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Stewardship Matters: Stewardship resolutions?

Cynthia McChesney, Missioner for Stewardship and Legacy Giving

Here's an easy New Year's Resolution for Stewardship. Why not resolve now to prepare better for next year's Annual Pledge Campaign?

Just complete the two easy steps that follow, while last fall's campaign is still fresh in your head. Prefer to watch on video? Click here!

Step 1. Build a comprehensive communications file

Take the time right now to pull together all materials, meeting notes, learnings, etc. that will tell the story of your church's recent Annual Pledge Campaign. Pull together samples of the letter that went out, along with emails. Print them out and put them in the file. Did you make announcements in your weekly emails? Print those out and put them in the file. Same with the pledge card, print it out and put it in the file.

Have a copy of the sermon that launched the campaign? Include it. Bulletin inserts? Stewardship speakers? Even if you don't have the verbatim talk that they gave, note who spoke, and when, and put it in the file. Did all pledgers receive thank you notes? Put it in the file!

Don't forget online messaging. Did you use the church website to announce the pledge campaign? Did you post an online pledge card? What about Vanco or other giving platform? Take a screenshot and print those out and put them in the file too.

What else goes in the file? A list of Stewardship Committee members and others who helped with the campaign. And finally, you'll want to make sure you have a copy of these two lists: Whoever received a pledge solicitation; and, of course, the list of everyone who pledged. Have those in the file too.

Step 2. Create a retrospective calendar

So your comprehensive communications file will help show what you did, now you want to know when you did it. To do this you want to create a retrospective calendar of any dates that relate to your campaign.

Start with the easy ones.. When did letters go in the mail? When did the campaign "launch"? What was you in-gathering date?

Then go a little deeper. Did you ask the Vestry to get their pledges in early? Write down the date of that Vestry meeting. What about committee meeting dates? Write those down too. It's also great if you can include prep time, for example -- when did work on drafting the campaign letter start (and how long did it take?). If you have to estimate, that's fine. Put that information in your calendar too.

Congratulations! When you've completed pulling together a comprehensive communications file and a retrospective calendar--you'll have a timeline that tells the story of this past campaign and the work that went into getting it off the ground and underway, putting you way ahead when it's time to plan next year's.

And better yet, when complete, you'll be ready to proceed to a clear-eyed assessment of the campaign. We'll go over a step-by-step process for completing that assessment in the next issue of Stewardship Matters.