Refresh Your Year End Giving Strategy

 

Many churches and nonprofits rely on year-end giving increases to cover for budget shortfall.  All organizations that rely on donors to operate look forward to the increased generosity towards the end of the year.That means the competition for donor attention is more intense.  Donor’s mailboxes fill up with emotionally manipulative pleas and guilt is sometimes used from the pulpit. So how can churches and nonprofits make sure they stand out and are heard without falling into complacent traps?

Here are a couple of tips to reach your donors’ in a refreshing way for year-end giving.

Recurring Giving Drive

Both churches and nonprofits know that having their donors signed up for recurring giving helps stabilize income.  When you reach out to donors make it all about signing up for a monthly donation. Ministries you might ask them to pledge, churches encourage them to set up monthly tithing.  When you send out your year-end letter include an envelope that gives them three options and a write in amount with room for credit card information.  Even inviting a donor to give $5 a month can mean an increase in your annual income.  A donor who may give $50 annually will now be contributing $110 annually and drawn to the idea of a small increment about the cost of a coffee.  Focusing on increasing recurring giving means that donors are not required to remember to send in their gifts and you will see less attrition. This of course means you must have an online giving option.  If you don’t here are a list of faith-based donation and tithe online giving business that can have you set up within minutes and at a very nominal fee: MinistryLINQ, easyTithe, SimpleGive, and eGiving.

Focus on a Project

Narrow the scope for your donors or members.  Identify a project within your services and make your communication all about that.  Ministries, is it a certain aspect of your program like lunches for hungry kids within your feeding the needy goals.  Churches, do you want to focus on outreach? Missions? Staffing?  Make it a project and communicate as a reachable goal for your supporters to contribute to.  Giving statistics overwhelming support the fact that it is quality vs. quantity for donors.  Donors like giving to something they feel made a change, a specific person’s need, story or a project. Refrain from sending them a highlight of all the “amazing” things you have accomplished or the vast numbers of lives you have changed.  Connect them to something that feels tangible and personal and continually report the exciting progress in your communications and from the pulpit.

Be Strategic About Your Communication

Churches nonprofits and ministries would kill (though we don’t advise that) for what you have! You get to have your donors in front of you once a week!  Make it count by communicating your giving goals via any and all mean necessary.  Churches also have an advantage because of the strong relationships they have with members. Most members want to contribute to God’s mission in the world with their talents and their money. However some members do not make the jump from being a donor to redistributing their philanthropy funds to their church.  So churches help them see you as a partner and leader in their philanthropic inspirations, and make an unapologetic case for the difference that a year-end giving goal will make.

Some suggestions on how and where to communicate:

A basic printed piece. Include an oversized card, book mark or mini sized calendar in your appeal letter.  Something they can put on their refrigerator or serves a practical purpose can keep your project or mission in daily view.

A compelling video. Video is great for connecting people to your story.  Don’t get overwhelmed with production.  Just clearly state the need and how you want your donors to help. Play it during a worship service or put it on your website (or both).

An envelope. This is the simplest, but often overlooked best practice.  Have donations envelopes in your seating, in any mailing communication you send out, tucked in the fold of your church newsletter.  On your envelope provide the option to give online or a place to fill out credit card information and establish a monthly amount.

The church website. Whether it is your recurring giving drive, “focused in project” or anything else make sure it has front page priority.  The project should be highly visible on your website, with a give now link right beside it.

Social media. Facebook and Twitter can be effective ways to regularly report on your giving project. It also can make it fun and personal.  Use that communication platform to provide small and frequent update to drive energy and visibility to your year-end focus.

The pulpit. This is where the senior pastor and other staff members will be able to directly engage the congregation and show their solidarity. But allow members who are passionate or have a story to share as well.  This invites members to connect with the cause corporately.  Why did they choose to support the project? How have they been affected by giving to it?

Remember the pressure for donor’s increases at year end.  Many are balancing the holidays, preparing for tax season and being bombarded with a hoard of donation requests. Be thoughtful, authentic and clear about your goal and story that will automatically distinguish you from the pack. But planning out your communication and scheduling it strategically will send your organization across that December 31st finish line.