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!
It’s January. Another year has passed, and a new one has begun. And for many pastors and financial church leaders, that means it’s time to prepare the (often dreaded) annual giving statements. You find yourself trying to make the somewhat daunting process more efficient every year, don’t you? But what if you focused this year on making them more effective instead?
Are your annual statements effective? By that, I mean do they encourage the future generosity of the giver?
Many churches send an official, transactional-looking statement each January to those who have given the previous year. In fact, we’ve talked about this before. I get it – it meets the IRS requirement, right? (And you would be right.)
But consider this:
“Giving statements are not an exercise in efficiency… our end goal is effective and meaningful communication with the giver,” my Generis colleague Brad Leeper says in his new e-book.
Did you ever get one of those tee shirts from your parents after their amazing vacation trip to Hawaii? Well, I had that same kind of feeling after opening my mail early this year.
It was the feeling of “I gave to your ministry and all I got was this lousy statement.”
Yes, the IRS requires churches and other nonprofit organizations to provide a statement of giving to its donors each year.
But your giving statement doesn’t have to look like it came from the pages of a legal handbook. Quite the contrary, this is yet another opportunity to connect giving to ministry impact!
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.
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!