Sunday's Coming

Quincy Brown


Sunday will be a busy day. It will be the last of our 5 Zone Charge Conferences. It is also Daylight Savings Time, the time that we turn our clocks back an hour. It's also All Saints Day, the day where our churches will recognize the legacies of the "saints" who passed away during the year. Finally, Sunday will be the day that Popeyes Chicken will bring back its chicken sandwich.

You remember the so-called sandwich wars over the summer, don’t you? Whether you are a fan of Popeyes' chicken sandwich or not (shout out to the many Chick-fil-a fans), one thing is for sure: they nailed it on marketing and advertising!
Ok, so maybe they fell short on the delivery after the marketing by running out of chicken. How does a chicken restaurant run out of chicken?  All jokes aside, it will be interesting to see if and how Popeyes can rebound from its summer fumble. If nothing else, at least for me, there’s a cautionary tale for our churches in this experience: make sure that you deliver on the promises that you make to people about your worship experiences.

Tomorrow is the day where kids will depend on parents to deliver on the promise of lots of treats and fewer tricks. It's Halloween, and just like last year, Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas began a few days before on October 26th.

It will be during the last 57 days of the year that 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 less than 60 days until Christmas and 63 days left in 2019, 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.
  • Count backward from December 31st. The closer we get to Christmas, the less likely people will think about anything except their holiday to-do lists and booking flights for Grandma's. Start 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 local community needs. 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 asking your member 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,


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