People will stop giving to your church.
Chances are, you’ve felt slighted or dismayed when you learned that someone you thought was a lifelong supporter has stopped giving.
When this happens, what do you do? What should your response be?
Here are five suggestions…
#1 – Check on them.
When someone has been giving consistently and then there’s a change, it might be a sign of a life-changing event. This is an opportunity to have a pastoral conversation, not a financial one. This might be the time they need a pastor more than a financial advisor.
#2 – Talk to them.
If there’s a change, it’s okay to talk about it. Be normal and just ask. Ask if there’s a reason or a misunderstanding. Ask out of concern, not out of judgment. This is exactly what you should do if someone stops volunteering.
#3 – Thank them.
When someone stops giving, it’s easy to think about future losses. But make sure they know you’re grateful for everything they have done. Make sure they know everything they have given in the past was appreciated and used to advance the ministry. This type of gratefulness is good for your soul and theirs.
#4 – Pray for them.
This goes hand-in-hand with gratefulness, but you can also pray that God will lead them to give again. Or lead them to another place where they can be generous.
#5 – Look to strategically re-engage them.
Once or twice a year, you might have an opportunity in the church where re-engaging lapsed donors makes sense. Perhaps it’s a year-end campaign or a special project. When these things come around, make sure you have unique communication for your past supporters. There may be a special initiative or endeavor that will pique their interest again.
Two more thoughts….
First, when people stop giving or begin attending another church, it’s not automatically a sign you’re doing something wrong. Don’t let your pastoral value be determined by things like this. Stay faithful and be consistent. I know it’s hard, but talk it out with another pastor you trust or a counselor.
Second, to do all of this, you need to know the numbers. Make sure you have reporting systems in place so you can know if people stop giving. I’ve heard from too many people who said months or years have gone by before the church even knew they stopped. That’s a lost opportunity and a cause for hurt feelings.