End-of-year giving is big!
It’s on our minds here at Tithe.ly and as a church leader it should be on yours too.
Why you ask? Well, for one BIG reason. Nearly 35% of all giving happens during the last three months of the year with 17% happening in December and over 30% happening on the very last day of the year — December 31st.
Americans donated $358.38 billion to Charity in 2014.
So, if you do the math, $125 billion was raised from October through December. $60.9 billion was raised in December alone. And $10.7 billion was raised on the very last day of the year.
Of course, I’d only be throwing these stats at your if they had relevance to your church. Luckily, they do.
Giving to faith-based organizations follow the same pattern as overall charitable giving in the US. Over 30% of all faith-based giving happens during the last three months of the year with 17% happening in December.
If you’re not focused on December giving then you’re missing a huge opportunity. People are in the mood to give and the statistics show they are giving in mass so you better be sure you’re making the most of the giving season.
Here are a few useful tips to help you raise more this holiday season.
1) Think about Thanksgiving and #GivingTuesday.
We all know you’re members give sacrificially and do a lot make the church what it is. By illuminating what you did this year you’ll be laying the groundwork for what you’d like to accomplish next year.
During November and especially right around Thanksgiving be sure to talk about what you’ve accomplished as a church. Help members “see” what God has done through them. Show them the impact they’ve had and thank them for their spiritual, physical and financial generosity.
Use time during service, in-home visits, lunches, dinners, coffee, email, the bulletin, twitter, the telephone, carrier pigeon, or whatever else it takes to get the message across. Just be sure members know how God is working and how grateful you are for their service.
2) Communicate the vision.
I know messages have to be about the gift God gave us in Jesus, but keep in mind that the theme of Christmas is a great segway into giving. God sent Jesus to save the world. It doesn’t get more sacrificial than that.
Christmas and sacrifice should go hand-in-hand for Christians. Use the giving season to talk about your vision and how you plan on making steps towards accomplishing that vision as a church next year.
A compelling vision that’s centered on Jesus coupled with a great plan will motivate people to give.
3) Create a special holiday campaign.
Sometimes it’s helpful to build an end-of-year giving campaign that focuses your church around a common goal or theme. You could be raising money for a new program, to hire a youth minister, to support a building fund, to add more technology, to rebuild your website, to send kids to camp, and so much more.
Think about your church and the things that your members get excited about. Think about your community and the needs it has.
Now go create a year-end giving campaign that marries the two together!
4) Make sure people know how they can give.
Nearly 40% of faith-based giving that happens in the last three months of the year (October – December) comes from online sources. Yep, ONLINE! Said another way, your website and other digital forms of giving matter.
Have you added a giving button to your web site? Are you letting people know about your mobile giving app that lets members give any time, any where? Are you putting your text-to-give number up on screen during service?
Go ahead and talk about it, show some slides, or videos. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how often this step is overlooked. Be sure you’re letting church members know about the easy ways to give.
5) Make sure to mention tax deductibility.
I know, it’s not the most interesting, compelling or spiritual thing to talk about, but it is motivator for some. Remind members that their donations are tax deductible. Remind business owners in your congregation that they can contribute from their business and reap the tax benefit while supporting your church.
You could even link to the IRS info on your website to make it obvious to all.
Talking about text deductibility doesn’t have to take the spotlight, but be sure to mention it as it’s important for your members to be fully informed.
6) Don’t forget the last three days of the year.
Like we mentioned in the intro, a huge amount of giving happens in December (17%) and over 3% of giving happens on the very last day of the year.
This highlights something we’re all guilty of (and what I suspect is the #1 reason why most giving happens during the holidays) – procrastination.
Yep, people procrastinate even with their giving. Of course, it’s not because they’re bad people or don’t want to give. It’s because the holidays are crazy!
On top of procrastination, many of your members are likely missing service because they’re traveling, hosting family, going on vacation, or any number of other potentially good reasons.
Because we procrastinate and because the end-of-the year can be a hectic time for so many, It’s important that you remind people all the way to the end. Simply doing it once in October or November or even once in December isn’t going to get the job done. Remind them frequently that their church and the vision you’ve built together is worth supporting. Remind them to give. Remind them of all the ways they can give. And remind them that their giving has a meaningful eternal impact.
One great way to remind folks is to use email. Sunday falls on December 27th this year so you might consider doing an mini series of emails that goes out to member on December 29th, 30th, and 31st. In each of those emails you can simply point people to your church’s online giving page.
I’m sure you can think of other things to do in December to take advantage of the season. The main thing is to realize people are in the giving mood and want to give.