The time for year-end giving comes faster and faster every year. It seems like back to school shopping ends, and then all of a sudden, store aisles are filled with Halloween costumes. But in reality, if you wait until Halloween rolls around to start thinking about year-end giving, you’ll have waited too long.
Preparing is not something you want to put off. Why? Because 31% of charitable giving happens in the month of December, and 12% of all giving happens in the last 3 days! That is no coincidence. You need to get a plan together to a) prepare for that volume of giving and b) be able to respond to every gift appropriately.
Now, let’s dive into our 5 tips to get your end-of-year plan on track.
TIP #1: Establish a Year-End Giving Plan
Ok so this is a fairly obvious first tip, but the truth is you have to have an established plan in place to be able to prepare accordingly. Churches with a year-end giving plan are twice as likely to reach their goals, so come up with a goal and begin to formulate a plan to meet it. Whatever goal you come up with should be shared widely – share it with your staff, share it with your congregation, remind people of it in every communication. Share it with people and kids and members of all ages! Use emails, social media posts, videos, and/or stage announcements to share your goal and encourage people to give towards it with the many ways you provide.
*Here’s an example of one of our clients, Grace Chapel, who used a compelling video to help raise awareness for their Holiday Mission, which was The Haiti Shoebox Project.
What are some ideas for designated year-end giving?
If you have a proprietary budget gap you need to close before the end of the year, make this gap your goal. If you have met your current budget goals, think outside the box! You could participate in special fundraisers in your community, like providing Christmas trees to families in need or partner with a local nonprofit, like Operation Christmas Child. You could even create a specific Mission Project for the holidays like a Live Nativity.
TIP #2: Create Opportunities to Give
Now that you have a plan in place and a goal set, make sure you are sharing many opportunities for your congregation to give. You can prepare an email specific to your current givers and customize it by letting them know how much you appreciate their support thus far, and explain the impact they could make by contributing to your year-end goal. You can create a separate email for those who have yet to give or have given a few times and send them some information on your year-end goal and what progress you are making. Remember to provide several giving options for people to choose from – make it easy for them to participate.
*This is an example of the giving page from Grace Chapel, supporting The Haiti Shoebox Project. As you can see, they listed specific gift amounts in an ask-ladder format that allows the giver to easily choose between buying one shoebox, all the way up to 5. They also provide a brief description of this project to let each person know the meaning of their gift.
TIP #3: Use Unique Ways to Celebrate the Giver
Now with your plan in place and by creating opportunities to give, you have started receiving gifts for your end-of-year cause. That’s great! You want to make sure you are thanking your givers appropriately. This means thinking about your entire congregation. If a child brings in a donation to Sunday School, don’t thank them by sending an email to their parents. Instead, send them home with a candy cane with a thank you note tied around it. What about the people who gave online, or via mobile? Connect with them where they are by sending an email to let them know how you are tracking to your goal, thanks to their gift and what impact was made because they chose to give.
*While you may think sending another message is pestering your givers, you’ll see in the above chart that 60% of donors actually prefer a follow-up that illustrates the impact of their donations.
*A great way to demonstrate the impact your givers are making is to establish a real-time feed of how close you are to reaching your goal (and it helps you keep track of the progress made too!). With Vision2, you can create a Project Based Goal, as seen above, to help you track your progress and easily share with those involved. Contact us to get started with building your own Project Based Goal.
TIP #4: Re-engage One-Time Givers
This isn’t necessarily something you should only think about at the end of the year, but hey, it doesn’t hurt to have a reminder! Make sure you identify new givers by their last gift date – if you see they have only given once, create a special email just for them explaining how they can get involved to support your year-end goal. Again, make sure you tell them a story. Explain the impact they made with their first and last gift and use your messaging to express your need. Then, maybe put a reminder on your calendar to do this at the end of every month with all new or first-time givers starting in 2019.
TIP #5: Data Hygiene
After all this work to prepare to meet your end of year goal, and coming up with a plan, and communicating it to your staff and congregation, and making it a church wide initiative – none of it matters if you can’t get the right message in front of the right people – AKA – if your data is bad. So do everything you can to prevent bad data! Do random spot checks with each letter of the alphabet to check for missing donor data, or duplicate records. If you don’t have the staff capacity to have a dedicated data resource, set a reminder to do this once a month. IT IS WORTH YOUR TIME!
And there you have it! 5 quick tips to help you get ready for the end of the year. If you would like to learn more about the features within Vision2 to help your church develop an end-of-year plan, you can contact us here.
**Webinar led by Nikelle Druck, Director of Customer Success at Vision2; this content was modified into blog post by Charlotte Woodward, Marketing Manager at Vision2.