Now that we’ve entered the relaxing days of summer, it’s natural that some parishes begin to prepare for that dip in member engagement and, naturally following, generosity. School is over, vacations have been planned, and barbeques are in full swing. As Church, it’s our responsibility to remind our parishioners that just because their schedules are changing, doesn’t mean our ministries and the funds needed to keep them going, are, too.
Here are four easy ways your parish can avoid the “summer generosity dip.”
1. Encourage Recurring Online Giving
Help your parishioners relax this summer by reminding them about the ease of giving online. These days, families begin to worry about summer camp, swimsuits, sunblock, and snacks for those long car rides. Help take parish donations off their plates by making online giving easy and safe — an option that allows them to contribute whether they’re in the pews or not.
There are numerous reasons why parishioners might not be at their usual Mass these next couple of months. Maybe they chose to attend a parish with a Mass time that better meets their schedule, or perhaps they end up going to a parish that is in their vacation area. Whatever the reason, ensure that your members have zero reason to not give by encouraging them to sign up for online giving before they leave.
2. Keep Them in Touch with Parish Life
No matter where they go, or how often they attend Mass at your specific parish, make sure you keep them up to date on the latest happenings. If your faith community has a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account, make sure everyone with a social media account is connected and following along.
LPi bulletin customers have a listing on Parishes Online that includes easy sign up for bulletin notifications. Simply add member emails to the list (or encourage them to add themselves!), and they’ll be all set to receive a link to the latest bulletin as soon as it goes to print.
3. Give Them Reasons & Opportunities to Join In
Oftentimes, parishioners don’t know what is needed in and for your church, until you make it known. That’s why summer is the perfect time to take inventory of what can be improved on at the parish level and to actively seek people out to help with the process — whether that be time, talent or treasure. No matter what the project, researching ways to be more efficient at stuffing the weekly bulletin, contacting companies for donations for the upcoming parish auction, or weeding the garden outside, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
Place a help wanted ad in the next bulletin, announce that a sign-up sheet will be in the back of church for the upcoming meal program, or talk about the many needs of the church during an upcoming homily. Put together some activities that can be done as a group, such as painting or cleaning, and invite members to stop by for an hour or two to lend a hand.
4. Encourage Them to Stay
Keeping the faith at the forefront of your parishioners’ minds can be challenging, especially once summer rolls around. And with many still taking COVID precautions, there is no better time than now for a “staycation.” Simple fundraising opportunities are one way you can increase parish engagement and consistent giving.
Consider an outdoor movie night, where half the proceeds go to parish debt reduction. Or how about a “pay what you may” picnic to support next year’s faith formation? Also, with school being out, a lot of parents need childcare during the summer, and a way that parishes can help is by offering a week or two of Vacation Bible School. Not only does it allow formation for our youngest members, but also gives parents some much needed help with childcare. And teens going through the confirmation process can also get their volunteer hours taken care of by volunteering their time.