31% of All Online Giving Happens in December

Did you know 31% of all online giving occurs in the month of December? 18% of total giving happens in December. And, even more shocking is this statistic – 12% of all giving occurs during the last three days of the year!

Here’s a snippet from Network for Good’s Digital Giving Index infographic recapping 2015 giving. (view infographic online)

Giving By Month

Many of your givers often want to make their year-end gift on the very last Sunday of the year. This year that Sunday falls on December 25 – Christmas Day – while your people may likely be out of town enjoying celebrations with relatives and friends. More significant - I see many churches in my area not even planning to have worship services on Christmas Day this year. (If you’re doing an online or streaming service on Christmas Day, make sure your offering moment is well prepared!)

I anticipate there will be several who will drive to your church office during the last week of the year to give that last gift in time to include it in this year’s tax deductions. (I remember doing this more than once before the convenience of online giving.)

What should you be doing to prepare for this?

This December Mistake Could Cost Your Church Thousands

I want to share a very important task with you today. This is an idea that, if you implement it by December 20, will increase giving in your church during the last two weeks of the year.

giving statementWe know a large percentage of giving happens right at the end of the year. One third of all charitable giving happens in the last 3 months of the year, and 18% comes in the month of December. Also 31% of all ONLINE giving occurs in the month of December! Do I have your attention?

So here’s a way to receive a bigger slice of the pie. I’ll get right to the point of this post, and then let you read on for the full story: prepare and send an 11-month giving statement by December 20 (earlier if possible).

I’M UNUSUAL
I’m not like most people sitting in the seats of your worship center during the weekend. I monitor giving closely. My wife and I set giving goals every year, and we strive to reach them. Giving is a priority for us.

I recall a few years back when I thought we were right on track toward our giving goal. At the end of December, I ran my usual giving report from my personal finance software. (I said I’m unusual, so here’s more proof: I actually run giving reports in my personal finance software!)

Expecting to see my giving at a particular place, I was surprised, (shocked actually) that where I THOUGHT we were for the year, and where we ACTUALLY were, didn’t match. We were significantly behind. How could that have happened? It didn’t matter – it had happened.

Fortunately it was December 30, so I was able to run a check up to the church office, and our goal was attained. (I am now in the practice of running my giving report more frequently. I don’t like last minute surprises!)

ALERT: Act Fast for IRA Charitable Rollovers in 2015

Great news! The President made permanent the IRA charitable rollover as part of the latest tax bill signed late last week. But…

YOU MUST ACT FAST! To leverage the tax benefits in 2015, the IRA rollover must be transferred by December 31!

church givingThe IRA charitable rollover allows individuals age 70 ½ or older to make a rollover gift of up to $100,000 from their IRA to one or more qualifying charitable organizations. Charitable deductions are limited to 50% of a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income for a calendar (tax) year. Taxpayers that make significant charitable gifts will benefit from the rollover because this gift is excluded from the charitable deduction percentage limit.

Donations are excluded from the taxpayer’s income and will count as part of the IRA owner’s required annual withdrawal. The rollover must be distributed directly from the IRA custodian to the designated non-profit. (Rollover contributions are limited to specific qualifying charities – churches are eligible to receive these gifts.)

Here are the details you need to share with those in the qualifying age bracket:

  • The provision allows someone over 70 1/2 years of age to donate up to $100,000 of their IRA assets to a charitable organization.
  • The donor’s contribution can satisfy the required minimum distribution for the year and does not have to be counted as taxable income.
  • Those who qualify to make this gift need to seek counsel from their tax attorney or licensed financial planner for the details.

New Generosity Communication E-Book Coming Soon!

What you say (or don’t say) impacts what your people give (or don’t give). There’s a direct correlation between the two. And, if done well, you can increase the generosity of your church by implementing a basic (but strategic) communication plan.

That’s the premise of our new e-book called “Generosity Speaks: Designing Communication to Impact Giving” launching here in just a few short weeks.

Generosity Speaks E-Book Promo Graphic

I’ve teamed up with Kaycee Parker, founder of KP Communications, to write this one. I know you’ll appreciate her insight from 15 years of experience in the communication world – namely the last few as communication director for a mega church in the St. Louis area and now working freelance to support churches across the country.

So what’s in this new resource designed to help you accelerate generosity with solid and intentional communication? Here’s a quick list of wins for you and your church:

The Language of Legacy Giving for Churches

We’ve been camping out on the topic of legacy giving lately. Legacy giving can have a high impact for both you and your church members. Once you understand the potential behind legacy giving, it can change your ministry!

legacy giving

Reality for many church leaders is that the fundamentals of legacy giving is sort of an unknown. Most pastors simply aren’t trained in the details of legacy financial planning, so this is where I love to come alongside you with hands-on help.

Let’s get really practical about legacy gifts, shall we? This post is meant to help you gain a basic understanding of legacy giving options so you feel comfortable having conversations with people considering these types of gifts for your church.

6 Steps to an Effective December Giving Statement

I am amazed at the number of churches who do not implement a stunningly simple and extremely effective step to accelerate generosity at the end of the calendar year. Time and time again, through my work conducting a Generosity Audit with the church, I discover the lack of frequency with which the church distributes giving statements.

church annual report

Most of the time, only one is sent per year, and that just to satisfy the IRS. It usually contains a ‘statement’, with nothing else in the envelope, mailed in January.

Here’s what I recommend you start doing, immediately!

Eliminating Generosity Obstacles – Part Three

This is the final in a three-part post on Eliminating Generosity Obstacles through effective online giving.

eliminating obstacles

The previous two posts can be found here:

Part One

Part Two

Part of the local church’s work is to help Christ followers identify and eliminate barriers on our transformational journey. And sometimes, the church inadvertently creates those obstacles, many of them in the area of generosity.

Limiting Charitable Deductions Under Consideration

The joint committee on deficit reduction appears to be stalled, with the deadline this month for them to have proposed sweeping changes to avoid automatic cuts in government spending. As of this writing, it is still up in the air whether the committee will actually produce any recommendations.

charitable deductions

Regardless of the ineffectiveness of the committee, there is one important part of the tax code that was on the table for possible revision and you need to know about it. In exchange for the permanent reductions in the marginal tax rates set by congress, Republicans are now willing to consider the elimination of certain tax deductions. Among them is the tax deduction for charitable contributions.

Accelerate Generosity at Year-End

Non-profits have recently begun their year-end appeals. Why? Because they know that the largest percentage of charitable giving occurs during the last two months of the year.

year end church generosity

What are you doing to accelerate generosity toward your ministry in 2011? As people begin to consider how to invest the last of their charitable dollars this year, you will want to have top-of-mind position with your congregation.

To do this effectively, consider all your communication channels. E-mail news, newsletter, worship bulletin, pre-service slides, pre-offering stories and updates, video blog, and weekly e-mail communications.