Faith Direct has introduced our step-by-step year-end giving guide for parishes and has discussed the important role that planning your parish’s communication strategy can have on growing your eGiving program, and have made some suggestions for best practices you might want to consider implementing before launching a year-end giving program. Now that you have a solid plan for communication and best practices, it’s time to start promoting your eGiving program.
Your parish’s year-end fundraising campaign should allow donors to find information about your parish, how your parish works to spread the Gospel and help your community. Information should be easily accessible and donation forms should be able to seamlessly collect funds whether the form is accessed from a computer, on a smartphone or from a tablet.
Provide Giving Button on Websites
Make it easy for your parishioners and donors to find your giving website by placing a “Give” or “Make Donation” button prominently placed at the top of all pages. And be sure that your donations page is optimized to reinforce the impact of year-end giving by providing suggested donation amounts, recurring gift options and “in memory/honor of” options. You can also create a donate link on your parish’s Facebook page.
Provide One-Click Donations from Email
From your year-end emails, include a “Give” or “Make Donation” button prominently that takes the email recipients automatically to the donation form. Make sure that you are tracking every donation that comes from one of your email campaigns. And if you have a mobile phone number for email recipient, it can’t hurt to also send them a text message asking them to make a donation.
Post Reminders on Social Media Pages
One of the great things about a multi-channel brand presence is the ability to turn many of your social media followers into donors. You can do that by providing short social media posts with links to videos and by embedding photos that show the good work your parish does. A link to a story about someone that was positively impacted by parishioners’ generous donations or a testimonial from someone who was helped by the parish or found God after joining the parish goes a long way in displaying the impact of donations. Encourage people to donate, no matter how small the gift.
Send Multiple Messages Before Asking for a Donation
Even though you may provide a prominent link to a button where donations can be made, your parish should not start an email campaign by actually asking for a monetary gift until after you have sent a couple of messages, ideally at least 2 or 3.
The best way to start a year-end giving campaign is by providing compelling content centered around stories of what event took place that year that have helped the community, spotlighting the groups that have benefited from the good work the parish does throughout the year, and the various religious education events including VBS that have educated youth about God and his unending love for each one of us. While your parish’s goal is to raise money, it first must sway hearts before pocketbooks will open.
When launching a year-end giving campaign, your parish needs a complete eGiving solution that is made for parishes like yours. To learn more about Faith Direct, contact our sales team at 866-507-8757 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faith Direct has introduced our step-by-step year-end giving guide for parishes and has discussed the important role that planning your parish’s communication strategy can have on growing your eGiving program. Now, we will dive into the best practices that are needed to ensure success.
Faith Direct helps your parish raise more money because you are providing your donors with a modern and convenient way to share their monetary treasures with your parish.
Year-End Campaign Primary Best Practices
- Make it easy for donors to give anywhere, anytime from a variety of devices.
- Make it easy for volunteers to sign up to help your parish.
- Easily kick off your year-end giving campaign on Giving Tuesday, which is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (this year it’s on Tuesday, November 27, 2018).
- Communicate on numerous communication channels (ie.your website, social media pages, in emails, via text message, and via phone calls) at once.
Provide Donors Several Ways to Give
In order to raise the largest possible amount of money for your parish, provide your donors with a chance to give in the way they are most comfortable. And remember, what might be the ideal way to give for one age group might be least convenient for another age group. By providing several different ways to give, you are providing your parish with the best possible chance of receiving a donation from all parishioners.
Allow donors to give on your online giving website, by text message, with an eGiving app, by check, or over the phone. And if possible at your church, parishioners might enjoy seeing an online campaign fundraising results tracker or thermometer that allows website visitors to track how much money has been raised in your year-end giving campaign so far.
Use #GivingTuesday to your Parish’s Advantage
Giving Tuesday takes place every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and is an ideal time to launch your parish’s year-end giving campaign. By planning your parish’s year-end giving campaign in advance, you can effectively communicate with different age groups with a message that is most likely going to solicit a donation. For those people who check your parish’s social media pages for updates, be sure to thank donors and perhaps even single out one person per day who has made a donation thanking them for their generous gift. And on your parish’s website, post a running total of the amount collected during your year-end campaign.
Another way to increase awareness of your parish’s campaign is to take a photograph. When you take a photo of yourself with your smartphone, it’s called taking a “selfie.” In the case of year-end giving, encourage donors to post an “unselfie” which could be a simple Word document created by your parish like this example from the GivingTuesday.org website that allows the individual to type in why they gave, print the document, and take a photo of themselves with the paper to increase awareness of your parish’s fundraising efforts.
Make Your Parish’s Final Appeal
As remarkable as it sounds, 10% of all giving from 2018 will occur in the last three days of the year. Between December 29-31 ask your supporters to make a last-minute donation before New Year’s Day to help your parish reach its giving goal. Send a text message to those donors for whom you have a valid mobile phone number, send an email to all past donors, or post to your social media pages asking for last minute donations. One great way to get noticed is to consider having a member from the parish staff create a short but personal video asking for donations and why it’s important to give what you are able. And be sure to include a short, easy to remember link where donations can be made.
Our next post will conclude our year-end giving guide for with some ways to better promote your program. To discuss your parish’s eGiving program and learn how Faith Direct can help you to better engage your parishioners, please contact our sales team at 866-507-8757 or email@example.com.
Now that we have introduced our step-by-step year-end giving guide for parishes, let’s talk about the Christmas season. During the Christmas, your parishioners and donors are bombarded with nonprofit organizations also seeking their financial support. It’s important that your parish recognizes who you are trying to reach and the best way to reach them.
Segment Your Target Audience
- Millennials are 20-35 and are most likely to respond to a text message asking for a donation, watch a video detailing your message or respond to social media content.
- Generation X are 36-50 and are the group most likely to want to help fundraise or volunteer for your parish, and respond equally well to text messages, phone calls, and to email. Plus, they are likely to check social media for updates. It’s important to engage this group before launching your parish’s year-end giving campaign if you want to raise the most money possible.
- Baby Boomers are generally 51-65 and are the group most likely to set-up reoccurring gifts. This group responds well to phone calls and direct mail, they can respond well to email or even text-messaging in some cases. But phone calls and direct mail are generally best for this age group to encourage donations.
- Greatest Generation members are 66 and up and are often not considered to be as willing to utilize Faith Direct as other generational groups, but they respond well to direct mail and phone calls and are also like to give by sending a check in the mail.
Set Your Goals
The best way to determine if your campaign is successful is to set a realistic but lofty goal that is specific and measurable that can be tied to either your financial giving numbers or your parish’s overall marketing goals. Some examples might include:
- Increase donations among existing donors by 5% in December 2018 compared to giving numbers from December 2017.
- Increase the number of new donors by 3% in December 2018 compared to December 2017.
- Sign up X number of parishioners with Faith Direct before the end of December 2018.
Create Your Campaign
Every time your parish communicates to parishioners and donors, the look and feel of the campaign should be consistent. That means the parish logo and colors used in all marketing pieces should be similar enough that recipients recognize its part of your parish’s year-end giving campaign. Plus, the message and even the tone being communicated should also be similar from marketing piece to marketing piece. If possible, include photos and video that capture visually the mission of your parish and why your mission is important.
Donors love to read and hear how their donations are making a positive impact on the world. Create videos or testimonials that address the good work your parish is doing and individuals in the community or around the world that have been positively impacted by your parish. Compel the audience to take action by showing the good deeds they can help support with a donation using Faith Direct. And if you still aren’t convinced, consider this fact: the #1 reason that first-time donors do not give again is that they are unaware of the impact their donation has made. So, take the time to let your audience know how their donation is making a difference. It will be time well spent.
Determine How You Will Thank Donors
Spread the Christmas spirit to your donors when they provide you with a year-end donation. A good initial step is to personally thank your donors on your social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter. You could single out a random recipient, or if you prefer, the messages could be more general. Similar messages can also be posted on your parish’s website and in your parish’s bulletin thanking donors and providing a status update on how much has been raised so far. When posting to social media or to your website, also remind people who haven’t donated that it’s never too late to donate.
For those donors who use text giving to make a donation to your parish, send them a personal message thanking them for their general donation. For those donors to call in or mail in a donation, call them on the phone or leave them a voicemail thanking them for their donation and wishing them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. A personal thank you will go a long way in showing your donors that you value and appreciate their generosity.
In our next year-end giving guide post, we will look at some best practices for your parish, so check back soon. To discuss your parish’s eGiving program with us, please contact our sales team at 866-507-8757 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout the year, mobile giving has increased in importance for parishes. During the past year, donations made on mobile devices has increased by 205% and 25% of all donations are now made on mobile devices. The end of the year is the biggest opportunity for Catholic churches to raise money, during this season, Faith Direct can have an even greater impact for your parish.
During the month of December parishes typically receive 30% of their annual donations. For example, on December 31, 2017, the peak time for donations to be made was between 12:00 – 7:00 PM ET and parishes overall processed twice as many donations that month as they did in November 2017.
Clearly, it’s important for your donors that they have an opportunity to give back at the end of the year, but have you ever wondered what’s really motivating your donors to give?
Some people might donate to your parish simply because want to make a difference. Others might want to feel connected to something positive during the Christmas season or perhaps they are strictly looking to take advantage of tax deductions. Whatever the reason, your donors will want to give to your parish at the end of the year. Is your parish doing everything it can to reach them and encourage donations?
Important Year-End Giving Statistics Every Parish Should Know
of all annual donations occur in December
of all annual donations occur on the last 3 days of the year
To assist your parish in this important task, Faith Direct has created a year-end giving fundraising campaign guide that will help you maximize donations during the time of year that your donors are most likely to give. We look forward to sharing this with you in the weeks to come. To discuss your parish’s giving program, contact our sales team at 866-507-8757 or email@example.com.
For many years now, parishes have been using eGiving services for collecting their regular donations. More recently, parishes have sought to apply the convenience of eGiving to other programs and payments, including registrations for Religious Education, small group meetings, retreats and other events.
Faith Direct spoke to three parishes that are using our event registration platform for their Religious Education signups to discover what they like most. Here’s what they had to say:
For families participating in Religious Education, online registration makes life easier. “It is really convenient for our families,” says Kate Rice of Most Precious Blood in Denver, CO. “We have hundreds of families signed up for different programs, and they appreciate being able to register multiple children all in one place.”
Many parishes that start out using online registration for Religious Education quickly realize that is has many other uses. “We’re using it as much as we can,” says Marianne Larson from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Plano, TX. “One of our ministries has an annual bazaar, and they are using it to handle booth registrations.”
“We see online registration as a way to help make programs more accessible to our parishioners,” says Kevin Muller from St. Maria Goretti in Westfield, IN – noting that before, registration involved a special trip to the church office to pick up or drop off forms, or an extra effort to mail in registration materials. “The availability of online registration has been very well-received.”
Does your eGiving program have events registration as a standard feature? If not, it’s putting your parish at a disadvantage. Below is a video explaining how Faith Direct is incorporating online event registration into our eGiving program.