Let’s face it, summer is a tough time to do church.
Historically, summer brings a lull in cash flow for churches. Children and Youth programs are in full daily swing as VBS, Camps and Trips send your staff and kids into a frenzy of action. With that also comes a cash outflow that you need to manage well.
Outside of your church events, summer is time for families to travel, vacation and spend time doing things that take them away from the regular schedule of your ministry. Let’s just call it what it is, when people don’t attend, they generally don’t give.
I realize that is a broad generalization and there are faithful saints that give to your ministry regularly without fail, right?
Here are some ideas for you to consider to manage cash flow during the summer giving lull.
1. Offer Online Giving –
If you are not offering an opportunity for your congregation to give electronically, you are missing a huge opportunity. I put this at number 1 because it really transcends a summer issue, and really is an issue you should consider regardless of the time of year. Here in the midwest, we had 2 major snowstorms that happened to hit on Sunday mornings. Most churches cancelled services on those Sundays and from the giving records we manage, most experienced a low week in giving. Some things to consider with online giving:
– Can you setup ACH recurring payments?
– Can you setup multiple giving income accounts?
– Can you see Cash flow forecasts?
we have a solution and company that we’ve partnered with that offers the best bang for your buck that we’ve found.
2. Communication is Key!
During the summer when schedules are crazy, consider several modes of communication. Because your attendance will be intermittent, consider alternative means of getting information out about your church.
– This is a great time to start a WEEKLY newsletter. Keep people in the loop about what’s happening at the church so they can stay connected while they may be out of town. I’m reminded of an old marketing tactic about keeping yourself Top of Mind…
– Consider adding a short video to email, social media or blog post on your website. You’ll be surprised at how many people will take a few minutes to watch a short video message about what’s happening at their church. Webcams and online tools make this simple and almost free.
– Prepare this communication. Let people know what they can expect from the summer before hand, keep them connected while is happening, then recap as thing are winding down back into the fall.
3. Develop Spending Habits to Match Summer Giving.
This takes a bit more time investment and planning but you will see huge benefits in taking the time to set things up. Take a look at your budget and see what expenses can be lowered, delayed or eliminated during the summer. Budget for your larger expenses in the fall or spring. Watch your expenses every 30 days throughout the summer and make adjustments as needed.
4. Encourage and Be Open about Giving Needs
We all know that giving talks are one of those uncomfortable discussions we all need to overcome. Make it a priority to change the giving culture of your church by being open about what the Bible says about giving. Take it a step further, lets add some practical stories and tid-bits to your messages about giving. Share practically what tangibly has happened for your church because people gave. Share about transformed lives that were made possible because the church had the resources to reach out. Put these stories into short video clips with the people involved sharing from their perspective. You’ll be shocked at the results.
5. Finally, Don’t let the summer slump be a mentality
I’ll admit, its even hard for me to maintain energy through the summer. We know that summer will be a down time in giving, but let’s reframe the conversation and commit summer to be a great time for giving. Keep the mission and vision re-inforced through your communications and let people know its the perfect time for creative and strategic outreach opportunities.
Take a few steps to make this summer the catalyst that kicks off your fall ministry schedules. Start planning now, so summer ministries are successful.
If you’d like help in budgeting or planning your summer finances, get in touch and we’ll help out!