Your church is likely getting a third or more of its donation plate in November and December. Are you prepared?
Context is everything – Are you communicating it to staff and members?
There is a lot of attention on how to survive the seasonal summer slump in giving. But are you paying enough attention to how to maximize your most critical two months of giving? Whether you are the pastor, the executive pastor or head of the stewardship committee, this is the time to gather your groups together and share your sense of urgency and passion, first within staff and committees, and later with members. Increase your number of scheduled meetings to make sure everyone is on point and executing goals. Also, don’t forget to leverage your personal technology. A text message, email reminder, or even a well-placed tweet can keep your fundraising agenda top of mind for your team.
Write Down Your Vision for Seasonal Giving
Your church is competing with lots of other great organizations for giving dollars. Putting your vision in writing and communicating it to members helps them understand they are part of something larger than just the dollars they give. It can be a real game changer to invite members into your passion. Writing down goals also forces you to anticipate questions others will ask like “How does this compare to last year’s giving season?” and “Should we tell people to give to a specific fund?”
Set Giving Goals and Track Them
Help your staff and committees understand the pattern of giving over the last several years and what the goals are for this year. Assign the responsibility of tracking incoming donations throughout the season and communicating results to the group. Set the key metrics you are measuring, such as transaction volume, participation levels and giving method. With this approach, you will likely always have something positive to communicate.
Assess Your Giving Methods
Get in synch with member needs and update giving methods where appropriate. This time of year is about anticipating member needs and preferences and getting solutions in place. Provide members the means to give in the pew and in the lobby when they are inspired by a message. Remember most people don’t carry checkbooks and a lot of cash. When they feel the calling to give, provide them the means to act.
Scrub Your Website
Go through your website and make sure to delete any past events or items that are a distraction to your upcoming seasonal giving plan. If you haven’t already done so, put links to your giving page throughout the site. Make sure your website is updated with the most recent technology, whether it is virus protection or software updates.
Craft Your Communication Plan
What methods will you be using to communicate your vision to members? How will your vision be articulated from the pulpit to the bulletin, pledge drives, direct mail, small groups, emails and so on? This can be a challenge for a lot of organizations, but it’s an important one. Once you create the framework for your first communication plan, you can use it and fine-tune it again and again as you learn what works best to reach your congregation.
Enjoy the Season
This is a significant giving season for churches. All these of these tips – putting the importance of the season in context across our organization, preparing customer support for increased volume, meeting more often – are important, but don’t let it overwhelm you. There are some great Voices on Stewardship resources available on this site and my fellow contributors have provided tips and encouragement to help you embrace this season.
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