Keeping up the giving momentum after the holiday season can be challenging. As people start to lose that feeling of generosity and return to their everyday lives, they become less focused on giving and being involved in your mission. Though this break in giving is normal, your church still has goals to accomplish long after the holidays, and keeping the giving spirit alive throughout the year is vital to fulfilling your vision and your mission. To help with the post-holiday giving slump and rekindle the spirit of generosity, here are some best practices to help you retain donors and maintain the giving momentum at your church!
The 3 E’s of Giving
The beginning of the year is a great time to examine your donor data and learn more about their different behaviors and preferences. To begin this journey of knowing your donors better, separate your donors into groups by looking at those who donated this year that also gave last year, how many first-time donors you had, and how many past donors dropped off completely. It’s best to review donor retention rates every quarter to keep up with your church’s seasonal trends. If your retention rates are going up, then you know that your giving campaign is successful. However, if your retention rates are declining, then you may need to check your strategy and see where it can be improved. For example, maybe you’re only telling your congregation about your traditional and digital giving options on Sundays and are missing opportunities to share that information with those who typically attend Wednesday or alternative services. And, what about your volunteers who are serving in different capacities who might miss that message? Do you have a way to ensure that they receive this information as well? Having as much information as possible about your donors, their giving habits, and how they receive (or don’t receive) messages helps to provide crucial benchmarks to measure your future giving activity.
After gathering your donor information, you can begin to evaluate the reasons for any lapses in your giving. Finding out why donors have quit giving is just as important as finding out why they gave in the first place. Have you surveyed your past donors to see why they quit contributing? Three of the most common reasons donors stop giving are that they were never reminded to give, they didn’t see any additional need for their contributions, or they were never informed how their donations were being used. When you boil it down, these three reasons can all be attributed to lack of communication. Whether your church is so large that you find it difficult to keep up with all of your donors, or whether it’s small and you feel like you lack the resources to reach out to donors, you must find a way to let them know that they’re appreciated or you will likely lose their interest.
Take time now, early in the year, to create and begin executing a new and effective communication strategy based on your donor data. For example, send messages encouraging those new to giving to get involved in a small group or come to a special event your church is having. For those who haven’t donated in a while, contact them and see what has changed. They may simply need to know that their donations are appreciated. Keep in mind that whether you’re sending thank-you notes or mission updates, the time and effort you put into making a personal and heartfelt message will never be in vain. It shows that you care about your donors far beyond their wallets and that they are an appreciated and important part of your church family.
Whether or not you’re on top of your donor data and following up like a champ or entering the analytical side of your donations as a neophyte, a new year is a perfect time to reflect on what you know and to craft an engaging and inspiring plan for the coming year!
If you’d like to learn more about how easyTithe can help your church maintain its giving momentum, contact us at 1-888-778-4843 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.