The Christmas season has once again come and gone. You might already be seeing New Year’s resolutions in the rearview mirror. And your people may be settling right back into life as usual. It’s always interesting to see just how quickly that happens, isn’t it?
Your people may also be getting back to their normal routines in giving. But now is the optimal time to reinforce the message of generosity you shared during your special Christmas offering (or your Thanksgiving offering) late last year. Now is the time for celebration!
Here are three ideas you can use in the upcoming weeks to create a celebration of your church’s holiday generosity:
1. Videos, Photos, and Social Media
A picture is worth a thousand words and video is an impactful way to evoke heart-level emotion. With social media channels today, your message can quickly travel far beyond your inner core of people. Any opportunity you have to show your people the result of their generosity is a moment worth taking. (Showing these as introduction to your weekend offering is also tremendously effective!)
Check out this example of how The Gathering used video and social media to celebrate the impact of their previous year’s generosity to encourage this year’s Christmas Eve offering. If this isn’t motivating, I don’t know what is! (Nicely done!)
Then they sent out this message and video to build excitement for the upcoming results announcement of this year’s Christmas Eve offering!
I can’t wait to see the video I’m sure they’ll produce to recap that offering and its results. But here’s the most recent post on their Facebook page announcing the results!
2. Your Annual Meeting
Many church leaders hold an annual meeting for their people at the beginning of the year. This provides them dedicated time to celebrate the previous year, as well as cast vision for the months and years ahead. What a great time of celebration and thanksgiving, and what a great way to start the new year!
If you’re planning this at your church, you’ll also want to consider rolling out an annual report in conjunction with that meeting to visually bring to life all God has accomplished through your ministry, and also to encourage continued generosity.
3. Giving Statements
Here’s something every church is required to do each January, but it doesn’t have to be an exercise in efficiency. By including an appropriate letter formatted in the most effective way, your annual giving statements can surprise and delight your givers! In fact, Generis just released a tremendous resource on this topic, complete with cover letter samples and best practices. You can download your free guide today and encourage generosity through this mailing.
The impact made by recognizing generosity and showing a thankful heart in celebration is both far-reaching and long-lasting. In fact, the premise of my most recent e-book is this: what you say (or don’t say) impacts what people give (or don’t give). It’s true.
As you may recall, normalizing the conversation is something you can do to help deepen your church’s culture of generosity. Your people should not be surprised when they hear you talk about money at church. And what a better way to broach the topic than to share good news, thank your people, and celebrate?
Plus, sharing information like this encourages future generosity without an ask. You’re telling your people, “when you give, great things happen!” by connecting the dots between the giver’s gift and the difference it makes. This builds trust and credibility with the church leadership, and affirms the giver’s decision to be generous.
This kind of a celebration can encourage first-time gifts, too. When people see what’s happening around them in each of these suggested ways to celebrate, and you offer them multiple ways to give (including online/mobile options), they are likely to consider giving for the very first time. And that’s something worth celebrating too!