Declining Giving Trends and Possible Causes

Beryl Jantzi is Everence Stewardship Educator

By Beryl Jantzi

“For many churches and non-profit organizations that rely on generosity this is not just a tough year, but this is going to be a tough era.”So counsels Patrick Rooney, Director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

To address these issues Everence has entered into a new partnership with the Lake Institute from Indiana University to help us train church leaders in creating congregational cultures that are not shy to talking about money.  While giving to religion remains the largest recipient of charitable dollars, giving to religious causes is the one subsector that has seen decline in the last two years.

What sits behind this decline in giving to congregations? While there are no clear answers, there are trends to consider and address:

  •  The decline in both church attendance and formal institutional membership.
  •  The generational shifts in religious practice, participation and styles of giving.
  •  The dominance of large congregations as the “church of choice” of attendees: the larger the congregation the greater the number of people who attend but do not give.
  •  The silence of religious leaders and congregations in talking and teaching about the faithful use of possessions apart from the annual obligatory stewardship or giving sermon.
  •  The failure to adapt best fundraising practices to congregational life, leaving congregations dependent on an outmoded, one-dimensional approach to giving.

The news, however, is not all grim. There are many congregations where giving is more than keeping pace with inflation. What is the secret to their success? We have observed it to be this:

  • They are congregations that intentionally nurture generosity as both a virtue and a practice
  • They embrace a diversified approach to fundraising
  • They tell their story in a way that resonates with the aspirations of their members.

For congregations willing to embrace new giving practices and principles, the future of religious giving is more vibrant with promise than peril. If you are interested in acquiring tools to better address issues of generosity and stewardship within your congregation consider asking Everence to bring a new training experience to your region called, Creating Congregational Cultures of Generosity.

Through presentation, small group and individual exercises, and a high degree of interaction, participants imagine and design their own plan for creating cultures of generosity in their congregations.

In this seminar you will discover how to:

  • Analyze the giving culture of your congregation,
  • Adapt the latest research findings on religious giving to your unique church setting,
  • Expand the ministry of pastoral care to include care for donors,
  • Transform the way you and your congregation talk about money and giving,
  • Develop an effective, comprehensive and multi-dimensional plan for fundraising,
  • Integrate best practices of fiscal transparency and internal accountability,
  • Experience the dynamic joy of shared inquiry with fellow participants of faith.

Beryl Jantzi, Everence Stewardship Educator
(for more information about CCCG email

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One thought on “Declining Giving Trends and Possible Causes

  1. Wish my father had lived to see this one ~ M. Morrow-Farrell, Philadelphia, PA.

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