August 2, 2019

Ten Ideas for Annual Giving that Work

Whether in capital campaign mode or not, annual giving is the primary source for funding the annual budget for most churches. Here are ten actions taken by churches that resulted in real increases in annual giving:

  1. Challenge potential givers to make your church one of their top ten charities.
    Research shows the higher up your church is on their list, the more they will give you.
  2. Create a child giving program to teach children how their gift makes a difference.
    Example: $5 per month could pay for a mosquito net, a palm cross or a school backpack.
  3. Visit new members, talk over their interests and how/why their pledge is important.
    Example: When people understand what a pledge is and are invited to participate they are more likely to pledge, and will feel more integrated into the church family.
  4. Support a new, exciting mission activity run by the parish, in the community or globally.
    If your church shows it is making a difference in the world, people will give more.
  5. Making online giving easy doesn’t have to mean high processing charges.
    Provider options include:, and
  6. Remove anxiety for first time pledgers and allow pledges for 6 months at a time.
    Some who are experiencing a life change do not have predictable income.
  7. Ask existing pledgers who pay by credit card or online to cover processing fees too.
    Most pledgers agree to do this and you will see a 3%-4% increase in electronic giving.
  8. Always include this line in the pledge materials: “Is the church in your will or estate plans?” It will assist your priest, planned giving committee and legacy society with their work.
  9. Get a portable Wi-Fi functional credit card machine to use at events and fundraisers.
    Make it easy and people will give more. Ask to round up purchase or donation amounts.
  10. Have the children in the parish write thank you cards to all who pledge.
    When givers know they are appreciated and have been thanked, they will give again.

In the end, every annual pledge or gift to the church is a deeply personal decision. Here are three important things you should consider as you think about your pledge for next year:

  • Have you discussed your annual pledge with God in prayer?
  • How do you talk about pledging and money with your spouse, partner and children?
  • What do you do to express your thankfulness for the many blessings God has given you?

The original text of this article has been edited to reflect ECF's current programs.