Finance Fridays: Year End Giving in September?

giving to charityThe September edition of Ministry Briefing has a story that caught my eye related to how people approach year end giving:

A recent Google study suggests that waiting until Thanksgiving to begin year-end giving appeals limits the effectiveness of your appeals. The study suggests that of those who are looking to make year end gifts, three quarters began their research and decision making process in September.

The story originally ran in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and highlights an organization’s web presence as being a key factor in determining who donors give to. While the story is aimed more at traditional nonprofits than it is churches, I think there is a great deal of value in churches planning for year end giving appeals long before the traditional day after Thanksgiving. With this in mind, I asked Alan Wildes, from Generis, to share three things that churches can start doing right now in order to prepare for year end giving:

Make sure your church is set up properly to receive appreciated assets, and similar types of gifts.

Analyze the past five years worth of operating receipts and see what percentage of your budget is met by December giving.  It will be large.  Your congregation needs to know that this is a big deal and deserves their attention. Simply relying on people’s accountants to tell them how much and when they should give is irresponsible financially, but even more irresponsible from a spiritual perspective.  Do you really want accountants being the primary guide for people’s giving?

Talk to other churches, or someone like me, to begin setting a strategy for your church for this year.  Most churches wait until after Thanksgiving to put a plan in motion. This is way too late, and there are WAY too many competing interests for people’s charitable dollars at that point.  You want to plant the ‘end of year giving to my church’ seed early in the fall, and make it a priority for them.

How are YOU preparing for year end giving?


About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.