30% of All Giving Occurs in December

Leadership // December 17, 2014

Did you know 30% of all charitable giving occurs in the month of December?

Even more shocking is this statistic – 10% 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 2013 online giving. (view infographic online)

Many of your givers often plan to make that year-end gift on the very last Sunday of the year. This year that Sunday falls on December 28, while your people may still be out of town enjoying Christmas with relatives.

I anticipate there will be several who drive to your church office during that last week of the year to give that last gift in time for the 2014 tax deduction. (I remember doing this more than once before the convenience of online giving.)

What should you be doing to prepare for this?

Begin educating your people now:

  • Promote your online giving portal heavily.
  • Create a video showing how easy it is to make an online gift.
  • If you offer mobile giving, do a brief demo in worship this month. Encourage your people to take out their smartphones and try it right then, on the spot!
  • Remind everyone that gifts received after December 31 will go on the 2015 giving statement.
  • Post your office hours that last week of December – make sure people know the times they can submit that final gift of the year if they don’t want to do it online.

Remember: if people can’t give to you but still want to make a charitable contribution that counts toward their tax-deductible charitable contributions for the year, they will likely give it somewhere else! Convenience counts.

Plan and implement an end-of-the-year online giving appeal:

  • December 22: Send an email reminder for the final Sunday offering of the year. In it, link to your online giving page for those who will be absent on Christmas weekend.
  • December 26: Send an email containing a “story of life change” from one of your ministries and offer information regarding the tax-deductible giving opportunity that exists through December 31. Link to your online giving page.
  • December 30: Send a “last chance to give” email with a direct link to your online giving page.

I realize this might sound like a frontal assault on your people, but trust me – they are receiving similar year-end giving appeals from several non-profits they have supported in the past. You must work hard to keep your ministry top-of-mind throughout the end of the year, THE month for the highest charitable donations in the US.

P.S. In case you are wondering, for tax purposes:

  • an offering received on or before December 31 can be counted on a 2014 tax return.
  • an offering mailed through the postal service can be counted on a 2014 tax return if it is postmarked on or before December 31, regardless of when it is received in the church office.
  • an offering delivered via FedEx cannot be counted on a 2014 tax return (even if it is postmarked on or before December 31) unless it is received by December 31. If sent prior to December 31 but not received until January, it cannot be counted on 2014 taxes – regardless of the postmarked date.

About Rusty Lewis

As a church leader, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the funding to do what God’s calling you to do. But when you think about trying to address that problem, you feel overwhelmed, you dread the potential pushback from your congregation, and you’re not sure where to turn for help. Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped more than 120 churches close the gap between their current financial reality and what they need to move forward in ministry.

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