July 14, 2016 Brian Dodd

5 Reasons Millennials May Not Be Giving To Your Capital Campaign


One of the primary goals of any capital campaign is to connect as many as possible in your church to the heart of God through prayer and a compelling vision of your church’s future.

As we unpack that sentence, it contains four key points every pastor and church leader should prioritize:

  1. Connecting as Many People as Possible
  2. The Heart of God
  3. Prayer
  4. A Compelling Vision

As we look at the first point, connecting as many people as possible, there is one segment in our churches often feeling disconnected and marginalized.  They are your Millennials.  Millennials, those who are 19-35 years old, currently total 75.4 million Americans.  Churches who do not effectively leverage this group have diminished campaign results and get stuck.

Recently, our team sat down with a group of Millennial leaders to find out why many are not participating in capital campaigns.  Their answers were quite revealing and as you would expect, delivered with great enthusiasm and passion.

Based upon their feedback, the following are 5 Reasons Millennials May Not Be Giving To Your Capital Campaign:

  • Millennials feel their financial gifts aren’t valued.

During a capital campaign, Millennials often feel pastors lean toward making appeals only to the wealthy in their church.  They sense the messaging is not geared towards their age group individually or collectively in small group settings.  Therefore, Millennials are not properly challenged to be generous.  Feeling undervalued and unappreciated, they feel leadership thinks they have little to offer in the area of generosity.  Sadly but understandably, Millennials then respond by leveraging their financial resources elsewhere.

A perceived lack of value results in a significant lack of response.

  • Millennials have not accumulated wealth.

A recent study showed 94% of American wealth is in non-cash assets.  Many Baby Boomers and older generations are giving to capital campaigns from accumulated wealth.  Simply put, Millennials often lack these resources.

Teach equal sacrifice, not equal gifts.

  • Millennials are outwardly focused.  

Millennials do not give to church budgets or capital campaigns out of duty.  They also do not give to a weak or unclear vision.  Millennials are, however, extraordinarily generous when giving is attached to the relief of suffering or reaching people for Jesus Christ (Kony 2012?). Rather than simply giving to physical structures or operational maintenance, Millennials leverage their financial resources to an even more compelling vision.

Pastors, make sure the vision of your church and capital campaign are such that your Millennials would say, “I could give my money to a lot of worthy causes. But there is nothing more compelling than what God is doing in the lives of people right here in my own church.”

  • Millennials don’t naturally trust institutions.

Millennials are skeptics.  Therefore, they intuitively recognize the difference between a pastor who is authentic and one who is not.  Their primary concern is do you really care about me?  Pastors, lead by example and take the time to authentically build relationships with your church’s Millennials.

Relationally engaged Millennials will then become generous Millennials.

  • Millennials have significant debt.  

Many times it is not Millennials do not want to give to your campaign. They can’t!!! Countless Millennials are acquiring massive amounts of student loan debt before ever entering the workforce.  Full-time employment opportunities for college graduates are also in very short supply. As a result, pastors can do everything in their power to address the first four issues and still not see a generous Millennial culture.

To solve this problem, you must teach biblical stewardship principles. Teach Millennials how to setup a budget and get out of debt. Help them structure their lifestyle to include giving to the church. These practical steps will begin getting Millennials unstuck and on a journey to generosity.

The resource I recommend most to pastors for personal financial coaching is Joe Sangl’s organization I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.

What are your thoughts on Millennials and generosity?

For more information on how Brian and his team can help you connect as many people as possible to your upcoming capital campaign click here or visit INJOY Stewardship Solutions online.

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Brian Dodd

Brian is the Director of New Ministry Relationships for Injoy Stewardship Solutions who helps churches fully-fund their mission and vision. During the last 14+ years, he has spent each day having one-on-one conversations with many of the greatest church leaders in America. Brian also has 30 years of church volunteer and staff experience.
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