It’s incredible how much charitable giving happens at the end of the year. In a 2014 Network for Good study, they discovered that 21 percent of all charitable giving occurred in December—and 12 percent of all giving occurred in the last three days of the year.
People are compassionately attuned to needs during the end of the year, and they’re excited about making a difference. It’s helpful to have a plan to manage and maximize this end-of-year generosity to enable your church to do more good for more people in the coming year.
Here’s a suggested timeline for preparing for your end-of-year giving campaign. If you’re getting started a little late, that’s fine. There’s enough here to give you a leg up, and you can bookmark this post to help you get started earlier next year.
Start mapping out your campaign messaging. Your church members (and others in the community) will have a lot of opportunities to give at the end of the year, so you’ll need to come up with a compelling reason why they should consider your church for their charitable giving.
Think about your audiences
Don’t settle for a one-size-fits-all message. It’s helpful to think about people’s giving habits. For instance, a UK company called Maximillion found that 64 percent of all charitable giving came from women. This is the kind of information that should inform your messaging and design elements. Plus, tithers only make up about 10%-25% of any typical church population.
A donor-engagement study by Abila found that Baby Boomers tend to give more toward places of worship, while Generation Xers and Millennials are more likely to give to causes that helped children or focused on youth development. If you know that a specific generational group is more comfortable giving to their own church, you should communicate to them differently than you would to younger groups that tend to be more cause-oriented in their giving.
Start creating all of your content and mapping out a publishing calendar. Your content should include elements like:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Presentation slides
- Push notifications
As often as possible, come up with multiple versions of each piece. That way you can swap out messaging that doesn’t seem to resonate with people. You don’t want to just throw content online and hope for the best. You want to monitor how each piece is being received.
Make sure your website and social platforms have obvious links to your mobile app so that people can easily download your app and make a donation.
It’s time to start sharing your content. Make sure that everything clearly communicates who you are and how donor generosity will be used to make a difference. Pay attention to how people respond and adjust your messaging as needed.
Spend some time talking to your church about the things you accomplished this year. As much as possible, have people share how their lives have been touched. Make sure you address the following areas:
- Commitments to Christ
- New ministries
- New staff members
- Service projects, mission trips, and outreaches
- Partnerships with community charities and ministries
Set some ambitious goals for next year. Communicate the church’s desire to have a more significant impact in the community and the lives of the members than ever before. Share how you plan to accomplish that, and how their giving will help facilitate that vision.
Send out an end-of-year giving request. Include a discussion about last year’s highlights, any budgetary needs, and next year’s goals. Make sure you include a link to your mobile app so people can give immediately.
Don’t be afraid to ask
Your church is up and running only because of your members’ and community’s generosity. But at the end of the year, your attendees get overwhelmed with giving requests. These petitions come from nonprofits who put a lot of time and energy into their marketing—but they don’t have the relationship you have with your congregation. Don’t miss out on year-end giving because another organization asked first or came up with a more compelling request.
Learn more about setting up a successful end-of-year giving campaign before this season of generosity wraps up. Talk to an expert today.