For a nonprofit organization like churches and charities, this quarter of the calendar year is called the “giving season” or “year-end giving season” for a reason. A GuideStar Survey discovered that 50.5 percent of the organizations surveyed received most of their contributions between October and December.
If this is true, how can your church learn to maximize the opportunities available for year-end giving? Luckily, church management software can help streamline communications and online giving to keep things manageable on one platform. With most of the work being automated, you can dedicate more time to nourish relationships within your congregation. Here are five surefire suggestions for a successful year-end fundraising campaign.
1. Teach on giving at the end of the year
Followers of Christ are generous givers. This is important for people to understand and it needs to be addressed often. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get uncomfortable with the topic and to leave it unaddressed—or to talk about it when attendance is at its lowest.
The Christmas season might be the ideal time of year to discuss giving. That’s when:
- Most people are actually in church
- They’re already thinking about charitable giving
- We’re already talking about how much God gave for our salvation
- People tend to be at their most charitable
Be brave and tackle the annual giving topic when it’s already on everyone’s mind!
2. Talk about this year’s accomplishments
The fact that people are more willing to give when they can connect their charitable giving to a positive outcome cannot be overlooked. Part of your job is helping them connect the dots.
Throughout the year, make a note of all the things your church accomplishes. Keep track of:
- Every decision for Christ
- Every baptism
- Every new ministry
- Every new staff hire
- Every mission trip
- All of your service projects
- All of your outreach
- All the money that has gone out of your church as benevolence
- All of your growth over the calendar year
Give an end-of-the-year message that helps people understand the connection between their giving and the wonderful things the church is able to do.
3. Set ambitious goals for next year
Your church will respond to goals, so give them some. In fact, have you ever stopped to consider that your hesitancy to set outrageous goals might be hurting you more than helping you?
People want to see exciting things happening. They want to be part of something big. So challenge them (and yourself), and set some lofty goals. Set an explicit goal for next year’s budget, and tie it to the things you want to accomplish.
When next year starts, make plans to meet those goals and do a regular follow up with your congregation. I think you’ll be surprised by the results.
4. Send an end-of-year giving letter
Sending out a letter encouraging church members to give their eleventh-hour gifts has helped many churches, ministries, and charities find the extra funds needed to cover budgetary shortfalls or fund exciting new projects.
End-of-year giving letters should include the following:
- Warm familial greeting
- Introduction that reinforces your mission
- Share the highlights
- Here’s where we are going/request
- Draw attention to any budget issues or church concerns
- Let them know how to make a charitable donation
Here’s a quick, painless template for that end-of-year giving letter:
[Your church logo here]
[Warm, familial greeting]
Dear [church name] family and friends,
[Introduction reinforcing your mission]
What a powerful year it has been! We are a church that celebrates life change and while numbers aren’t everything, they are incredibly encouraging.
[Share the highlights]
Here are a few of the highlights:
- 103 new baptisms
- 53 new children through our Sunday morning programs
- 252 Thanksgiving meals provided
- 38 lives committed to Christ
- $12,282 raised for the Two Feet Project in Africa
[Here’s where we are going/request]
Even though we have accomplished much together in this past year, there’s still much to be done as we continue pressing on in our call ‘to create life change by introducing people to the Gospel.’ [your church’s vision statement here in place of ours]
To that end I want to invite you to help us finish the year strong and prepare ourselves for an exciting [insert year] by prayerfully considering a year-end financial gift to [church name]. Our family is making this a priority, and I’m asking you and your family to do the same.
[Draw attention to any budget issues or church concerns]
“While we have had a good year of giving, especially to special projects and missions [this can be replaced with areas the church has been particularly generous], we presently have a year-to-date operating expense shortfall of [insert budget deficit].”
[Let them know how to make the donation]
“You can make a donation by giving in our Sunday offerings, mailing a check to the church office, or through your Pushpay app. (Please note: in order for these charitable gifts to be tax deductible they must be postmarked and/or given before December 31, [year].)”
[Wrap it up with a call to arms]
“I want you to remember that your gift funds a ministry that changes lives. Thank you for being a part of the [church name] family and helping us accomplish the vision God has given us.
Together in His service,
5. Prioritize mobile giving
You might have a mobile-giving solution—many churches do. But are your people using it? If they’re not, it’s time to address it. When people are comfortable giving via mobile, they can respond at any time they feel convicted to give.
If you’re struggling to get people to adopt mobile giving, the problem might be with the tool you’re using and not the concept. Of the churches that use Pushpay, an average of 76 percent of the congregants have used the app to give. That’s because we have made it a priority to ensure that churches can get everyone on board.
Communication Is Most of the Battle
If you’re struggling with your church giving, chances are that you need to communicate more strategically. As I said earlier, people want to be challenged. We need to be willing to encourage and challenge.
Set yourself up for a win this year by downloading the FREE Year-End Giving Kit. You’ll get:
- An end-of-year giving letter template
- Quotes about giving, tithing, and generosity that you can use in your sermons, bulletins, and pre-service presentations
- Sermon illustrations about giving
- And more!
Discover how your church can use simple, recurring giving strategies to maximize end-of-year and new year giving.