Maintaining the giving momentum your parish may have gained around Christmas can be challenging. As people start to lose that feeling of generosity and return to their everyday lives, they become less focused on giving and being involved in your mission. Though this break in giving is normal, your parish still has goals to accomplish long after the holidays and keeping the giving spirit alive throughout the year is vital to fulfilling your vision and the mission of your parish.
To help with the giving slump that can happen in the first few months of the year, and rekindle the spirit of generosity, here are the 3 E’s of giving to practice.
The beginning of the year is a great time to examine your parishioner and donor data and learn more about their different behaviors and preferences. Begin this journey of knowing your donors better by looking at a few different pieces of criteria:
- Those who have given or made donations this year that also gave last year
- How many first-time givers and donors you had
- How many past givers and donors dropped off completely
It’s best to review giver and donor retention rates every quarter to keep up with your parish’s seasonal trends. If your retention rates are going up, then you know that your giving campaigns are successful. However, if your retention rates are declining, then you may need to check your strategy and see where it can be improved.
For example, maybe you’re only telling your parish about envelope and online giving options on Sundays, but you’re missing opportunities to share that information with those who typically attend Wednesday or alternative services.
Also, consider your volunteers serving in different capacities who might miss that message. Do you have a way to ensure that they receive this information as well? Having as much information as possible about your donors, their giving habits, and how they receive (or don’t receive) messages helps to provide crucial benchmarks to measure your future giving activity.
After gathering your donor information, begin to evaluate the reasons for any lapses in giving. Finding out why donors have quit giving is just as important as finding out why they gave in the first place. Three of the most common reasons donors stop giving are:
- They were never reminded to give
- They did not see any additional need for their contributions
- They were never informed of how their gifts and donations were being used
When you boil it down, these three reasons can all be attributed to lack of communication. Whether your parish is so large that you find it difficult to keep up with all your donors, or whether it’s small and you feel like you lack the resources to reach out to everyone, you must find a way to let them know that they’re appreciated, or you will likely lose their interest.
Take time now, early in the year, to create and begin executing a new and effective communication strategy based on your parishioner and donor data. Send messages encouraging those new to online giving to get involved in a small group or come to a special event your parish is having.
For those who haven’t made a donation in a while, or haven’t attended mass recently, contact them and see what has changed. They may simply need to know that their presence is missed and that their gifts of time, talent, and treasure are appreciated. Keep in mind that whether you’re sending thank-you notes or mission updates, the time and effort you put into making a personal and heartfelt message will never be in vain. It shows that you care about your parishioners and donors far beyond their wallets and that they are an appreciated and important part of your parish family.
Whether you’re on top of your donor data and following up like a champ or entering the analytical side of your donations as a newbie, now is the perfect time to reflect on what you know and to craft an engaging and inspiring plan for the rest of the year!
If you’d like to learn more about how ParishSOFT can help your parish maintain its giving momentum simply call 866-930-4774 x6, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or register for a free demo to learn more.