3 Reasons People don’t Give to your Church

A few months back I did a series of posts on 6 big ideas about “Engaging the Givers in your Church.” And just like there are real actionable steps that churches can take to engage givers, there are also things that churches do to repel givers. More often than not they’re doing these things and they don’t even know it. So below are three guaranteed generosity killers that are running rampant in churches today.

1. Ingratitude

You’d be surprised how infrequently churches take the time to say thank you to people who financially support the ministry. And you’d probably also be as equally surprised how far a simple thank you will go. Here are a few suggestions you can put into action this week to change that: 1) Make sure every time a person gives for the first time to the ministry of your church that they get a letter to acknowledge their gift and say thank you. 2) Each week send a handwritten personal note to each person who gives a generous gift to the ministry. 3) Say thank you from the stage and celebrate the generosity of your church when they’re generous. When you don’t say thank you what you’re saying is you don’t care.

2. Waste, or the Perception of Waste

When people feel that their financial gift and sacrifice is being used in a wasteful manner they will pull their funding in a heartbeat. What I’m not saying is that everything should be value engineered, that isn’t the highest goal. But when funds aren’t used in a strategic manner that clearly advances the mission, that’s wasteful. No doubt having the right tool for the job is important. But don’t confuse the fact that extravagance is not the same thing as excellence.

3. Duplicity

When you say you are going to use a particular offering for one need and then turn around and use it for something else you break trust. And trust is the foundation for leadership. Simply put, people don’t give to ministries that don’t have a high level of trust in.

What else have you seen churches do that discourage giving? What would you add to the list? Leave a comment!

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

7 Responses to “3 Reasons People don’t Give to your Church”

  1. Chris Gonzalez March 18, 2013 at 6:05 am #

    This may be a subset of #2. I have seen people not give to their local church because they just don’t believe in the vision of their local church. They think their dollars can be better spent investing in another missions organization or individual.

  2. Adam Collier March 18, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Another subset of #2, I’ve seen givers stop giving because of credit card over use. When church leaders all have church backed credit cards with little to no oversight. This gives a strong perception of waste.

  3. Paul Alexander March 18, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    Thanks for the comments and additions guys! I wonder what else others have seen churches do that has discouraged giving?

  4. Bud Brown August 31, 2015 at 8:19 am #

    Good list – I’m sending this link to my pastor.

    I’d add a fourth reason people don’t give to their church: NO COMPELLING REASON!

    By this I mean that when churches find their income tailing off, they usually appeal to the congregants in terms of “we need money to maintain the place.”

    People will give generously to a cause that compels action, that generates passion and captures the mind. The degree to which people feel compelled to give and serve is governed by how effective the church is in casting a vision that captivates the heart and mind.

    Which is the more compelling statement? (1) We may have to cut back on some overdue maintenance if you don’t give more. (2) We’re building a bridge into that gated retirement community just up the street, so we can win them to faith in Christ. Please help us build the abutment on our end of the bridge so it’ll be easy for folks in that community to cross over so we can minister the gospel to them.

    People give to vision. They don’t give to management.

  5. Paul Honess February 18, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

    If I think the ministry leader is arrogant and self-centered, I am loathed to give. The golden standard is a vision powered ministry with servant leadership.


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