Charitable giving in the United States typically reaches its peak during the final weeks of the year, a trend often observed within churches as well as in our personal inboxes and mailboxes at home.
In most of our churches, though, December rolls around just as we our finishing/closing out the fall annual pledge campaign. That can mean we're just not thinking about making the most of December as a time for some "special" giving opportunities.
In this article we'll run through a variety of different ideas that you might try this year as something special in December.
- A mini-campaign supporting next year's vision. Look ahead to the coming year and envision what your church could accomplish with some special funding. Do you want to enhance your outreach? Is there a new program you could offer if you had the extra funds? December could be a great time to launch a mini fundraising campaign to make this special effort possible.
- Christmas "Wish List." Maintaining an up-to-date, costed-out "Wish List" is wise stewardship for every church. They especially make sense in December. It's a great opportunity to show parishioners what could become possible with an end-of-year gift. And remember, bigger, more expensive items can be broken down into smaller increments.
- Does your church have a special outreach partner? They could be the focus of a special December effort. Or, you could ask for gifts to support a more general church outreach effort, to enhance your church's ability to help its neighbors and make an impact in the community.
- Giving Angel Tree. One fun way to promote a church wish list, or an outreach partner's, is through a specially decorated "Angel Tree" in a prominent location within the church - like the parish hall. The tree is adorned with angel-shaped ornaments or tags, each containing a specific holiday wish or need for an individual or family in the community.
- Speaking of your local community, look around. Is there a special need outside your doors that you could help with through a December push? How might you find out?
- Reverse Advent Calendar. Instead of receiving, church members can participate in a "Reverse Advent Calendar" where they contribute one item each day leading up to Christmas. The collected items can be donated to a local food bank or charity. This can be particularly fun for families with younger children.
Whatever you do, remember: Make it easy for parishioners – and visitors – to give!
- Online giving. Ensure that your online giving methods are user-friendly and easily accessible. If you need assistance in enhancing your online giving platform, reach out and we can discuss.
- Recurring Giving Promotion. Use December as an opportunity to encourage and promote scheduled or recurring giving. Enable donors to set up automated monthly or weekly contributions. Encourage congregants to schedule their December gifts in advance, ensuring a consistent stream of donations throughout the month.
- "How To" Give. If your church still has parishioners who are hesitant to use online giving, they may need some guided help. December could be a time to host an informal workshop on how your church's online giving works - with tips on how to set up recurring giving too.
- QR Codes. A QR code can link directly to your online giving platform or specific donation pages. Place these QR codes on printed materials, like bulletins or flyers, and within the church premises, allowing parishioners and visitors to quickly scan and make donations using their smartphones.
Let us know if you try something new this year in December to raise up special giving opportunities, And, as always, don't hesitate to reach out with questions or ideas!