By Gina Calvert

2021 Church Giving Trends

Guess what?! 2021 church giving trends aren’t all gloom and doom! Take a look at where the path has taken us this year … and what we’re seeing that’s new.

Post-COVID Generosity

If you’ve been wondering how other churches fared through and post-COVID, State of the Plate reports some good news about church giving trends. For starters, an April 2020 survey and a follow-up survey in August 2020 showed significant initial declines. But by the time of a follow-up survey in August 2020, 42% saw giving stabilize and 22% of churches reported giving increases.

The addition of online giving, along with catch-up or extra benevolence offerings are thought to explain this rise. Unfortunately, for most churches, attendance rates have not recovered:

  • 58% of church’s in-person services have less than half the attendees as post-COVID
  • 24% have three-fourths pre-COVID attendance rates
  • Only 6% have more attendees that pre-COVID

Furthermore, the vast majority of churches paid staff in full throughout 2020. 32.5% did so with the help of a PPP loan. Finally, 75% expect to continue paying payroll and operational expenses, though they may postpone some projects.

Giving Patterns

We’ve known for a while that as many as 75-90% of your members don’t tithe (Source). But it’s encouraging to learn that those who do are generous, giving 11-20%. Additionally, 70% tithe based on their gross, not net, income.

It’s no surprise that debt levels play heavily into generosity and the lack thereof. (Source) That means financial curriculum can be a useful long-term tool to impact giving.

Digital Giving

Online giving is the most-credited church giving trend for encouraging consistent and generous giving. (Source) In the order of usage, other top efforts include:

  • Benevolence requests
  • Sermons
  • Pastor appreciation offerings
  • Missions
  • Capital campaigns
  • Financial curriculum
  • Weekly Bible verse on generosity
  • Legacy/estate giving awareness
  • Financial speaker or seminar

Online and mobile giving help encourage consistent giving through the convenience of anytime, anywhere availability. They also enable recurring giving, which lets givers automate their gifts to the schedule of their choice.

One of the most exciting church giving trends on the rise is the use of visual ministry designations on the church’s online giving page to inspire givers to browse through giving opportunities that speak to their heart. (See how Saddleback Church leverages this feature.) This trend, along with technical features like guest accounts and keeping givers on your website, has been shown to increase giving amounts by an average of 23%.

Donor Stewardship Strategies

Nurturing generosity in the new digital world is not easy. We’re seeing more leaders promoting donor stewardship, which focuses on building relationship with givers through digital communications and other in-person tactics. They encourage the judicious use of giving data to better serve their members and ensure their messaging is relevant to each giver.

A Ministry-First Approach to Generosity: 26 Tactics for Using Giving Data to Better Serve Your Members.

Grow Generosity in 2022 with Vision2

One church giving trend we’d like to see is more churches moving their back offices into the future. Download 7 Steps to Bring Your Back Office Into the Future today to get all the details for creating a streamlined, contemporary finance back office.

Or take our free, no-risk Giving Experience Audit to see how your current system stacks up against 60 of the most common obstacles that get in the way of a giver’s generosity.