It's that time of year again. In other words, it's the time when church year-end giving matters so churches can close budgets and position themselves well for the coming year. Recently, Kristine Miller and Joel Mikell, Executive Vice Presidents at Horizons Stewardship, completed a webinar to address what you need to do. In addition, Horizons published a free resource guide you could download. The following is the access information for the webinar and resource guide. Download Your Year-End Giving Playbook: 6 Practical Ways to Finish 2022 Strong



In the webinar and by obtaining the guide, you’ll have the chance to learn six key things to do right now for year-end giving. Those critical activities consist of the following:

  1. Adopt an Abundance Mindset
  2. Connect with Financial Leaders Today
  3. Tell Donor Impact Stories
  4. Participate in Giving Tuesday
  5. Reinvigorate Your Planned Giving Efforts
  6. Measure Your Results

In this post, we’ll explore two of the six activities more deeply. But don’t miss the webinar or free resource.

Why It’s Vital to Tell Compelling Donor Impact Stories

The demand for transparency in the non-profit sector is on the rise. Further, it’s permeated into church fundraising, especially with your church and financial leaders. Donors want to know exactly how their money gets used. But more importantly, they want to see the impact it’s having. They want details on where their dollars go, and stories help you convey what’s happening. Several reasons exist as to why you should ensure you share compelling church member impact stories.

1. Sharing compelling stories builds trust with donors.

One of the biggest reasons your church should become an expert in sharing impact stories is that it builds trust and helps you retain more donors. When you tell your church members how they made an impact, they see how their money made a difference. In short, it’s a powerful message. Also, it gives donors a sense of accountability and ownership over their contributions. Moreover, it builds trust because it helps members feel like they have a say and see the impact of their donations. Ultimately, it increases donor retention for a thriving church.

2. Telling stories is an effective way to educate your audience.

Another reason to share donor impact stories is that it’s an effective way to educate your audience. Regardless of how long your church members have been with you, sharing stories is a great way to share ministry information. When you tell impact stories, your church shares details on how member donations help your church and community. As a result, it’s a great way to educate people on how they can get involved. And isn’t that what you want for your church? A community of people who actively participate in your church?

3. It creates a sense of belonging in your community.

Another reason impact stories are so important is that they create a sense of belonging in your church community. For instance, telling stories about contributing members gives all supporters a sense of belonging and connection to your church. It also helps donors feel a sense of belonging with one another and within your church community. When donors feel like they belong to a community and are involved in something meaningful, they’re less likely to stop giving. Moreover, they’re more likely to increase their giving over time.

Reinvigorate Your Planned Giving Efforts

In today’s digital age, prospective church members can quickly find information about any organization when considering their estate. For churches, a tremendous opportunity exists with an effective planned giving program. So, what does planned giving have to do with year-end giving? Well, that's easy. Year-end is an excellent time to share the abundance and bounty of your church community and ministries.

The reality is that if people feel connected to your church, they will consider it for estate planning. However, a few things need to happen to ensure you reinvigorate your planned giving. After year-end giving, all you have to do is to nurture and promote your planned giving program. Let's look at some tips to help you revamp your planned giving program. By connecting it to year-end giving, you have a moment to reach members when people are most generous.

1. Ensure all of your contact information is accurate.

The reality is that you should always maintain accurate church records. Moreover, by keeping your data accurate, you could spot if someone stopped giving. In other words, continually reviewing your donor information may spot an anomaly. So, ensure you have accurate church records at least once a year. That includes addresses, emails, mobile numbers, etc. Further, use it as an opportunity a couple of times a year to invite people to learn about your planned giving efforts. For instance, make a special night of it with light cocktails and a planned giving seminar.

2. Partner with planned giving experts.

Planned giving is an excellent approach that will bear fruit if done consistently. Again, reminding people about planned giving, even during year-end giving, is crucial long-term. However, your church team might not have the expertise for an effective planned gifts program. The reality is that it’s a specialized area. As a result, it makes sense for your church to partner with a professional planned giving advisor. This person can help with everything from creating an easy-to-understand planned giving brochure to creating a tracking system for all potential planned gifts.

3. Be open and transparent about your planned giving program.

Being open and transparent means having planned giving information easily accessible on your website and social media pages. Don’t bury your information about planned giving in a small link at the bottom of your website. Instead, make it one of the first things visitors see when they visit your church site. Further, make sure to update the information regularly. For instance, it could mean featuring a specific area of planned giving monthly or quarterly on your site. Or, it could also mean including a calendar of planned giving webinars and seminars you host. Year-end giving is an excellent time to share your program with your church community.

Year-End Giving Positions Your Church for the New Year

We’ve only addressed two of the six pivotal activities for your church to address during year-end. So, we remind you to view the webinar and download the resource. Doing so helps you position yourself for the new year. 

To not experience financial peaks and valleys, it's always a good idea to stay prepared. For example, impact stories and planned giving are essential to any strong and healthy church. Further, these activities build trust with members, help inform people and create a sense of church belonging. So, focusing on them will allow you to create a community of committed members who care about each other and your church.


If you’d like to know more about creating a culture of generosity in your church, check out Next Level Generosity. And for more free resources, please visit Horizons Stewardship Giving365.

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