Did you know that 22 percent of charities’ yearly gifts come in the last two days of the year? Knowing this, the question becomes how your church can capitalize on that. Let me share six steps you can take.
My life’s mission is to work to reverse the decline in giving, one church at a time. I get the joy of working with churches across America doing just that. One way we reverse the decline in giving is with great end-of-year appeals.
Below are three samples of opening lines for appeals which I’ve written for clients for end-of-year appeals. The first two are going out in “snail mail” letters; the final one is an email blast.
- “Babies Still at Risk in Typhoon Recovery,” was the headline that got my attention on Saturday morning.”
- “I cannot let that woman die.” These were the recent words of Zambian medical missionary Sal Marini to his wife after receiving a call at 3 a.m. from a woman who had just given birth to a baby, but was unable to deliver the afterbirth.”
- Subject line: What does 83% mean for the destiny of children? 83%. That is the percentage of all Christians that make their commitment to Jesus between the ages of 4 and 14, according to a study by the International Bible Society.
While the above clients pay me to write their personalized messages, let me give you a few thoughts (for free) about how to make your end-of-year appeal more effective.
1) Be simple and direct. I think single “asks” are better. Decide what’s the most important thing you want funded with the year-end appeal, and focus on that. Even if the “ask” is about making budget, show why that’s important and what difference it will make for the missions and ministries of your church. The more simple and direct the ask, the more effective the results.
2) Don’t make it about you. Instead of talking about your need, talk about what your church does and accomplishes. Make giving about funding missions and ministry, not making budget!
3) Make it impactful. Show the difference their gift will make, and people will give you more. Use stories and pictures to tell the story of what the need is and how their gift will impact that mission and ministry.
4) Use all your platforms and channels. Great end-of-year campaigns use direct mail, email, social media, platform communications, print communications, websites and so on. Successful end-of-year campaigns use every platform and channel to tell the story and make the appeal.
5) Ask more than once. Most churches — if they make an end-of-year appeal — make the mistake of not asking frequently enough. There’s a fine line here, but I find that most churches don’t ask often enough. Build a plan of action that sequences out your appeals, and you will find you raise more money.
6) Just do it! One reason why most churches don’t see better end-of-year giving is that they don’t do anything. Take these steps and you’ll see an increase in giving. That increase might just be enough to help you make budget.
So, get up and get moving towards finishing the year strong!
Mark Brooks is founder and president of The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions (www.TheCharisGroup.org).