Newsflash: We’re fast approaching the end of the year.
You know, that most wonderful time of year. That season of thanksgiving and gratitude. That time of year when the spirit of so many things seem to be permeating season…
Pumpkin spice and peppermint.
Snowflakes and season’s greetings.
The stress of a little too much time surrounded by family.
The tension of Black Friday lines and the search for that perfect gift.
And hopefully, a little generosity.
Yes, while so many things are stirring around in the air during the end of year, generosity seems to be one of the most prominent. Think about it! Is there any other time of year when it seems like every person on the planet feels even just an ounce of the spirit of generosity? For the nearly six weeks leading up to the end of the year, people not only aren’t put off by generosity, but they want to respond to it as well. Statistics show that people are 25% more generous with their money at the end of the year.
If that’s the case, why not tap into that spirit of generosity and increase in the desire to give by offering people one more chance to give to your local church? Give them a way to put their funds toward a supporting the God-honoring mission and vision of your church. Take the opportunity to cast one last vision for the year at your church and officially launch an end of year offering.
Now listen, it’s not going to be easy! With so many other people, programs, and organizations asking for your congregation’s money this time of year, you’ve got to get creative and be intentional with your ask. Get in the middle of the conversation and stay above the noise, expense, and demands of the season. In order to make your year-end offering a success, you’ve got to own it. You’ve got to crush it. You’ve got to make it happen in a way that clearly connects to your people.
And to help you do that, we’ve got just seven keys to make sure your end of year offering is a win for your church.
1) Find your purpose.
First things first, you’ve got to find your purpose. To catch your people’s attention, this can’t be the same as any old offering your church has done in the past. You can’t stand up and say, “We’re going to take up money now, and we’d love for you to give,” just like you would on any other Sunday. Instead, you’ve got to find a specific purpose for your end of year gift—your why.
Your purpose (or your why) is essentially what you’re trying to do or accomplish with your year-end offering. Maybe it’s to catch up on your budget before the close of the year. Maybe it’s to give away to a specific cause in the community. Maybe it’s to fund a specific ministry or mission at your church. Maybe it’s to launch a new campaign or vision for the new year. No matter what you choose, make sure you connect your offering to the why behind it for your people. Find your purpose and ask your people to give with that in mind.
2) Set a goal.
A lot of churches go into asking for a year-end gift without much of a goal in mind. Sometimes it’s simply because they aren’t sure what they need. Other times it’s simply because they don’t want to come up short. And we get it! But the reality is, a clear goal gives your people something to reach toward, and that gives them motivation to give.
Pick a dollar amount. Set a date. Tell your people, “This is what we want to raise for our year-end offering by this date.” You want to be specific in your goal so that you have something to aim for. Churches are always more focused and seem to be more successful when there’s a target at which to aim.
3) Brand it.
Remember, you want to set your year-end offering apart from all the other giving campaigns at your church. In order to do that, you’ve got to brand it. Give it a name (and one that’s a little more exciting than “Year-End Offering” please). Branding your offering makes it feel like more a unique, one-time opportunity for your people, and that will motivate them to give at this specific time for this specific offering.
Go beyond the name and maybe give it a logo, a tagline, or a designed look and feel. This will make it feel bigger than just your typical Sunday offering; this will make it feel like a movement.
4) Create a calendar.
Think about the most successful movements or missions your church has seen in the last year. What did they all have in common? Our guess is at least one thing: a schedule.
And your year-end offering will be no different. An explosive year-end offering might include various combinations of pre-offering emails, letters, texts, phone calls, slides, announcements, videos, group meetings, and more. If you really want to crush your year-end offering, you’ve got to create and follow a calendar on the front end to keep it all organized and moving forward. Think through every step of the process, from strategic meetings on the front end to specific announcements during the campaign to follow up celebrations and appreciations. All of this should be scheduled ahead of time, which is why it’s so important to build your calendar and make sure someone is driving it as your year-end campaign goes on.
5) Launch your offering.
After all those steps, it’s time for the big one: the official launch of your year-end offering. Kick it off on your already scheduled Sunday (thanks step four!) and make sure your people know that it’s the time to give. How do you do that? By being clear.
The biggest key to this offering (and any offering for that matter) is to clearly invite people to give. Don’t dance around it. Don’t apologize for it. Don’t be pushy. Remember, you’re not asking them for something, you’re inviting them to be a part of something. Clearly invite people to step out in the spirit of generosity and be a part of what’s happening at your church. Give them a chance to help and impact other people. Remember, this isn’t just for your members or regular attenders; you can invite your guests to give, too! Don’t worry that they may be put off or feel pressured. Instead, consider it an invitation to your guests to get more involved in the mission and vision of your church while they’re with you.
6) Point to digital giving.
The goal of the year-end offering is of course, to raise a specific amount of money for a specific purpose at you church, but a secondary goal is to engage your people in consistent giving. One of the best ways to do this is to point your people toward digital giving during your end of year offering. This could be as simple as a slide showing them how to sign up for online giving or a card they can fill out to get more information emailed to them about online giving. When you have their attention focused on giving for the end of the year is a great time to inform and motivate them to give online in the future.
Be sure to connect this digital giving response to the purpose of your year-end offering so that it doesn’t seem out of left field. If you’re taking up an offering geared toward your children’s ministry, then tell your people that when they sign up for recurring, digital giving, they are helping you make an impact on the next generation of your church all year long. If you’re making a donation to the community with your year-end gift, remind your people that their digital gifts can do the same throughout the year. Focus on showing your people that in the same way their gifts to your year-end offering will make a difference now, their consistent, digital gifts can make an impact in the future mission and vision of your church
7) Say thank you.
Finally, remember to say thank you. This is arguably the most important step in the process. Remember what we said earlier—that this end of year season is one marked by the pull to give to a lot of different causes. Most likely, the people who give to your church during this offering chose your mission and vision over others. And that’s a big deal! That’s something worth your gratitude. So send a note, make a call, write an email, shoot a text—do whatever it is you have to do to say thank you to those who participated in your year-end offering.
And really, this is the best way to end your year—with a heart of gratitude. Anytime you can say thank you to your people as a leader, it’s great. It shows them your appreciation your humility. Don’t move forward into the new year without pausing to look back and thank the people who made the end of year mission possible for you. That gratitude for their generosity now will motivate them to give again, helping you crush your future giving campaigns the same way you will your year-end offering this season.