Most churches rely on their year-end giving to help compensate for any budget shortcomings throughout the year. In fact, over 15% of giving comes during the month of December, while nearly 4% of all giving takes place on New Year’s Eve. Individuals show increased financial generosity and gratitude in the final weeks of the year, and a quality end-of-year giving plan can maximize these giving efforts.
As online giving continues to become more popular throughout the church community, a question many churches are finding themselves asking is what more can they do to stand out and make their givers aware of how important their year-end giving is to them.
Like any relationship between two parties, communication is the key to understanding what is needed between one another. While churches see their congregation on at least a weekly basis, the holidays can present an issue with regular attendance. Members frequently travel to visit family during this time of year, or go on winter vacations while the kids are out of school.
However, there are a number of ways to offer giving options for members who will not be in regular attendance, and it is important to communicate to them how they can give while being away.
Roughly 40% of church giving in the final three months of the year is made via online or mobile giving. Do you currently offer an online giving option with your church? Many online giving platforms out there such as easyTithe, Elexio or MinistryLINQ provide online giving options for as low as $0 per month.
Most of these online giving solutions provide options for mobile giving and text-to-give features, allowing your members to donate while out of town. If you already have an online giving provider, have you made sure givers are aware of the giving button on your website? Are you providing other forms of giving such as mobile and text giving to allow easy donating methods while they’re out of town? Mobile and text giving features are becoming more common as technology continues to grow, and many of these online giving providers provide both as giving options.
Suggestions on how and where to communicate include a video during your sermon, adding a note in your pamphlet, social media posts and via email or written letter. It never hurts to reach out to your regular givers and make them aware of ways to give while out of town.
Another reason to communicate your giving information before, during and after the holidays is because of first-time visitors. Guests who may not have a church home in the area may seek yours out during the holidays and may want to show their generosity during Christmas Services. On average, 25% of online givers are first-time givers, and what easier way to suggest giving to someone new than via mobile, text or online giving?
Communication is also key in keeping your members aware in what their giving is going towards. Try setting up an end-of-year giving campaign and lay out what your goals are to finish the year, as well as what you are working towards in the future. Identify the projects you are working towards, whether it be outreach, staffing, missions or adding additional space to your growing church.
Interact with your members by explaining your goals and showing giving statistics. Provide updates as to where you are in your campaign, and how close you are to reaching your mark. Connect your givers to what their giving is going towards and how close you are to the end goal. Providing updates on a weekly basis with giving updates and reports will excite your givers and help with a final push.
The key to finishing 2015 strong from a financial standpoint is to have a plan in place, communicating that plan with your givers and letting them know what their generosity means to you. Be clear about what you are trying to do, and make them aware that they are the biggest part of your plan. Communicating and scheduling a year-end giving plan will not only help finish the year strong, but propel you into 2016 with the momentum you need to financially succeed.