As hard as it is to believe, Advent is almost here. Christmas and the end of 2017 are rapidly approaching, have you prepared a plan for year-end giving?

Did you know that 30% of US annual giving happens in December? December 31st is the most generous day of the year with giving concentrated between noon and 6:00pm.

While most church giving is done throughout the year, and not based solely on the end of the year push, there are many things that you can incorporate in your communication with donors. These communications can help ensure that your parish, diocese, and the charities you support are included in your donors’ year end giving plan.

Stay in communication with your donors all year long

It is vital to your relationship with your parishioners that you continuously communicate what you are doing with the money they are donating. Are you providing for ministries, building new facilities, renovating, or just keeping the electricity going at your parish? Whatever the case may be, you should be sharing financial updates with your parishioners and thanking them for their generosity throughout the year.

Share, celebrate, but don’t over-solicit
Inspire your parishioners to be more engaged in the work of your parish or diocese in several ways, not just financially. The more engaged they are, the more they will give of their time, talent and treasure. Share your success stories in a variety of ways, including social media such as Twitter, Facebook, website and emails, as well as from the pulpit and bulletin.

Your needs should be clearly defined

Why do you need funds? What will you be doing with the funds? Is your year-end appeal for something special, or for regular operating costs? Donors will be more engaged if you clearly define your needs.

Make your appeal personal and donor centric

At year-end, people are bombarded with emails and letters asking for money. You want my donation? Tell me why you are different. Tuesday, November 28th is Giving Tuesday, which is a social media appeal for donations to a variety of charities. Every charity will be pushing hard for donations for a variety of very worthy causes on that day. Engage your parishioners and donors regarding how they should be invested in your mission. Appeal to your donors’ needs as it relates to your mission.

Technology Check

While the most effective fundraising technique is a face to face ask; realistically, this is not always possible. Donors who are 50 years and older respond more favorably to appeals through letters, bulletins and information shared at Mass. Younger generations respond more favorably to texts, Twitter, Facebook posts, emails and information on websites. Is your website mobile friendly? 66% of all emails are read on a phone or a tablet. Is your website easy to navigate? Make it easy to access on-line donations to either your offertory or campaign. Does your website provide information on how to donate stocks, property, etc? If your end of the year drive is for a specific purpose, it is imperative you have a direct link for that fund easily accessible on your website and Facebook page.