An Atmosphere of Generosity

 In Blog, Generosity

The Christmas season is often labeled a time of celebration and joy, but it is also a season for giving to the causes and ministries that move your heart. After the turkey has been eaten and the last of the pie gone we begin to switch into Christmas mode. Once the Black Friday bags are filled and Cyber Monday deals are gone, people might be looking to causes that bestow more meaning and fulfillment than just spending money on materialistic items.

Each year, on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, #givingtuesday kicks off the spirit of generosity. But in this season of giving, the church is often left on the sideline. When the people from your church think about making a year end gift, is the church top of the list? Year-end giving can be important for a church to not only make their yearly budget, but to also launch into the new year with funds to start or maintain community focused initiatives.

In the Christmas season, the church has the opportunity to share the call to live generously in the context of celebration and gratitude. Giving is intended to be an overflowing of the heart not a begrudging discipline. But, there is specific emphasis on this time of year, because Christmas is God’s great gift to us – the coming of His son to earth. What is more generous than giving your Son? Christmas creates a tone of celebration of the King and with that celebration people can feel compelled to give more than other times of the year.  Sometimes year-end bonuses and tax incentives can also be a factor in someone’s decision to give back this year.

Year-end giving initiatives take time to thoughtfully execute. It does not work to show up every Sunday in December and call for increased, year-end giving without clear strategy or goals. Aware3 knows this, and as Christmas is upon us and the year is about to close, we have a few tips to consider before 2016 budgets end and year-end giving is last years news.

Connection

At aware3 we believe that connection drives generosity. Giving and generosity are already on the minds of most people during Christmas, and it’s up to The Church to connect with our congregation and spur them on to action. But how do you connect? If your church doesn’t typically do this, have the pastor and key staff easily accessible to people on Sundays. Have your lead pastor by the door after worship or have another pastor by the entrance of the building acting as a greeter. Placing key staff in the congregation scattered around the room is also important. During greeting time, have other key staff engage with people, and maybe ask them what they love about your church or how they heard about it. Prompting questions like these gets people thinking, “Yes, I really like this place and want to be involved in the future. I wonder how I can do this?”. If they are already thinking about next steps with how they can help your church, that’s a big step in the right direction.

Communication

This may be the most important part of a year-end giving strategy. There are many communication methods that can clearly communicate your position and heart behind year-end giving, without any confusion or hints of manipulation. Use the power of social media to tell the story of where your funds have gone this year and will go in the future. Dedicate a generosity page on your church website to cast vision, and add a year-end giving blurb with a call to action and important dates. Send an intentional email blast to consistent givers in the congregation providing vision and instruction for year end giving. And when the year is over and donations are in, send a handwritten thank you note to all those who generously gave throughout December.

Celebration and Long Term Generosity

It’s important to remember and celebrate the past year during this time. Let your congregation know about every salvation, baptism, student sent to camp, missionaries supported, toy that was donated, hours spent serving, etc. With this knowledge in hand, people seen real life change and impact through your church.

Also provide people with your long term strategy for generosity. People will want to know where their money is going, and what causes or ministries are being supported. Communicate this as often as possible, and position year-end giving with the outcomes of generosity not only the current needs of your church.

Convenience of Mobile & Online Giving

Make year-end giving as easy as possible for everyone. Take donations on Sunday mornings by check, but also have a mobile and online giving presence. With our aware3 app, mobile giving is as easy as ever. People can give via text or a form within the app. If people give through the app, there is a profile set up in the backend that securely saves their information. When a person gives again, our technology remembers them via their profile and autofills all their information. All they need to do is confirm the payment. We also integrate with Church Community Builder and other church management platforms, so everything stays neat and tidy for you from an administrative perspective. The quicker and easier you make year-end giving, the more engagement and impact you’ll have this Christmas season.

What strategies have worked best for you to promote year-end giving and a spirit of generosity