The months leading up to a generosity initiative can feel exhausting. Given the number of decisions to be made, conversations to have, and plans to implement, it’s natural to reach Commitment Weekend and think, “Whew! We’re finally at the finish line!”
I hate to break it to you, but Commitment Weekend is more like the end of the third lap. To finish well, you’ll need to turn your attention to the last—and critical—phase of your initiation: the Giving Season or Fulfillment Phase. Implemented well, you’ll receive 92% or more of your commitments. Done poorly or neglected? Your people will meet as little as 50% of their pledges.
FOUR TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL FULFILLMENT PHASE
Maintaining momentum during a generosity initiative isn’t difficult, but it does require some intentionality.
1. Provide Regular Updates
Build regular updates into your strategic communication plan—at least monthly. If possible, use video to share these updates. Then, repurpose them across all your communication channels: website, worship gathering, Facebook, eNewsletter, and so on.
2. Connect the Dots
Purposefully connect your updates to people’s faithful giving toward your initiative. After showing an update video in worship, for example, the pastor should say something like, “Thank you for your continued faithful support of our All In initiative. It’s through your generosity that this project is quickly becoming a reality! If you’ve yet to join us in this effort, or if you’re new around here, it’s not too late to jump in. You can get involved by…”
3. Don’t Let Construction Speak For Itself
Although it’s a bit easier to maintain momentum during a building project—the excitement of construction is evident—stay intentional with your communication. Produce update videos anyway, especially if construction is happening somewhere other than your main campus.
Prior to construction, there are often months of planning, work with architects, getting permits from the city, and so on. People don’t “see” progress, though you and the building team are working tirelessly behind the scenes to finally begin moving dirt. Be even more intentional with your updates during this season, so people are abreast of the progress being made as you move toward that ground-breaking ceremony.
4. Make Your Updates Fun
By sharing genuine enthusiasm for how your initiative is coming along, you’ll build anticipation for subsequent updates. As people are drawn into the excitement of how their investment is coming to life, they’ll feel good about meeting (or even exceeding!) their pledge. Check out these examples:
WHEN THINGS AREN’T GOING WELL
If the response to your initiative is waning, it’s even more critical to share regular updates. Lack of transparency in finances is a frequent criticism of churches, and your church will benefit from being open-handed with your budgeting ups and downs. Your givers need to know you have a plan and that you’re going to “win,” even if that win may look a bit different from originally planned.
This can, and should, be done with excellence, and your display of integrity will earn your church family’s trust.
Regular, intentional communication from Commitment Weekend through the end of your initiative is the key to a successful initiative. It’s good to celebrate how far you’ve come, but don’t take off those running shoes just yet. Keep the momentum going!
If you’re considering a generosity initiative for 2018, I’d be honored to help you get started. Email me today to request your free giving analysis.