Churches have been collecting giving data on members and guests for years. But what are they doing with all that information?
For the most part, NOTHING. Most giving solutions don’t make your givers feel known or show churches how to use the data they’ve gleaned to connect givers more personally to the church.
This is part 5 of our 11 Commandments of Online Giving series.
ONLINE GIVING COMMANDMENT #5
Honor your givers.
For many churches, the top priority of keeping giving history seems to be producing a record of gifts for tax purposes. This is valuable, of course. But the majority of people could easily pull that information from their own sources if they needed to.
A tax focus as a primary reason for saving giving history overlooks a golden opportunity for churches: Better serving your congregation.
Giving data is an important way to:
Know your givers and what’s going on in their lives
Help them feel known and appreciated
Connect them more deeply to the church’s ministries
Grow their financial discipleship
Giving Data is a Signal System
Like a brightly colored signal flare, patterns of giving can alert you to challenges or changes in givers’ lives that need your attention.
But this is only true if you are:
Use a giving system with comprehensive, flexible analytics and stewardship-growing tools
Act on the data to proactively minister to givers according to what the data reveals about them.
This can make some people feel uncomfortable. But as Joel Mikell at RSI Stewardship says, “This is not about dehumanizing people or the disciple-making process. It’s about enhancing it.” (Source)
A Ministry-First Approach to Giving Data
At Vision2, we see ministry as the primary purpose of giving data. That’s why we invest in powerful analytics and email automation tools to allow you to personally communicate with your givers.
Here’s just a few ways giving history can help you do this:
Your system should recognize first time givers and give you an opportunity to use your acknowledgments to welcome them and present them with resources for entering into the life of the church.
Regular givers can be honored for their consistency.
Because inconsistent givers may be a sign of general disengagement, your giving tools can help you connect them more deeply through attendance, volunteering, classes, small groups, and ministry to their needs.
Lapsed givers can alert you to major changes or challenges in someone’s life to explore.