Building a Predictable and Stable Church Budget
Creating a reliable and predictable budget is a challenge for churches of any size. Because they’re contingent upon the freewill offering of their members, all churches struggle with fluctuations in congregational giving. The difficulty lies in keeping giving consistent all year long as families miss Sundays for vacations, illnesses, and other needs. This is why digital giving is critical for churches and having an excellent giving platform is a must for ministries that want stable, more predictable budgets.
For LibertyLive, a four-campus Southern Baptist church in Virginia, Pushpay was an integral part of their budget stabilization efforts.
Choosing not to settle
For many churches, church tech gets switched out periodically and leaders are wary about transitioning between platforms too often. It’s a legitimate concern. No church wants to burden givers with the task of constantly having to learn and relearn new systems. But sometimes, its necessary to transition away from clunky, inefficient church tech and provide donors with a platform they’ll actually love using.
LibertyLive understands that struggle. In fact, by 2016 the church was already on its second online giving solution—but it wasn’t meeting their needs nor the needs of their givers. Where many churches would hobble along and make do with the solution they’ve invested in, that wasn’t going to work for LibertyLive. They weren’t going to settle for a solution that wasn’t cutting it.
Like all ministries, LibertyLive needed a giving platform that would meet their needs, but more importantly, it had to be something their congregation would embrace.
Finding a tool that’s both engaging and easy-to-use is essential if church leaders want their givers to feel good about giving on the platform and using it to donate larger amounts more often. If a system doesn’t have giver buy-in, it’ll just become another costly line item in the church’s monthly budget.
Getting your people on board
But many churches don’t do anything after they’ve found a great new tool. Leaders do their research, meet with vendors, talk about pricing, and agree that the new giving platform will increase budget stability at their church. But they’re often afraid to adopt a new system, nervous about potentially losing givers during the transition.
That’s why Pushpay doesn’t just care about maintaining a platform that people will use—the Pushpay platform was built to successfully transition givers from other giving platforms so there’s little to no disruption in donations during the switch.
For LibertyLive, Pushpay was the church’s third move to a new digital-giving platform—but by far their easiest. They quickly found that Pushpay was geared toward engagement with a five-step implementation strategy that made it easy to get people on board and transition them from previous solutions.
The Pushpay impact on LibertyLive’s budget
It stands to reason that if you want to experience consistent giving, you need to meet people where they’re at.
Justin Greene, LibertyLive’s Executive Director of Administration, says it this way, “To me, if you want to exist as a church moving forward, you have to offer online giving. If you want to be where the people are, you have to be online: they shop online, they bank online, they do everything online. So, if you’re not offering online giving, you’re asking them to do something outside their norm.”
But prioritizing digital giving alone isn’t going to have the budgetary impact you’re looking for. That’s where recurring giving comes in. When church members choose to automate their giving, it not only builds a stronger culture of generosity but also helps establish a budgetary base level.
The more people who opt-in on recurring giving, the more predictable the budget becomes.
That’s why Pushpay recently launched features that nurture people on their journey from being non-givers to committed donors at their churches. It starts with an intuitive giving platform and 10-second giving experience, but the platform really shines through features that make it easier for people to give on a consistent basis. Recurring Suggestion uses machine learning within the Pushpay system and offers givers the option to start a recurring gift based on their past giving patterns. Another feature that drives recurring donations is Default to Recurring.
LibertyLive took full advantage of Pushpay’s Default to Recurring feature which prompts people to set up a recurring gift the first time they give. As a result, the percentage of members using recurring giving jumped from 45 to 60 percent. As your percentage of recurring givers grows, giving levels-out and you see fewer peaks and valleys from month to month. This is why LibertyLive was able to have their first year with a surplus of summer giving instead of tightening their belt in the face of the summer slump.
Thousands of other churches across the country are using these same features to increase recurring giving and build more stability into their yearly budgets.
A predictable budget is within your reach
In the end, LibertyLive experienced a 10 percent increase in giving across the board, while stabilizing their budget in a way that made it easier to plan for future ministries and projects. Interested in learning how Pushpay can positively impact your budget? Click here to view our free webinar on how your church can drive recurring giving using Pushpay.