As the year approaches its final months, more people are considering donating than before. Nearly 1/3 of annual giving occurs in December, with 13% of giving happening in the last three days of the year.
This could be for multiple reasons. People are usually feeling more generous during the holidays. Many parishes and nonprofits are serving the community and receiving funds to help. And others are considering their tax deductions. Whatever the reason may be, it’s advantageous to do a year-end giving campaign at your parish.
In this post, we’ll discuss what an annual report is, why your parish should provide one, and how you can use your annual giving report to help boost year-end giving at your parish.
What is an Annual Report?
Businesses, nonprofits, and parishes use annual reports to share about that organization’s activities and financial condition throughout the preceding year. It is a comprehensive report designed to inform shareholders (for businesses) and donors (for nonprofits and religious organizations) about operations and the finances involved.
The annual report usually consists of graphics and charts as well as narratives chronicling the organization’s activities over the past year. They may also include the vision for the coming year, as well as detailed financial and operational information.
Why Your Parish Should Send an Annual Giving Report
Your annual report can help update your parishioners about the progress of your parish’s vision. You get to highlight the mission and impact that your organization is having on the community. It’s a comprehensive way to show how donated funds are being used. It’s also a great opportunity to thank donors. Build greater trust with parishioners by showing transparency with your parish operations and finances.
Ways to Increase Year-End Giving
One of the greatest benefits of disseminating your annual report to your parishioners is that it can help boost year-end giving. When people see what’s happening and they know where their donated funds are going, they may feel inspired to contribute at the end of the year for what’s to come. Below are six ways to use your annual report to help increase year-end giving at your parish.
1. Thank Donors
A key to increasing year-end donations is to thank your donors for what they’ve already contributed. Make them feel appreciated (because they are!) by writing out how you’re thankful. If you’re sending an electronic annual report, consider including a thank you video. When people feel appreciated and understand how their gifts are making an impact, they may feel inclined to give again before the year is over.
2. Make It Visually Appealing
If you want people to get a better understanding of your annual report, be sure to include visuals, like graphs, charts, photos, and financial reports. Let your parishioners see the difference they’re making. Another reason to add visuals to your report is the fact that many people are visual learners and prefer to see complex reports broken down into more digestible illustrations.
3. Share Accomplishments
Yes, your annual report will be a general statement of all the activities and financial progress that has taken place, but be sure to highlight the accomplishments your parish has made throughout the year. Share the different things you did and why you did them. When people can see the success of various campaigns, they’ll be inclined to give again because they see that their funds are being put to good use.
4. Update the Progress
Let’s say your parish hasn’t quite met all its goals in the current year. That’s okay. Transparency is beneficial in helping to build trust. Plus, you can include ways you plan to reach the goal in the coming year. Provide a progress bar or visual with how much has been raised and how much more you need. People may be inspired to donate to that cause if they understand that there is still a need.
5. Include Testimonials
Don’t forget to share the great things God is doing through your parish because of the financial contributions. Include a brief story about how a local outreach opportunity impacted the community. Capture an interview with a first-time giver and how their life has changed because they chose to trust God with their finances. Sometimes people are encouraged by real-life stories, and then they will be more likely to participate in a year-end giving appeal.
6. Communicate the Vision
Finally, be sure to add the upcoming goals and vision for the new year. Your report obviously provides the information from the previous year, but you don’t want to stop there. Inspire people to be a part of what’s coming by giving insight into the ministry that will happen in the future. Share the plans and ask people to join in what God is doing through your parish. One way they can do that is to make a final financial offering at the end of the year.
Integrated Church Management and Giving
ParishSOFT’s integrated church management software and online giving make it simple to compile financial reports and then send them to the appropriate donors. Let us help you make your year-end giving a success! Download the End of Year Tips for Your Ministry Toolkit or contact us today to learn more.