Maximize Year-End Giving with Helpful Tips

For churches and charities, the last quarter of the calendar year is called the “end of year giving season” for a reason — many organizations receive a large portion of their contributions between October and December. To help maximize the opportunities available during this time, we’ve put together a list of surefire suggestions to up-level your year-end giving campaigns.

Tell compelling stories on what God is doing through your congregation’s giving

To encourage end-of-year giving, you need to share how donations are helping the community through compelling stories. 

Your ministry leaders, small group leaders, and volunteers are all great sources for stories. They’re on the ground, witnessing the direct impact of your ministry—and likely experiencing it themselves. Throughout the year, these people can be your church’s eyes and ears to help identify the people with the most powerful stories of how God has changed their lives through your ministry.

You might also consider using a designated “story team” to proactively seek out the kinds of stories that affirm your church’s mission and vision.

A lot of ministry activities don’t easily translate into any kind of monetary return on investment (ROI) for your church. Church members can’t say, “If I give my church X dollars, they’ll turn it into XX dollars.” Testimonies from people whose lives have been changed by your ministries reinforce that the “ROI” from your ministry is measured in people, not profits.

Offer numerical examples of what giving has accomplished

Any story gets more compelling if you can add numbers that matter. Consider the impact of a powerful testimony that culminates in baptism. Now what if you could tell your congregation that 10, 20, 50, or 100 new people were baptized this year, or last month? 

What if you told the story of how your church helped someone get back on their feet by providing meals downtown, and then you could share how many hundreds of meals you provide to the needy each year?

Whatever your ministries do, it’s worth taking the time to calculate (or at least estimate) the number of people you’ve impacted and the collective gifts, services, and tasks your church has accomplished together. Each data point can supplement your individual stories, and collectively, they tell a larger story of the impact your church has had.

Translate gifts into something tangible

Even with personal testimonies, it’s hard for people to realize the direct impact of their gifts—and it’s easy to feel like small gifts simply don’t matter. But all those small gifts add up, and they’re crucial to your ministry. And that’s why it’s so important for your church to translate dollars into outcomes during the year end giving season. Examples of this include program descriptions like:

  • Every $3 provides a meal for a homeless person.
  • $25 fills a backpack with school supplies for a second-grader.
  • $10 puts a Bible in the hands of a new believer.

This is also why you should create separate funds within your giving app—so people can give directly to the causes, ministries, and goals they feel called to support. By translating dollars into concrete needs, you show people exactly what they’re helping you do, and how their gifts fit into the larger story of your ministry.

Tell stories about needs, not just wins

If you want your story to lead people to give, you don’t just want it to look like a victory lap. If your congregation feels like the work is already done, they’ll be inspired, but not necessarily inspired to give. You want your congregation to see that your ministries are effective—but that you still need their help.

During year-end giving is a good time to talk about your ministry’s goals, long-term vision, and new initiatives. When you’re done telling your stories, you don’t just want people to applaud the accomplishment and move on. You need them to get involved—so your ministry can be part of more stories like the one you just told.

Highlight stories in a variety of ways

There are lots of ways to tell a compelling year-end giving story. And each way will reach different people and present different opportunities.

If your story involves someone who’s comfortable and effective speaking in front of others, that can be a valuable way to strengthen the personal impact of their story. For someone less comfortable with public speaking, you might want to record a video or have someone they know and trust interview them. Or maybe they can just write an email, blog post, or social media update.

For community projects, you should always plan to take before and after photos to help people visualize what actually changed as a result of your work.

The medium you use to tell your story depends on how important that story is to your church, how compelling the story is, and which format lends itself best to the story you want to tell.

encourage engagement with your congregation


Teach 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 year-end season might be the ideal time 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!

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.

Send an end-of-year giving letter

Sending out a year-end giving letter encouraging church members to donate 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.

What to put in your year-end giving letter

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

An effective year-end giving letter template

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 whole 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,
[Your name]


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 the  Pushpay mobile app, an average of 76 % 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 Year-End Giving Battle

The year-end giving season is your chance to communicate your church giving goals more strategically. People want to be challenged. 

Additionally, whatever stories emerge from your ministry, and however you decide to tell them, be sure your congregation sees the role they play in those stories. Without their generosity, those stories don’t happen—or at least not nearly as often. God works through the resources they give back to him, and the more generously they live, the more your church can accomplish in his name.


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