We already know this year is not like last year. We've been out of our church buildings for these many months. Ministries are still happening, and worship is still happening, and yes "church" is still happening, but we can't ignore the fact that there are challenges ahead for next year's pledge campaign. The good news is that with some planning and teamwork and creativity now, you can be better prepared for those challenges come the fall.
And it's important. After all, the success of next fall's pledge campaign will directly affect the ministries your church can offer in 2021.
One important part of planning for the coming pledge campaign is to pull together data, both from last year's campaign, as well as new information. Now is a good time to look at some specifics from last year's campaign:
- How many people did you ask to participate in the pledge campaign last year? Who were they? How were they asked? When?
- How many said yes? How many did not?
- Do you have up-to-date names, email addresses, physical addresses, and phone numbers for everyone? Phone numbers will be important for follow up.
- What is the average pledge? How has it been trending? Are people regularly increasing their pledge amounts? (If pledged amounts have remained stable year after year, this suggests that better communication about the relationship between pledging and ministry is needed).
- What was the total amount raised and how did that compare to previous years?
As we look ahead to the 2021 campaign, we want to be crystal-clear on who is asked to participate, and make sure we have good contact information available. Now is the time to be collecting and double-checking contact information.
So: Will you include everyone you asked last year to participate in this year's pledge campaign? As above, make sure you have good contact information including phone #s. Who will you add to this year's campaign? What about people who have "re-connected" through online worship – perhaps former members who have moved away? (You will probably want special messaging for them. You don't need to figure that messaging out right now, but it is a good time to make sure you have good contact info).
What about new people who have connected with your church online during the past few months? Do you have their contact information? This can be challenging, but here are some ideas that can help:
- For Zoom attendees who have been invited through email, gather names and emails (since invitations are sent through email, someone should have those names and email addresses).
- Collecting contacts from live stream attendees on Facebook, YouTube, etc. can be challenging, but there are ideas to try. One way to connect with those folks is to have someone – probably not the clergyperson doing the service! – be available online during the service to help "steward" the guests: especially to welcome them for participating, and perhaps offer more information about your church.
- For past Facebook services, look through the comments and see if you recognize names. Keep track!
- For future Facebook and YouTube services, if you're not doing his already, offer people a reason to engage, like The Rev. Deacon Erik Soldwedel does during St. Paul's Paterson services by offering to sign folks up for the St. Paul's newsletter so they have more information on upcoming services,
- While you're at it, why not offer folks the chance to sign up for your e-news through separate facebook posts as well?
- For future Facebook and YouTube services, consider a "Digital Welcome Card" throughout the livestream service.
Those ideas should get you started on some good planning and data gathering that will be helpful this fall. Questions? Let me know, and remember that the StewardshipTeaching Team is available to provide parish-specific coaching! It's remarkably easy now to schedule and conduct do parish coaching through Zoom. For more information just reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.