The end of the year is quickly approaching – is your parish ready to welcome generous gifts from your parish families to close out 2021? Whether people are feeling the generosity of the Christmas season or looking for final tax-deductible gifts before tax time, the last weeks of the year can bring an outpouring of support for your parish ministries. And there are steps you can take now to increase the year-end donations your parish receives as 2021 draws to a close.
Here are five strategies you can incorporate now to build engagement among your parishioners and spark increased support for the ministries that mean the most to your parish and your community:
1. Make Online Giving Easy for Your Church Families
If your parishioners and donors have to search around your website and toggle here-and-there to find your giving page, they may give up instead. Make it obvious: Have a “Give” or “Make Donation” button prominently placed at the top of all pages. This button will lead to your donation page—make sure it is updated and optimized to reinforce the specific impact of year-end giving. You can provide suggested donation amounts, recurring gift opportunities and “in memory/honor of” options. (This applies to your year-end emails as well—include a “Give” or “Make Donation” button prominently that takes the email recipients automatically to the year-end-themed donation form.)
2. Provide Your Donors with the Giving Options They Value
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 giving your parish the best possible chance of receiving a donation from all parishioners, and strengthening your most important ministries.
Of course you want to encourage donations via your main website, as discussed above—but make sure to go beyond that. Think text-to-give options and app-based giving that appeals to younger parishioners; utilizing these channels can help you build a broader base of support for your ministries. And what about “traditional” donors who want to give via check? If they give in
person, use that engagement as a way to introduce them to the efficiency and security of online and recurring giving, and mention the benefits to the church as well (more secure, easier to process, more consistent). Hearing this from you or your church staff can inspire them to make the switch.
3. Capitalize on Your Social Media Presence
Those who follow your parish on social media, want to see your ministries succeed—so it makes sense to reach out for support via Facebook and similar channels. You can adapt your year-end materials, such as emails and website copy, for social media posts, with a link to your year-end giving page.
Social media also gives you opportunities to use videos, photos, and similar content that shows your parish’s good works. A link to a story about someone who was positively impacted by parishioners’ generous donations, or a testimonial from someone whose life was changed through parish ministries, goes a long way in displaying the impact of donations.
This is a great forum to test out requests for smaller donations—a $5 or $10 year-end gift via social media can be the start of lasting generosity, and it’s also an opportunity to encourage your supporters to make a small gift a recurring one.
4. Focus on WHY to Give, Not Just How
Website buttons and dedicated URLs are essential to a successful campaign, but your year-end giving appeals will really thrive if they’re built on compelling, inspiring content—stories of great impact from the 2021, groups or individuals who have benefited from the parish’s ministries, or specific religious education events including VBS that have educated youth about God and his unending love for each one of us.
People want to know that when they give, their dollars will make a meaningful difference. The most you can illustrate this, the more generous and joyful your parishioners will be in their year-end giving—and the more stories of transformative impact you’ll have to tell at the end of 2022!
5. Keep Your Year-End Focus Through the Very End of the Year
In past years, as much as 10% of all giving for Faith Direct parishes has occurred in the last three days of the year. The Christmas season is hectic, and between December 29-31 many parishioners will be scrambling to make their last-minute charitable gifts at year’s end.
During these critical days, make sure to ask your supporters for their last-minute donations—send text message to those donors for whom you have a valid mobile phone number, and/or emails to your list (forwarding a previous email, from a different sender, is a simple way to grab attention). And don’t forget to post to your social media pages with final appeals for support. These three final days of the year can greatly strengthen your ministries for all of 2022, if you stay engaged with your church families and inspire them to give.
Never Miss an Opportunity to Strengthen Your Ministries
Are you looking to strengthen your online giving, so your parish can maximize every opportunity to build lasting support for your most powerful ministries? The Faith Direct team is eager to talk with you about how we are helping parishes throughout the country with engagement, success and growth—and how we can help you too! Connect with us here to online giving built for your parish through Faith Direct.