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Stewardship Matters: What's hiding in your data?

What's hiding in your data?
Cynthia McChesney, Missioner for Stewardship and Legacy Giving

As discussed in the last Stewardship Matters (Stewardship resolutions?, Jan. 5), January's a great time to look closely at the results of your fall campaign. To help, we've developed a worksheet that provides a step-by-step process for reviewing the results. By completing the worksheet, you can gain an understanding of last season's campaign's impact. You can also get a good feel for the health and sustainability of your church.

You can access the Annual Pledge Campaign Analysis Worksheet here [PDF]. Print it out, and work through the questions. Some of the things you can learn when you look at results of your last pledge campaign.

  • How many people pledged?
  • What percentage of members pledged?
  • What percentage did not?
  • Average pledge?
  • Median pledge?
  • How are your pledges distributed? Are you "top heavy"?
  • How many new pledges came in last year?
  • Did any pledgers drop off?

When you dive into some of the results of your campaign, you can think about ways to do more effective Stewardship, all year-round. Things to get started on now! For example:

  • Did your pledge campaign reach everyone you wanted to? If not are there actions you can take now to make sure you reach a wider group in the future? Are there ways you can segment the messaging so there's more impact?
  • What can you learn from the distribution of pledges? Is a large amount of the church's revenue dependent on a relatively small number of pledgers? Does this put you in a precarious place financially? If so, this can be the time to implement strategies that help "engage" that next tier, and build a better awareness of ministry impact.

The good news? Doing this work now will make next year's pledge campaign easier and more effective, if you're willing to apply learnings from this year's campaign. But even more important, this analysis can point out congregation-building strategies that can strengthen your church and its ministries as a whole.

All year we'll be sharing ways to implement Year-Round Stewardship to benefit your church. The Annual Pledge Campaign Analysis Worksheet is one. Watch this space for more all year-round!