Church Finances during COVID-19 (part 4 of 5) – maintain (or increase) income

During this time when church buildings are closed, the church can address its finances in a productive way. During the 2008-2010 Great Recession, I advised churches to reduce their budgets by 10%; the churches that did that survived without letting go any staff or even cutting their wages. The level of our impending economic crisis is dramatically different than the Great Recession so the ideas of the past may not serve us in the present but they can help. Here are some ideas for the present reality (these ideas are good for any time of the year, not just during a crisis).


Maintain (or Increase) Income

  1. Online giving
    1. If you have an online giving program, mention it in every communication sent out from the church and in your Sunday worship services.
    2. If you have online worship, ensure there is a link to your online giving or a QR code visible on screen at all times
    3. Make sure that “Give” or “Donate” is a bold/red clickable link on your church’s main web page.
    4. If you don’t have an online giving program, contact the folks at to get one set up. It takes an hour or so. I don’t get any referral money from them but I’ve used almost a dozen online giving platforms and Tithely is among the best.
  2. Donor Gift Statements
    1. Every quarter and right after Thanksgiving, send an email statement of contributions to each of your donors. This won’t cost anything except time and it goes only to your donors unless you expand the spectrum of who gets the notice. Attach a cover letter that includes stories of the ministries the church has done recently with children, youth, adults, missions, etc.
    2. During this time of Covid-19, it is critical that you send out a letter (like NOW) and donor gift statement. Donors need to be reminded to give, to be thanked for their gifts, and to know what their gifts are doing. Please tell people that while your building was closed your members and staff were busy doing ministry – the church continues to live.
  3. Special mailing
    1. Depending on how your finances are doing, you should consider a special letter sent from the Finance Committee in May and/or June 2020. (In July you’ll send another donor gift statement). This letter should spell out the financial situation of the church, thank people for their gifts, and encourage more giving if the shortfall is significant.
  4. Contact your members
    1. Use this time to have members of the staff and key committees (Elders, Trustees, Finance, Personnel, Deacons, etc.) talk via phone (not email) with every member and attendee of the church. They need to feel connected and leadership should step up.
  5. Planned Giving and Endowment
    1. Talking about including the church in members’ wills is always right. It isn’t morbid to mention this topic – people are already thinking about death but they’re not thinking about their will and they need to. Prompt them to use this time to consider what will happen to their estate when they die. People give money to three things (actually four): their family, their friends, and the organizations they love (and taxes if they don’t plan well; Howard Hughes and Aretha died without wills and paid Uncle Sam millions).
    2. If you need help getting an Endowment started at your church or want more info, please go to and download the free “Endowment Manual.”

Lead On!


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