The end of the year brings about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. It also brings about end of year taxes for many people who are looking for charitable donations to improve their taxable income situation. December is the largest giving month for most churches. People wait until the end of the year to either give to the church the entire amount they planned to give or a large portion of it. People’s incomes vary greatly and so does the timing of how they receive it. End of year giving is crucial to all non profits and the church is not an exception.
However, non profits other than the church are much better at communicating to their potential donors the vision of their organization and how the donor can help the vision become a reality. They do this better during the entire calendar year, but especially at the end of the year. People ask me all the time “Why do other non profits receive such large gifts to their organization?” The answer is simple; they ask for it. They ask for it and they make it easy for the donor to give to their organization.
What is your church’s end of year giving strategy? When is the last time your church leaders communicated the vision of the church to the people? Do your people know the vision of the church and how the dollars they give can help that vision be accomplished? Does your congregation know where the financial situation of the church stands going into November and December? Have you sent our third quarter statements? How easy is it for your people to give to the church to help fulfill the vision?
Here are a couple of suggestions on how to communicate an end of year giving strategy for your church.
- Send at least one letter in late October/early November to everyone in the church with a financial update as to where the church stands entering into November and December. The letter should include many of the goals accomplished in the first ten months of the year. The letter should include life change stories and statistics. Show the people that the money they are giving is changing lives and the church wants to continue to change lives through the end of the fiscal year and into the next. Their generosity will allow this to happen.
- Have a lay leader communicate the same information of the letter to the congregation during worship. Choose a Sunday in early to mid November to have the finance chair, deacon, elder, etc. give the church an oral update on the financial situation of the church and how their generosity can propel the church toward fulfilling the God inspired vision for their church.
- Send a letter right after Thanksgiving with an 11 month personal giving statement for each family in the church. If your church does annual estimate of giving cards be sure to include the person’s pledge and how much they have given through the first 11 months of the year. If you have an over and above giving phase going on be sure to include that financial information as well. Thank them for their giving thus far and encourage them to finish the race as strongly as possible. Be sure to communicate the special December offerings and outreach opportunities of the church which are funded by the generosity of the people of the church.
These are basic steps for any church to undertake for their end of year giving strategy. There are many more intentional strategies and steps to choose from. However, these are a good place to start. If you would like to have more dialogue about other end of year generosity strategies please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk.