Are you tired of starting the year at your church feeling as if you are already behind financially? Have you ever wanted to fund new ministry initiatives but you weren’t sure where to get the money? Are you worried that you aren’t going to finish this year “in the black” at your church?
A well-executed year-end giving campaign can provide your church with a 10-15% bump in your annual giving (above normal year-end increases seen in most churches). Over the last few years, it’s become a vitally important part of the stewardship plan at Liquid Church and I’m convinced more churches need to employ this strategy!
Other non-profits spend a lot of their year planning for a campaign that lands during the last 45 days of the year … your people will receive communications from those groups this year. Are you presenting a compelling vision for your church during that time of the year to encourage them to give to the cause?
Here is an 8-phase plan that will guide you to raise the financial resources you need for your ministry at the end of this year. Now is the perfect time to start working on this campaign at your church!
// September: Research and Planning
This sets the stage for the entire fall. It’s about planning the work before you work the plan. You will:
- Pull your team together, including communications, events and finance.
- Research the giving trends at your church from the last year to understand your community better.
- Block out the important dates and time on the calendar … this needs to have priority!
// October: Leadership Engagement
When you start to ask for contributions, it’s important to ask your leaders first. Why?
- It’s Biblically sound: The Bible gives us clear direction on the wisdom of starting a giving campaign with leadership engagement. The first recorded fundraising endeavor is found in 1 Chronicles 28:1 when David assembled the officials of Israel and asked the leaders to give first.
- Again, refer to the Bible: In 1 Chronicles 29, the leaders contributed before the general population did.
- If the financial and organizational leaders connect to the vision, the ripple effect will reach out from that strong core to the rest of the congregation.
// November: Core Community
In early November, reach out to your committed core. These are the people who call your church “home.” They are the volunteers who work with you, as opposed to people who just attend on Sunday mornings. Specific steps to take in November include:
- Host a series of events to engage your core community with your vision in an exciting way.
- Get your core community fired up to become a valuable part of your incredible mission!
- Communicate in a way that is high on vision and low on pressure.
// Private-Public Dividing Line
Up to this point, your work has been quiet and behind-the-scenes. You haven’t made a public announcement or sent out a mass mailing. No mention of anything special has been made from the pulpit or printed in the bulletin. You’ve made quiet ripples under the surface. That’s about to change. You’re about to move from private to public!
// Late November-Early December: Public Launch
In late November or early December, you’ll launch dramatically and in a can’t-miss-it way.
- Don’t just announce: Launch.
- Don’t just launch: Launch big.
- Gather so much energy and momentum that every single person will be aware of what’s happening.
- You’ll want to do this in a way that maintains your credibility for future campaigns … a delicate balance!
// Remaining Weeks of December: Message Reinforcement
You’ve announced your campaign in a way that no one missed. Now you repeat the message as if no one has heard anything! Keep the enthusiasm and energy alive by repackaging and reinforcing your announcements throughout the month.
// Last 2 Days
There’s almost always a window for giving between the last Sunday of the year and December 31. Don’t miss this important window to communicate to your people. I have a personal story to share and an example of an email that helped raise $15,000 in funds during the last 2 days of the year … it’s shared in our course on year-end giving campaigns.
- Plan for a direct “ask” during the final 48 hours
- Ask in such a way that moves people to action and doesn’t offend them or seem “spammy.”
// January: Celebration and Evaluation
We all realize this isn’t the only time you’ll need to ask people to engage financially with you in the ministry. Start planning now for how you will celebrate and evaluate. Do it in such a way that people will look forward to the next time you ask them to fund the mission.