90-Days Until Christmas

Quincy Brown


90-Days Until Christmas

I couldn’t believe my eyes! The dashboard thermometer display in my car registered 90 degrees. I checked to make sure that I was still in Covington, GA and not the North Pole. And yet all that I could see was snow on the ground. There was only one conclusion: Christmas has come early to Covington! Fortunately, a few days later, all the snow had vanished. Then it dawned on me; they're filming another movie in Covington!
Living up to its nickname "The Hollywood of the South," The Hallmark Channel is filming a Warner Bros. movie "Christmas Everlasting," and the Square will be shut down on October 1st-2nd. And while it's only been five days since the official beginning of the fall season, it’s hard to believe that today, Wednesday, September 26 is the 90-day mark until Christmas!

While I’m still not sure about how I feel about the Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas that begins on October 26, one thing I do know: during the last 60 days of the year, it feels like every charity in the world barrages us. The fact remains that over 30% of all faith-based giving happens during the last three months of the year with 17% occurring in December. That statistic probably doesn't surprise you. Year-end bonuses, tax-deduction deadlines, and a spirit of holiday generosity all combine to make December an impressive month of giving.

What might surprise you is that this new giving doesn’t just happen. Most for-impact organizations (my term for non-profit charitable organizations) start working on their year-end giving strategy in January. These organizations have learned that you can't change behavior, but you can take advantage of it. And they take advantage of people's generous nature during the Holidays.
With 90 days until Christmas and 97 days left in 2018, many church finance committee members are preparing to launch its annual stewardship campaign. They're also wondering about how their church will finish up the year financially since many of them look forward to a bump to help make up for a budget shortfall. 
As you begin to prepare for stewardship season for AND end of year giving, here are five tips to consider:

  • Thank First-Time Givers. People who give your church for the first time choose you from a wide variety of options for giving to other for-impact organizations. In many ways, they’re raising their hands to show they want more connection to your church. Give them information about taking some next steps. Go out of your way to ensure they understand how vital their giving is to your church!
  • Connect Giving to Vision. Connect the dots to show how giving makes a difference in people's lives. Talk about it before you receive the offering every weekend. Send donors regular communications that show their giving making a difference. Don't give in to the notion that offerings merely "keep the lights on," but instead emphasize that the offering is funding the vision of your church to impact the community!
  • Count backward from December 31st. The closer we get to Christmas, the less likely people can think about anything except holiday to-do lists and booking flights for Grandma’s. Starting to talk about year-end giving at least eight weeks before people start breaking out the noisemakers and throwing confetti in Times Square.
  • Decide What Year-End Gifts Will Support. Some churches depend on year-end giving to tighten the gap between the church budget and incoming gifts. Others use the extra December gifts to start a church project or champion a local community need. There's no wrong answer to this one. It depends entirely on your church's situation.
  • Communicate the last 2-days of the Year. Send an email or letter to all of your people, asking them to invest in the vision of your church. This communication reminds people, when they are thinking about their last-minute giving, of the extraordinary ministry of your congregation and inspires them to participate in the plans.
On the Journey,


comments powered by Disqus