Segmenting your donors into different groups enhances your church communication.
But why? Because you’re specifically targeting givers where they are at in their spiritual journey. Your church communication with a first-time giver and a lapsed giver should be different, because they are at different places.
Your church communication with a first-time giver and a lapsed giver should be different, because they are at different places.
Talking to your lapsed givers the same way you would talk to an active giver hinders your discipleship efforts. There’s a reason behind why the donor stopped giving. And it’s up to you to connect with these individuals to offer encouragement and discipleship to strengthen their relationship with the Lord and your church.
Communicating with donors can be intimidating and confusing. This is why we’re in the middle of blog series examining what your communication should look like with each category of giver (first-time, lapsed, active, recurring, high capacity, and those who go above and beyond), what to include, and how often to communicate.
So let’s take a look at what your communication with lapsed givers should look like.
What is a lapsed giver?
A lapsed giver is someone who gave previously, whether an active or recurring giver, but has not given within the past 12 months.
How do you communicate with lapsed givers?
Remember this when starting your communication: your tone should be gentle, understanding, and empowering. Be gentle with assumptions and discipleships. We generally don’t know the reason(s) someone stopped giving. Perhaps this individual lost their job. Or potentially there’s a sickness in the family with surmounting medical bills. Or maybe it’s as simple as they don’t know how to give digitally with all the changes of how we do church with the pandemic.
These individuals may not have learned how to be obedient and faithful givers yet and this can be hard a pill to swallow. The reason for the lapse might not be spiritual immaturity, they might not understand true generosity (they give when they feel moved to give not because of biblical principles).
It’s a relationship with the giver first, not a financial transaction.
Communicating with lapsed givers can be done electronically through email. But if the lapsed giver gave generously and recurrently before suddenly stopping, you need to make a personal phone call to check in. Wait to ask the individual to resume giving until you have more context about their situation. It’s a relationship with the giver first, not a financial transaction. Remind the giver that you as a pastor care about them, their family, and their walk with Christ. If the context behind the situation is greater, meet for a cup of coffee after the phone call. Offer guidance, encouragement, and prayer.
Always empower your lapsed givers.
Use numbers. Go high impact with what they can do. Tell them if they resume giving and give just $15 a month, they can feed a child in Haiti through your sponsorship program. Or if they donate $20 a month to missions, they are helping to put a new roof on a single mother’s home. They don’t have to give a lot each month, let them know that they can start small (remember the goal here is to resume the act of giving, not to increase what they were giving). But let them know that even a small donation makes a big impact in your community and it’s what allows your church to make life-changing ministry happen.
Give them a new opportunity to give. Provide a link to your online giving. Be specific in this opportunity. Share a tanginale, small way your donor can meet a need. A specific offering to a specific outreach opportunity. An immediate need in the church, for example supporting a food pantry or a homeless shelter- not a call to give to an annual fund.
Provide Biblical references for your lapsed givers.
Keep in mind, each situation is unique and requires a different approach to discipleship. Talk with your lapsed givers first to better understand their situation and how to best disciple them through their current walk in life.
Once you better understand their situation, here are a few scriptures you can share with them:
- Widow’s Offering (Mark 12:41-44) and Elijah and the Widow (1 Kings 14:7-24) are examples of sacrificial giving and the Lord’s ability to supernaturally provide during times of need when we remain faithful.
- Philippians 4 tells us that the call to give remains, even in times of difficulty, and shares the Lord’s promise to meet our needs. In this passage, Paul evokes empathy. He knows what it’s like to be in times of plenty and in times of need. But through Paul’s message, we are able to see his contentment with the world coming from Christ alone and being unaffected by seasons of drought.
- Proverbs 3:9 reminds us that when we honor the Lord, He will give us what we need even in the bleakest of times.
Remember not to assume the reason why an individual has stopped giving. It could be anything from financial hardship to an illness in the family to not knowing how the church spends money to not understanding the Lord’s call to give. Check in with your lapsed givers with a gentle and understanding manner and proceed with discipleship and pastoral support from there.