One Email Will Increase Your Year-End Giving

More than 18% of all giving occurs in December, making it the most charitable month of the year. Last year, 23% of online giving to church happened in December. Let’s leverage those statistics to your advantage and increase your year-end giving.

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To have a successful year-end giving appeal:

  • Prepare an email to your entire database using the formula below.
  • Schedule the email for Friday, December 28 or Saturday, December 29.
  • If you do a special Christmas Eve offering, send this email anyway. You won’t have 100% attendance on Christmas Eve, and some people who celebrate with you that day will give again.

Year End-Giving Appeal Email Formula

1. Personalized salutation. Do not use any generic greeting here; use people’s first name. “Dear faithful member” isn’t warm and connecting.

Dear Cindy,

2. Connect to your mission. Build on their relationship with the church and you as their pastor, and thank them for their investment and participation in ministry.

2018 has been an amazing year at First Church as we’ve worked together to fulfill our mission of “Making Disciples who Worship, Learn, and Serve.” Our people have made tremendous investments of time and money to make this a year of many successes. You’re a part of that, and I am thankful for you.

3. Highlight a few ministry wins from 2018. Think about mission trips, growth in attendance, group participation, and discipleship, significant milestones, and so on.

We have seen our worship attendance grow by 34% to over 1,800 each weekend. Thank you for inviting your friends, neighbors, and co-workers to worship with us.

We launched 16 new community groups in 2018, and have seen group participation grow to an all-time high, with 1,240 adults, students, and kids participating weekly in one of our groups or classes.

Remember the luncheon we had for Wilson Elementary School in July? We hosted over 60 staff, fed them an amazing lunch, and gifted each of them with $250 worth of supplies for their classrooms, and over 400 backpacks for their students that were handed out on the first day of school. I wish you could have seen the faces of those teachers when we pulled back the curtain on those surprises! 

4. Say thank you.

Thank you for making these wins possible. There are so many other highlights we could mention, none of which would have been possible without your faithful support.

5. Make the ask. Be sure to include a link to your online giving portal.

As 2018 comes to a close in just a few hours, would you be willing to make one final gift toward the mission of First Church? Your support makes everything we do possible, and your gift will allow us to start strong in 2019. Click this link to make your online gift right now.

6. Closing and signature. Thank folks again.

Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your investment of time. Thank you for your prayers. I am honored to be your pastor.

Blessings,
Pastor John

7. Include a P.S. It’s the most read part of the message!

P.S. If you prefer to give by check, the office will be open until noon on Monday, December 31. Any mailed gifts postmarked by December 31 are tax deductible in 2018.

Celebrate Year-End Giving Success

The first week of 2019, be sure to share the results of your giving appeal. It’s likely you’ll have many first-time givers respond to this year-end opportunity, and it’s possible you’ll receive an unexpected major gift (or more!). Your congregation will be encouraged and inspired by the collective generosity of your church, so be sure to celebrate together.

Additional Resources

As you think ahead to 2019, check out these free eBooks:

Four Reasons to Send a Giving Statement in Early December

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Many churches are uncertain about sending multiple giving statements throughout the year. Some are unsure about how often to send them. Others choose to not send them because of the cost involved or because they don’t want to burden their administrative staff. Most simply don’t see giving statements as effective—and that’s usually because they focus on the statement itself, rather than on the cover letter.

Here’s the truth: Giving statements are a critical communication channel—particularly at this time of year.

Four Giving Trends to Act On

As church participation continues to decline, even the most optimistic, faith-fueled pastors are taking notice. In the midst of discouraging attendance trends, it’s essential that church leaders keep a cool head—and a prayerful heart. God’s church is designed to win, after all, so we needn’t get overly worked up over data points. Still, facts are our friends, and they can help us know how to best direct our energy, attention, and innovation to continue reaching new people with the gospel message. That’s particularly true when it comes to giving trends.

Giving Trends

Five Ways to Counteract the Summer Giving Slump

For most churches, summer vacations bring a dreaded trend: Attendance wavers more than usual and giving declines. And with the exception of the most mature givers, people simply don’t make up that giving when they return. The result? We lose valuable ministry revenue. Fortunately, you can take five very simple steps to counteract the summer giving slump.

Summer Giving Slump

Giving Metrics Matter

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As church leaders, we like our numbers, don’t we? One of the first questions we ask one another is, “How many people attend your church?” We love learning how many people came to our Christmas and Easter gatherings. We get excited when a long-planned community event is well-attended. We know it’s not all about numbers, but we also know those numbers represent something meaningful: individual lives impacted by Jesus Christ.

While we’re happy to talk about attendance numbers, we’re not always as interested in talking about financial data—until there’s a specific reason to do so. We typically do a quick review of income and expenses at a board meeting, but beyond that we tend to talk about our church finances the most when our giving is down, when we may not meet our budget, or when we need to inspire significant generosity for a specific project.

How Tax Reform May Impact Giving to Your Church

As 2017 came to a close, one topic seemed to dominate the headlines: tax reform. As news of sweeping changes made its way from Capitol Hill to Facebook, assumptions were touted as truth, and opinions spawned heated arguments.

Tax Reform

Personally, I began receiving emails from concerned clergy: How will tax reform affect people’s giving to my church? While we don’t really know for sure, let’s explore some details that may inform how you approach the conversation with your congregation.

A Pep Talk for Church Communicators

I’ve partnered with churches for more than 15 years, and I’ve learned a lot about what it takes for a church to disciple people well and make a difference in their community. Without a doubt, church communicators play a significant role in their church’s effectiveness.

Pep Talk BookAs I’ve met with communications directors around the country, I’m consistently struck by how challenging their responsibilities are. Kelley Hartnett, a church communicator with whom I first became acquainted through my work with Morning Star Church near St. Louis, Mo., understands—first hand—how demanding the work can be. Her recently released book, You’ve Got This: A Pep Talk for Church Communicators, offers her tribe some much-needed encouragement and practical insight.

Establishing a Culture of Legacy Giving in Your Church

A study from Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy projects that charities are forecast to receive more than $6 trillion from final estates between 2007 and 2061. This is great news for your ministry. If, that is, your church is among those charities. But because legacy giving—a present decision to make a future gift—is rarely discussed in American churches, it’s likely not.

Legacy Giving

Few things are as frustrating as a ministry with a God-inspired vision that is prevented from fulfilling that vision due to lack of funding. Legacy giving is an important tool that better equips the local church to fully resource the mission and ministry that God has given you to impact your community. To help pastors begin or strengthen their legacy giving strategy, I’ve written a new eBook, Establishing a Culture of Legacy Giving in Your Church. 

How to Thank Givers

Not all thank yous are created equal. When it comes to thanking people for their charitable contributions, your approach matters.

How to Thank Givers

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the value of saying thank you. I talk frequently about the importance of sharing stories to show how giving creates change. I’ve even written an eBook about the connection between communication and generosity.

Today, I thought it would be interesting to bring the point home again by comparing and contrasting a couple of thank-you emails I recently received from charitable organizations. We can learn from others how to thank givers.

Normalizing Conversations About Money Through Small Groups

Many pastors feel uneasy about bringing up the topic of money. You might get brave enough to talk about it during November as part of an annual “giving campaign,” and you’ll preach four or five money-themed messages (in a row!) during a building project every few years. But frequent and regular mentions of money typically don’t happen.

Small Group Generosity

You see, pastors tend to reserve conversations about money for special occasions and big asks, thinking they’re less likely to offend or anger their church family if they talk about touchy subjects less often. In reality, the opposite is true. The more we normalize conversations about money, the more joyfully and sacrificially people will give.