A Practical Guide to Year-End Giving for Any Size Church

by | December 10, 2019

Year-End Giving

The last five to 10 days of the calendar year are critical to maximizing the generosity of your church. It may feel like this is the time of year to pull back, slow down on communication, and talk about anything but stewardship. If that’s your gut instinct, then this would be one of those times not to trust your gut.

 

If you remain silent, you’ll guarantee charitable dollars will go to causes other than your church. Just about everyone in your congregation is thinking about where they’ll make their final charitable contributions for the year. They will see an uptick in communication from education, healthcare, and general nonprofits. Depending on their giving habits, they may even entertain a phone call or a donor rep visit to their home. The competition for share of wallet and share of mind is fierce.

 

A Few Unique Characteristics About Year-End Giving

 

  • Year-End giving is the most transaction giving time of the year. Most people don’t itemize their taxes. However, many people are motivated to give to maximize their tax deduction. This is where behavior and logic don’t always line up. Donors tend to perceive any reminders about year-end giving as assistance, not clutter. Whether they can claim a charitable deduction or not doesn’t seem to stem the motivation to act.

 

  • Year-End giving communication should be the primary focus of your social, web, and email for the final days of the year. Starting December 26, it should be the first thing they see on your website, regular reminders via email that come almost daily, and reminders via social media should all be in full swing. It’s a great opportunity to draw attention to your church as an important philanthropic option to consider as they think about their final charitable gifts of the year.

 

  • Year-End giving is a big deal for your financial leaders. It’s not uncommon to see stock transfers, large cash transfers, or even large checks come through in the final week of the calendar year. Be sure to designate someone with the authority to be available to answer the phone or be onsite at the church to facilitate these transactions.

 

A Simple, Straightforward Year-End Giving Plan

 

Here is what a coordinated plan might look like for your church from December 26-December 31. You can vary this up as you are comfortable. Below is a road map for you to follow and suggestions or prompts. Feel free to make it your own. Please note: The repetition is intentional.

 

Year-End Communication Road Map

 

December 26
  • Update your website to remind people about year-end giving and the impact it could make through your church.
  • This should be a banner image that is at the top of the website when it loads on mobile or desktop.
  • Link that image to your giving page to help reduce the friction of the transaction.
  • Share a story of life change or point to a moment of ministry impact sometime during 2019 on social media. Be sure to link to your church’s giving page. You can write it a couple of different ways and post twice throughout the day.
December 27
  • Send out an email message about year-end giving to your church. This email should point out all the ways that someone can give. Don’t forget to include links to make it easy for someone to complete their gift. Also, include a contact name, phone number, and email for special giving requests or needs.
  • Share a story of life change or point to a moment of ministry impact sometime during 2019 on social media. Be sure to link to your church’s giving page. You can write it a couple of different ways and post twice throughout the day.
December 28
  • Prepare a bulletin insert or additional communication slides to put in the announcement rotation during your weekend experience.
  • Prepare an offering talk for Sunday that includes an important story of life change that demonstrates how generosity accelerates discipleship and impact through your church.
  • Share a story of life change or point to a moment of ministry impact sometime during 2019 on social media. Be sure to link to your church’s giving page. You can write it a couple of different ways and post twice throughout the day.
December 29
  • Talk about year-end giving from the pulpit. Remind people how they can give, and that giving matters.
  • Send an email out in the evening that highlights a story of life change and impact from 2019. Keep it short, and invite people to make their final, tax-deductible gift by December 31.
  • Share a story of life change or point to a moment of ministry impact sometime during 2019 on social media. Be sure to link to your church’s giving page. You can write it a couple of different ways and post twice throughout the day.
December 30
  • Send an email out that simply explains how to make a year-end gift to your church. Include online, drop a check by the church office, or who to contact for non-cash or special giving opportunities.
  • Share a story of life change or point to a moment of ministry impact sometime during 2019 on social media. Be sure to link to your church’s giving page. You can write it a couple of different ways and post twice throughout the day.
December 31
  • Send two emails making a final appeal for a year-end gift. One in the morning, and a follow-up one in the evening. Again, this is a simple reminder that time is running out and to maximize their charitable deduction and advance the ministry of the church by making their gift before midnight.
  • Share a story of life change or point to a moment of ministry impact sometime during 2019 on social media. Be sure to link to your church’s giving page. You can write it a couple of different ways and post twice throughout the day.

 

Don’t Forget to Say Thank You

 

Of course, don’t forget to say thank you early and often to everyone who demonstrates generosity during year-end giving. And some of those thank you’s may fall into the first week of the new year.

 

Make sure you review your online giving confirmation email, acknowledge gifts appropriately and align with your general appreciation strategy, and provide a personal thank you to any substantial acts of generosity. Giving is first a spiritual experience and second a financial one. So a gift is a response to spiritual growth. Don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate that.

 

Year-End giving can be a game-changing financial experience for your church. Most churches never prioritize this giving season. As a result, many of the dollars that could have been used to maximize impact simply were directed elsewhere. Your members want to see their church succeed. When you show them why and how to give to your church at year-end, you’ll see them respond.

 

 

 

Do you want access to more practical tools to help you cultivate a culture of generosity in your church? Visit our Giving365 resource center. Giving365 - Blog - Horizons - church stewardship resource Click here to request a free 20 minute consultation by a Horizons Ministry Strategist about how your church can increase ministry funding and improve discipleship through a process we call Next Level Generosity.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    This is great content. Thanks for sharing. I wish it would’ve been emailed earlier. Hopefully we still have some margin to implement most of it. And I’ll definitely save this and make sure our Communications Team has it on their calendar to allot time next year.

    Reply

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