HIGHLIGHT #1. There is a wide continuum of practices regarding the senior pastor’s knowledge of who is giving—and how much. Just 10% of senior pastors know who is giving and how much. Another 7% know who is giving but not how much. Just under 47% of senior pastors can make specific inquiries on giving but they do not routinely have access to giving records. Just over 24% of all senior pastors never know who is giving nor how much.
HIGHLIGHT #2. Two-thirds of churches have no written biblical generosity strategy. Just 31% of churches said they had a written strategy for inspiring people in biblical generosity, while 43% affirmed they had a written core value on biblical stewardship. And 58% said they did not have a written philosophy for teaching people what the Bible says about money and possessions.
HIGHLIGHT #3. Church leaders are extremely satisfied with how they manage financial
resources but less satisfied with how they cast the vision for funding the ministry. A stunning 97% of church leaders were extremely satisfied or very satisfied that they are managing the church’s financial resources with trust and integrity. Yet just 50% were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with how they were casting the vision for funding the church’s total ministry.
HIGHLIGHT #4. Senior pastors are strong in teaching biblical stewardship but need improvement in developing relationships with major givers. More than 77% said their senior pastor’s ability at teaching biblical stewardship was extremely effective or very effective. Yet almost half said their senior pastor’s ability at developing relationships with major givers could be improved. Here’s how they rated their senior pastors on the major giver question: extremely effective (20%), very effective (20%), moderately effective (21%), slightly effective (16%), or not at all effective (9%).
HIGHLIGHT #5. The 80/20 Rule is still true (almost). While 26% responded that 20% of their people give 80% of the dollars (“The 80/20 Rule”), another 25% said that 25% of their people give 75% of the gifts. But note this: Over 15% are tracking above the 80/20 Rule with a range of 5% to 15% of people giving between 85% to 95% of the dollars. The “we don’t know” box was checked by 11%.
HIGHLIGHT #6. Leaders indicate strong satisfaction with both achieving budget goals and
keeping spending under budget. Over 76% of churches said they were extremely effective or very effective at achieving budgeted revenue goals over the last 12 to 18 months (2012 through July 2013). Almost 77% said they were also extremely effective or very effective at spending less than their budgeted expense goals for the same period.
HIGHLIGHT #7. Spiritual complacency and inadequate understanding of biblical generosity were ranked as the two greatest obstacles to increased giving. Church leaders were asked to rank the Top 5 areas that are currently the greatest obstacles to increasing giving. Just over 24% said both “spiritual complacency among members/attendees” and “inadequate understanding of biblical generosity” were the “#1 Obstacles,” yet “current economic environment” had the most Top 5 votes.
HIGHLIGHT #8. Churches have embraced digital giving. More than half of all ECFA accredited churches are leveraging a wide variety of digital giving tools for their people including credit cards, debit cards, electronic bill pay, electronic funds transfers (EFT), and online giving via the church website. Of 56 ECFA-accredited churches that responded to this question, 12 are using giving kiosks and another 8 churches are planning to add kiosks in the next 12 months, so almost 36% of ECFA-accredited churches in this survey are including kiosks in their digital giving menus.
HIGHLIGHT #9. When asked what kind of stewardship training the church provides to staff, board, and volunteers, approximately 40% to 50% of churches said “none.” The survey asked church leaders to identify the kind of training provided over the past 12–18 months in the area of biblical stewardship and growing generous givers. No training was provided to 43% of senior pastors, 50% of elders and/or board members, 43% of the stewardship staff, and almost 57% of church staff from other departments.
HIGHLIGHT #10. What needs fixing or improving? Adding more givers. Church leaders agreed or strongly agreed that three key areas need fixing or improving: (1) adding more givers (92.3%), (2) understanding and coaching givers in biblical generosity (91.9%), and (3) moving current givers to higher giving amounts (89.6%).
BONuS HIGHLIGHT. Giving to evangelical churches and ministries outpaces giving to
secular charities. According to the 2013 ECFA State of Giving Report (comparing 2011 to 2012), giving to ECFA-accredited churches showed an increase of 5.2% in cash charitable contributions: $805 million to $847 million. HT