I can think of at least three good reasons you should analyze your giving every year. Giving to the Church is on a continual downward spiral. While I am sure you care deeply about this the reality is that you only care about one church, yours! Is your giving going down, staying steady or increasing? Are you trends positive for the future or are you heading for future trouble? Here is a better question, do you even analyze your giving?
Most pastors know what came in last Sunday. Many know if they are ahead or behind budget. Some might know how giving this year compares to the same time last year. However few if any know the trends in their giving. More importantly even fewer know what to do about giving declines or have a plan of action to reverse any giving decline.
You can’t adequately plan without knowing your giving trends. I am amazed at how many churches set their budgets without factoring in their giving trends. I once interviewed with a church that was increasing their operating budget by over 10%. The year before their giving had declined by 7% and attendance was continuing to decline. I asked them what the rationale was for increasing their budget. They said, “We have greater needs this year and we are hoping our members rise to support the increase.” Hoping? When your giving is going down you need to have a better justification for increasing your budget than you perceived need for more funding. People vote with their attendance and their money and this church was not listening to the vote tally. Hope is not a plan for success!
Fiscal responsibility generates giving. The fiscal responsibility of an institution is one of the key reasons people give. When you set a budget that is unrealistic your donors will be skeptical about how responsible you are with money. They will think twice about each and every gift. Knowing your trends allows you to plan better for the future. Coming close to your budget and better yet making budget builds confidence in your donors. This in turn causes them to give you more.
You can’t be fully funded and remain blind to your data. Churches that are fully funded are those that have a giving plan. How can you develop an effective giving plan if you don’t know what groups need to hear the message? Any plan you create is like throwing spaghetti on the wall hoping something will stick. Knowing your trends allows you to plan strategically and have a better chance of actually making budget.
We do financial analysis on churches two times a year. We do an extensive analysis of giving at the end of the year and at the mid-year point. Our clients know where they stand and what the future holds for them when it comes to giving. They can better prepare for that future. Do you know how to analyze your giving? If not we can help you. Contact us today to find out how.
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach
This week’s Stewardship Coach dealt with reversing first quarter giving declines due to weather or a slow start. Do you know how to reverse your first quarter decline? To find out how you can get weekly help go to http://thestewardshipcoach.org/join-now/