Getting Year End Giving in Focus, Part 1

As we approach the end of the year, I will be frequently asked about year end giving. The bottom line request will be, how can I best capitalize on the opportunity to increase giving? Many churches will feel the pressure of budget donations, which have lagged behind expenses all year presenting the pressure to catch up. Others will engage in special offerings or major mission causes that need support.

I’d like to expand the conversation a bit beyond just increased giving during the final two months. Today, let’s start to dream about how you can begin to build a generous culture that has both increased short term giving results along with creating a more permanent foundation for long-lasting fruit. Next time (10 Ideas that Unleash Year End Giving, Part 2), we will look into real-life, applicable ways to put these ideas into motion in your congregation.

Let’s talk about the different generosity topics that will naturally present themselves during the last part of the year. Here is a brief list:

  1. Many churches will host congregational meetings to reveal and approve next year’s ministry financial plan. Some churches will even launch a multi-week stewardship campaign to pledge next year’s budget.
  2. The holiday will surface many positive topics, like thankfulness in November and gift giving in December. These topics will inevitably find their way into songs, prayers, scriptures, messages, and visual designs of environments.
  3. Many benevolence needs will surface. These will come both from within the congregation and community. People will be talking about helping the hurting and expect their church to be responsive.
  4. Missions giving is a huge topic for many churches and denominations during the end of the year.
  5. Finally, it is not uncommon for a church to have the practice of conducting a special offering every year to meet a specific need or designated project. These causes can be either internal or external in terms of who they benefit.

So, the topic and opportunity for generosity will naturally occur in several different ways. If you do not have a broader generosity strategy in advance you may find yourself using transactional language repeatedly. Transactional language speaks with the church’s need or priorities first. Then this type of message could be repeated with one financial offering need after another. You can find yourself wearing out the money topic, while losing the generosity message. So here are a few thoughts to consider before you launch into the demands of the calendar.

  1. Take the time to create a broader strategy that moves beyond a series of isolated giving opportunities. Think in terms of the discipleship opportunity this season of the year presents. (In 10 Ideas that Unleash Year End Giving, Part 2 I will share practical steps.)
  2. Consider having a theme or focus scripture that unites your giving opportunities. Use language that is centered upon the benefits to both the giver and the one being blessed by the gift. Avoid church centric language of duty, obligation, or need.
  3. Incorporate prayer for multiplied ministry impact throughout these different giving opportunities.
  4. Incorporate action and service alongside of financial generosity. Help people become involved not simply in giving of their resources, but investing of their heart and time. Often times, money can be easy to give to a cause. However, engagement creates more long term fruit.
  5. Tell stories repeatedly of the impact these giving opportunities are reaping.

If you lead only with offerings it will create both a limited response and short term giving culture. However, if “year end” is a part of an “all year” strategy the results will overflow. Begin to unleash generosity this year.

For more year end giving training resources click here.