Episode 8 | Millenials and Giving

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In this episode, we discuss statistics about millenial givers and why they’re different from previous generations.

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Transcript:

Katie Allred:                 Welcome to the Church Communications Podcast, the podcast that celebrates Church Communicators that are around the world. Our podcast offers practical advice for your church communication strategy needs and this podcast is brought to you by Katie Allred and Josh Taylor of churchcommunications.com.

Katie Allred:                 Welcome to the Church Communications Podcast, I’m Katie Allred and with me today is Josh Taylor.

Josh Taylor:                  Hey Katie.

Katie Allred:                 How’s it going?

Josh Taylor:                  It’s good, how are you?

Katie Allred:                 I’m, you know, I’m great.

Josh Taylor:                  Good.

Katie Allred:                 So, today, I’m so excited because we are joined with the Kyler Nixon a good friend of mine, a moderator in our Church Communications Facebook group. He’s also a StoryBrand Guide and Kyler, why don’t you just tell the fine people about yourself?

Kyler Nixon:                 Yeah, you pretty much covered it, I live in [crosstalk 00:00:55] Madison Wisconsin.

Josh Taylor:                  That’s it, that’s Tyler.

Kyler Nixon:                 That’s totally me, that’s 100% me. So, yeah, I’m just out here living my best life, as always Katie. You know me.

Katie Allred:                 I do, I do know you pretty well.

Katie Allred:                 So, I brought you on the podcast today because we’re talking about millennials and giving. And here’s the thing, we’re covering the entire Millenial spectrum in this podcast. From the Xennial…

Kyler Nixon:                 Yeah.

Katie Allred:                 Okay, and then I’m directly in the middle, I’m Taylor Swift millenial, and then you’re at the very end of the millenial in like 2000, right?

Kyler Nixon:                 Yeah, I’m like, according to some people could possible fall under GenZ but I’m, I’m, more in line with millenials I would say.

Katie Allred:                 So also a Xinnial, just at the other end of it.

Kyler Nixon:                 Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Katie Allred:                 Pretty much. And I am like a direct, just a millenial, no questions about it.

Katie Allred:                 We found some great statistics about millenials and charitable giving and the first one is that 25 percent of the population is a Millenial. We’re willing to say that that might actually be a little bit more today.

Josh Taylor:                  Because that was back in 2017 so I… it might be a little bit more now.

Katie Allred:                 Right. And then 40 percent of millenial donors are enrolled in a monthly giving program. That kind of shocked me. I was-

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, I was surprised about that.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah, so, like, we are like a… I would say too, about millennials, I feel like we are super generous.

Josh Taylor:                  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Katie Allred:                 I think we are very cause driven.

Josh Taylor:                  Yep.

Katie Allred:                 We have to know, why we’re giving and who we’re giving to, and then we have… there has to be a super level of authenticity and transparency behind it.

Kyler Nixon:                 Right.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah. So, as a xennial, which are the, they just reclassified us, I think it’s like ’78 or ’79 to ’85 or something like that.

Katie Allred:                 Right.

Josh Taylor:                  So I’m right in the middle of that. We’re millenials but we, we remember a life before the internet…

Katie Allred:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh Taylor:                  But really grew up with the Internet.

Katie Allred:                 Right.

Josh Taylor:                  So, you know, like You’ve Got Mail was a big deal when we were a kid and not everybody had internet in their house.

Katie Allred:                 Right.

Josh Taylor:                  Now, pretty much everybody does, smartphones obviously didn’t exist, or anything like that. And so, we use technology a little bit differently. We probably have a little bit different giving habits than Milllenials, than younger Millenials, where as you know, you falling in the middle of that and then Ty-Kyler. I almost said it’s not Tyler and then I almost called you Tyler. But, Kyler…

Kyler Nixon:                 It’s my entire life so don’t even worry about it.

Josh Taylor:                  I mean, you grew up, how old were you when you got your first smartphone?

Kyler Nixon:                 Oh man, probably sixth grade, seventh grade, 12, 13 I would imagine.

Josh Taylor:                  I think I almost graduated collage by the time…

Katie Allred:                 No, I did graduate, I had graduated collage by the time I got an iPhone.

Josh Taylor:                  Okay.

Katie Allred:                 It was 2013.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah. I mean I remember when the iPod, the iPhone came out and I remember saying this to my friend, “Why in the world would anybody want their iPod and their phone to be the same device? Who’s gonna by that?”

Katie Allred:                 Yeah, so you know, a little unique, right? I also grew up without technology, up until I was nine and then I started coding.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah.

Katie Allred:                 Which is a big part of my story.

Josh Taylor:                  Oh wow.

Katie Allred:                 Normal, normal. Everybody was coding when they were nine, right?

Josh Taylor:                  Who wasn’t coding websites when they were nine?

Katie Allred:                 Who wasn’t doing that? So we’re a unique generation, right? We had Neopets but we also had the outdoors cause we weren’t totally chained to our devices, quite yet, like the next generation I think really is.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah.

Kyler Nixon:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Katie Allred:                 So, Kyler, when, when churches are asking for gifts, what do you, I don’t know, is there any giving moment like at a church, that really stands out to you as like an amazing pitch, or a terrible one?

Kyler Nixon:                 Yeah, well, it’s cool that you guys asked me to be on this because I grew up in church and giving and like tithing has always been a really big part of my family and kind of like our story when we were younger. We would get, you know, go to kids church and we’d get two dollars in dimes, so we could give 20 cents to the offering or whatever. So, growing up tithing and giving was always just a here’s what we do. Like, this is just a part of our story.

Kyler Nixon:                 So, to answer your question, I think me growing up and making it, over the last you know, five, six years, turning it from what my parent’s have told me about faith, Christianity and church, into, okay now this is something I have to do for myself. And I’m not just tithing allowance money. I’m tithing money that I’ve now, like, actually earned, you know? Moving into that it’s been kind of interesting to go through… I was kind of on two spectrums I worked at a church that was very, very, out… I want to be sensitive to this, they were very heavy on giving. It was pretty, a little more heavy handed. Every week there was a five minute giving session. They did special offerings quite often, to the last church that I was at before we moved out of Phoenix, didn’t even have an offering time. They just put their boxes at the back of the sanctuary, mentioned it during the announcements and that was pretty much it.

Kyler Nixon:                 So, in terms of like a big, giving moment I guess, if that’s what you’re asking, I think there is kind of a two fold. There’s the subtile just continual vision of the church, just being able to say, “Hey, here’s where we’re going and we need your money to support that.” I think that’s something that we tend to get behind, my wife and I, just to be able to understand where our money is actually going. Which you mentioned earlier in transparency. But then the other part of that is we’re more apt to support big, like the big ticket items, if we totally understand what this is. Like, Instead of just saying, “We have a two million dollar build out campaign and you know, we’re so excited about this beautiful building,” like, well, we don’t really care about that stupid building. Tell me like, what that means like, okay, we’re going to have-

Katie Allred:                 What we’re building.

Kyler Nixon:                 Be able to have more community… Yeah, exactly. So I think we’re able to get behind those types of causes a little bit more, like, as the younger millenial crowd. Like, we give and we tithe and that’s just an easy, I think that’s an easy thing for us at this point. But in terms of the big giving things it takes a little bit more than an impulse to give, if you will.

Katie Allred:                 And giving, how do you give? Like, do you do it-

Kyler Nixon:                 In term of like?

Katie Allred:                 Like, do you do it via check or do you?

Kyler Nixon:                 Katie wants to know my exact tithe amount, every month, what day I give.

Katie Allred:                 I want to know how much you’re giving, and then your check account number…

Kyler Nixon:                 That’s where this is going.

Katie Allred:                 And routing…

Kyler Nixon:                 That’s where this is actually going.

Kyler Nixon:                 So, this is also kind of interesting. We started off and I loved… My church that I grew up in adopted digital giving when I was a freshman in college and I was working there and helping the church. We had never had any type of digital giving so when it first happened I was like, “This is awesome!” Like I was text to give, give 20 bucks or whatever and it was just so easy to do that. Now, we still primarily give via Text to Give, but, we also, maybe every couple months like bringing in a physical check, because I just like the act of giving. Like the physical parting of your money and it just makes it a little more like, a little more like a sacrifice than just texting in, you know, to whatever the number is.

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Katie Allred:                 Yeah, we can’t wait.

Katie Allred:                 It says on this charitable gifts statistic, it says millienials are active on their phones and respond best to text messages and social media but rarely check personal email or respond to voice calls. Which I think is true of me too. I’ll check a text message in a second, but if you leave me voicemail it will probably be a few days before I actually listen to it. Email I’m pretty good at but-

Kyler Nixon:                 Yeah.

Katie Allred:                 I’m like, uhhhh.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, I still have one from this morning that I have not listened to.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah, I’d probably, if you left me a voicemail, I mean God bless you, I’m not getting back to you.

Kyler Nixon:                 Yeah, I’m right in line with that too.

Josh Taylor:                  So, with, with engagement with your church, and talking about texting, voice mail, and calling, what are some of the best ways that you found… You work with a lot of churches, you work on website development and strategy for their marketing communication and things. What are some of the most successful ways that you’ve been able to see churches reach out and engage millenials?

Katie Allred:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kyler Nixon:                 Yeah, Katie mentioned this a minute ago, just about supporting a cause, I mentioned that when I was talking. I think, more so than ever, I think with our parents generation it was like, “The church needs $10,000, can you give?” And then it was just, you just gave because that was what you did. Right, you were part of the church-

Katie Allred:                 [inaudible 00:10:19] dollars.

Kyler Nixon:                 Yeah, exactly. So I think now, in turns of engaging millenials, and Josh, I know you’ve talked about this topic in other avenues, and stuff like that. I think it starts with the problem. What’s the problem that we are solving with this money. I’m willing to get behind it and I know [inaudible 00:10:35] I want to support my local body, but I also want to know why. I’m not just going to give just to give. Or, if it’s something that is like, I’m just using this as a made up example, but say a church is wanting to build a café and needs $100,000 three’s no… I don’t understand the need for that. Like, it’s just, we’re just trying to play church, I’m not going to get behind that. It’s just, it’s hard for me to understand that and then it’s also hard for me to give. So, I think in terms of engagement, just being able to say, “Hey. Clearly, here is where your money is going.” That’s a big one.

Kyler Nixon:                 Literally in terms of the fund it’s going into, how it’s going to be used from a practical standpoint. But then also allowing me to understand why it’s being used. Like, here’s why we’re doing this now, because we want to engage our community better, because we want to provide a space for people to connect with others, or whatever that is. I would say me personally, that’s where I love hearing from churches. I want to know what is that problem-

Katie Allred:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kyler Nixon:                 And then how are you going to solve it and why does my money make a difference in that, you know, path.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah.

Josh Taylor:                  So, for most of us millenials, we’ve been around social media long enough, I mean, Facebook was coming out when I was maybe midway through college. And, you have pretty much grown up with social media, most of your life. I mean, your parent’s probably posted pictures of you when you were younger on social media or something you know which, thank God social media wasn’t around when I was a kid.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah, me too. [crosstalk 00:12:02] we had MySpace when I was like 16 I guess.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, we had MySpace but it was so different.

Katie Allred:                 I guess.

Kyler Nixon:                 The worst is when they come back. Like, I’m getting little kid pictures of me posted now, as a young adult, cause, I just missed it. They miss me when I was too young, so that’s like, the worst.

Josh Taylor:                  That’s funny. So with that, we, we, and you know, there were scandals before millenial generations, there were scandals all the time but you just didn’t hear about it as much. And so there was more trust and I think that that’s why, in our parent’s generation, the church could say, “Hey, we need $10,000 for this.” And there wasn’t a lot of questions asked. Because there was more trust. Now, for us, it’s like every time we turn around we hear about a new scandal. I don’t think it’s because there are more scandals I just think that the world has gotten smaller through technology-

Katie Allred:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh Taylor:                  So we hear about everything.

Kyler Nixon:                 Right.

Josh Taylor:                  So, there maybe some churches, and church communicators and church staff that have had a scandal in the past-

Katie Allred:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh Taylor:                  And so trust is broken, especially with the younger generations. And I know I’m putting you on the spot here but what do you think are some great ways that those churches can build back that trust so that the millenials and the younger generations in the church really start to invest and engage with the church again?

Kyler Nixon:                 Yeah. I don’t have a ton of experience, in terms of being in a church where that has actively happened. My home church experienced something similar to that but it happened… It came out several years after the fact and so there wasn’t trust broken with the leadership, it was more the previous pastor that was there and that kind of just blew over naturally because he was gone and so whatever. I think in terms of restoring that trust it all comes back to just that clear communication.

Kyler Nixon:                 Like owning up to it, saying here’s exactly what happened. And we’re going to explain what happened, with in reason obviously, depending on what the situation is there is privacy issues and all that type of stuff. And then saying, “Here is exactly what we’re going to do to rectify the situation.” And I think that just clearly explaining that… in the age of information like, I grew up where I can just pull out my phone and Google a question. Or like in high school we had laptops in class, to be able to literally like search stuff or whatever. So, in the age of information, just being able to have that information presented to me so I don’t have to go and dig around for it I don’t have to, you know, you kind of eliminate all the, I don’t want to say church gossip but, like, kind of the rumors that start to spread and spread and spread, by just saying, “Here’s exactly what happened and here’s what we’re gonna do to rectify that situation.” And there’s more mediums now then there ever has been before, you know?

Kyler Nixon:                 So being able to not just put it out on a Sunday morning but also being able to say, “Hey, we’re going to email you this exact statement from our Pastor.” Or, “Here’s exactly what’s happening, and we’re going to keep in touch with you this way.” Or social media, or blogs on your website, or whatever that looks like. Just being able to have that constant, you know, information being presented and then I think the other part of that is accessibility. Being available to answer questions, whatever format that looks like, and being able to let me voice my concerns, I think is important.

Katie Allred:                 For sure.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, I think that’s good, I think… I mean that’s a great PR strategy too, that, you know, we live in a world where people, people don’t want to give all the facts… Honestly we live in a world where we aren’t sure which, which ones are the facts.

Kyler Nixon:                 Uh-huh (affirmative).

Katie Allred:                 Yeah.

Josh Taylor:                  But, I think that the more open we can be, the more honest that we can be-

Katie Allred:                 Yeah.

Josh Taylor:                  The more we can own the problem. Honestly I think, especially these younger generations, they are more quickly to forgive.

Katie Allred:                 Right.

Kyler Nixon:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh Taylor:                  Because they, I mean, we realize we have a lot of empathy, I think millennials have a lot of compassion, a lot of empathy.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah.

Josh Taylor:                  We realize people aren’t perfect, just don’t lie to us.

Katie Allred:                 Right.

Josh Taylor:                  And-

Kyler Nixon:                 Right. [crosstalk 00:15:29]

Katie Allred:                 Be transparent, be honest with us.

Josh Taylor:                  Don’t treat us like we’re unintelligent and we don’t really know what’s going on. [crosstalk 00:15:35]

Kyler Nixon:                 We grew up in a world where the BS meter was off, constantly off the charts, like we can just tell, you know, we’re at a point [inaudible 00:15:40] it’s so easy to see past all that stuff.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah.

Katie Allred:                 If someone stole a hundred thousand dollars, just tell us, tell us that someone stole a hundred thousand dollars.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah. [inaudible 00:15:48]

Katie Allred:                 You know? Or that a hundred thousand dollars was mismanaged and we will fix it.

Josh Taylor:                  And we’re gonna change [crosstalk 00:15:52]

Katie Allred:                 What it will take to fix it so that [inaudible 00:15:55], that we can rectify it that it won’t happen again, right?

Josh Taylor:                  So, the thing that I’m really seeing here from, whether it’s over coming a scandal and building back that trust so that people invest, to getting people to invest, in either a new campaign, a capital campaign, or a, just to invest in your ministry in general is just being very transparent, very open about what you’re doing, where the money is going… And how they can be a part of it and how it’s effecting the people in the community around them.

Josh Taylor:                  And, I think going to change when things don’t work, or if you’re doing a ministry that’s just not being effective, being willing to change that. Where that would have been more difficult in generations previous-

Katie Allred:                 Right.

Josh Taylor:                  I think we are more willing to change, you know, even still as a xennial, change can still be difficult, but, when we see that something is not working, and there is something else that might work better, we’re willing to try it out.

Katie Allred:                 Right.

Kyler Nixon:                 For sure. 100%.

Josh Taylor:                  Well cool. Kyler, thanks so much, tell us, how can we-

Katie Allred:                 Connect with you.

Josh Taylor:                  Connect with you because you do a lot of great work for churches, so how can people connect with you?

Kyler Nixon:                 Me and my buddy Jonathan Carone have a podcast called Solving Problems, if you go to solvingproblemspodcast.com we have a ton of podcasts about how to use the StoryBrand framework to grow your church. So, we’re talking a little bit about some of those principals today and I know Josh, obviously you being a guide, and Katie, you’re getting ready to be a guide, we’re all big fans of StoryBrand, but on a personal level you can connect with me at Kylercreative.com and I would love to work with your church through some of these things we’ve been talking about.

Josh Taylor:                  Cool. Well, thanks so much.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah, thanks for joining us. You can find us at churchcommunications.com you can find the Facebook group, page, you can also find our podcast anywhere you find podcasts. You can watch this via Facebook Live as well, so if you’ve been just listening via audio, there’s also a video, so you can check it out on our Facebook page. Thank you for joining us today.

Katie Allred:                 Our friends at Kindrid are being crazy generous, if you tweet @_kindrid, again that is at underscore K-I-N-D-R-I-D, _kindrid, and tell them why you need a church app, they’ll make sure you get one of those too, for free. Okay? Did you hear that? Online giving and a church app for free. Just tweet @_kindrid and tell them why you need a church app. Go and do it now, what are you waiting for?

Josh Taylor:                  Hey, thanks for listening to the Church Communications Podcast with Katie Allred and myself, Josh Taylor. If you like our show and want to know more about us, check out our website, churchcommunications.com you can also join us on our Facebook Group, just search for Church Communications on Facebook and we would love for you to leave a five star review on iTunes.