The holidays are in full swing, which means it’s a busy season for churches. But with all the business, don’t forget the New Year is just around the corner and that means year-end giving statements will need to be prepped and sent out.
Year-end giving statements are a chance to thank people and cast vision. However, in the busyness of ministry, it’s easy to miss this opportunity. Here are some things that, if we’re not careful, can lead to sending poor year-end giving statements.
1. Wait For the Last Minute
No one is looking to add more stress to their life, but waiting till the last minute to send year-end giving statements will do just that. With so much going on in early January (especially regarding finance) waiting till the last minute is a surefire way to decrease the quality of your year-end statements.
Do This Instead: Complete as much preparation and data checking before the busy weeks of early January, especially if you’re responsible for other year-end procedures. Start planning and allow yourself extra time.
2. Ignore Your Fund Settings
Treating all of your funds (giving categories) as the same will do wonders if you’re looking to send poor year-end statements. Mixing tax deductible with non-tax deductible and including them on the same statement will provide inaccurate information to your donors.
Do This Instead: Confirm whether each of your contribution funds (giving categories) is listed correctly as tax deductible or not. This will ensure accurate information and in turn, accurate statements.
3. Make Statements Generic
Approaching year-end statements as just a formal tax document is too narrow of a view. Yes, they’re tax documents that need to be sent out, but they’re also an opportunity to reinforce the vision for your people. Don’t miss this opportunity to thank people for how they have given as well as cast vision for the future.
Do This Instead: Personalize statements to include the individual’s name, a thank you message, and vision for future ministry. You can even recap the past year and show how resources were used.
4. Limit Delivery Options
Requiring people to travel to the church office and request a paper statement comes in at number four. This is sure to both inconvenience those who need a statement and limit the number of people who receive theirs. In addition, this adds more administrative time and increases resource use.
Do This Instead: Save time, save paper, and save money by mass emailing your statements. Additionally. empower your donors to access their statements online in addition to a paper option for those who may need it.
5. Avoid Testing
Our final tip for ruining year-end giving statements is to avoid testing. The old saying goes “measure twice, cut once”. But if you are looking for low-quality year-end statements – measure and cut at the same time! Generating statements and sending (or printing them) without ensuring accurate info, correct formatting, and clear vision can result in errors and inaccurate information.
Do This Instead: Do a practice run of your statements, especially if you have changed the layout or if this is your first-time emailing statements. Pick a sample group and run statements for that group to check for issues or errors.
Year-end giving statements are often looked at as formalities and because of that, they don’t always receive the attention they need. This year, to send high-quality statements, make sure to plan in advance, check fund settings, personalize statements, provide multiple delivery options, and test before sending.
Need help making this a seamless process? We’d be happy to explore how software can make sending year-end giving statements a breeze. Let’s find a time to connect here.