Do All These Metrics Matter?

“Remember this, your metrics always determine your behavior. What you measure will determine the path your church takes. We ought to pay attention more carefully to our assessments, or lack-thereof. Then, we should celebrate those metrics—because what you celebrate, you become.” -Ed Stetzer

Isn’t Measuring Too Worldly?

“When you assess the right things, it’s not all about nickles, noses, and numbers. It’s about life change—and that’s worth measuring well.” -Ed Stetzer

So Now What?

Thanks for telling us all the stuff we’re doing wrong. Now what can we actually do right?

There’s still time to tweak your giving strategy before the end of the year (or even before Giving Tuesday, the new donation push following the retail overload of Black Friday and Cyber Monday).

Steve Fogg comes to the rescue with some quick tips for improving online giving:

  1. “Giving doubles on responsive devices.” (We recently talked about why mobile is the future of giving.)
  2. “59% of Facebook users donate money after interacting with a cause on Facebook.”
  3. “Online giving grew by 18.5% in 2013… How easy is it for your community to contribute online?”
  4. “Ten percent of giving is done in the last few days of the financial year.”
  5. “Custom branded pages raise six times more money.”


Photo by Teddy James.
Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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