Giving USA publishes The Annual Report on Philanthropy, a publication reporting on the sources and uses of charitable giving in the United States. In this years Giving USA Special Report on Giving to Religion, you can find some interesting bits of information on the current state of religious giving.
Once again, we find that “religiously affiliated people more likely to donate, whether to place of worship or other charitable organizations…” So while church attendance is decreasing, the rate of giving for those who attend church has not wavered.
What’s interesting, is what we find with Millennial giving.
Millennial Giving: Looking at Numbers
Statistically speaking, older generations give more to religious organizations. But when you begin to dig deeper into the numbers, the study reveals that it’s more complex than total dollars and cents. Comparing someone who is 25 versus someone who is 50, ignores established wealth, expenses, return on investments, and many more variables that stack-up against younger donors.
In the end, this special report by Giving USA states:
“An analysis this detailed is beyond the scope of this Special Report; however, Rooney, Wang, and Ottoni-Wilhelm have recently presented findings from the PPS indicating that the average annual charitable contribution has gone down from generation to generation when examining all households, including non-donors. However, this drop is driven almost entirely by the overall decline in the percentage of the population who are donors at all. When analyzing giving by donors only, giving in some generations remains relatively stable across cohort groups, even trending up among some.”
Some generation groups give less than others, but individuals within less generous generation groups are more generous then than donor counterparts from other generations.
Ultimately, it isn’t about this generation vs that generation. It’s not about “targeting” a higher ROI (Return On Investment). The truth of the matter is that giving is a very personal activity and demographics should not shoehorn your approach to potential donors.
Millenial Giving: Looking at the Giving
Several years ago, Barna conducted a study on Millenials and faith. They found four ways they integrate technology with their faith:
- Read their Bible on their smartphone.
- Learn about a church using the church’s website.
- Watch online video to learn about their faith.
- Search for spiritual content online.
This study is a few years old, so I imagine the numbers are even higher today.
Millennials are online. They prefer online. And making donations to an organization they care about is no different.
At the end of the day, it’s about providing tools that work. Giving people options they are comfortable with. There is a reason why none of us go around with $10,000 in cash — but have no problem carrying a credit card around with us everyone that can be used for double that amount.
It’s not so much about the how and why of Millenial giving, as much as it is about providing a gateway Millennials (and myself for that matter) are comfortable with.
Don’t get caught up in the ROI, best marketing practices, and all of the business speak the comes with it. In the end, it’s about people helping people. It’s about the Body of Christ supporting one another. It’s about the future of the Church!
If your church isn’t offering online giving, mobile giving, text giving, or even just one of these options, you need to now.
Tithe.ly is one of my favorite tools. It will bring together all of these modern giving gateways conveniently into one package. You may have a lot of questions, we have answers, and the team at Tithe.ly have a real love for the Church and making the world a better place for us all.
If you have any questions, let me know. I would be happy to answer them in the comments below.