Year-end fundraising campaign for churches – how to start early?

Year-end fundraising campaign for churches – how to start early?

It is that time of the year again! The holiday season is drawing closer, which means a lot of cheer, snow and a great time to reach your fundraising goals. For most charities, year-end fundraising is an important event as a significant amount of donations of their yearly goals are raised in just the last two months of the year. For churches and other organizations that are looking to gain from the GivingTuesday momentum, 2019 is an action-packed year. There might be a lot of uncertainty about how and where to start- all the major holidays are spaced out within a month this year with Thanksgiving on November 28th, Giving Tuesday December 3rd and Christmas on the 25th.

While this is an exciting time of the year, it can also become a little chaotic. We always advise nonprofits to start preparing for their year-end fundraising campaigns a little early. While it’s still autumn, start planning early to ensure success for your organization.

Audit your last year-end campaign

There might be a lot of uncertainty about how and where to start with planning. Before we start re-inventing the wheel, how effortless the planning would be if you had a lookalike campaign for reference? Your church’s past campaigns can serve as a reference frame. Try analyzing the results you have to answer the following questions :-

  • How many gifts did your church receive? Whether the funds raised were above or below expectations?
  • Who contributed and who didn’t? Look for donors and supporters who didn’t contribute towards your year-end giving campaign but are otherwise active supporters. 
  • Which strategies were successful and which ones your supporters didn’t respond to?
  • Why the funds raised were below or above the expected mark? Evaluate the potential reasons for the same.

Create a compelling year-end campaign strategy 

Now that you know the “how, who, which and why” of your previous year-end campaign, let us help you translate those insights into creating a compelling strategy for the current year. 

  1. Budgeting:- Your church’s budget to kickstart the campaign is very important. In-depth research on your financial situation can be done by comparing your current financial stand with that of the previous year-end giving. This will help you understand how much funds your church can allocate towards the campaign. Carry out a budgeting plan with the research done.
  2. Creating the fundraising campaigns:- Now that you have done your budgeting, create a fundraising campaign that aligns with your budget. While you create one, remember to exclude those that didn’t produce results in the previous year-end fundraising campaign. Include efforts to mobilize those donors who didn’t contribute. 
  3. Setting goals:- One of the best methods to set goals is the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goal method. Now that you have created campaigns, you need to create a strategy on how and when to achieve the target. For this, set SMART fundraising goals. This method will help you set realistic and attainable goals, measure the progress and the time period in which you would achieve the goals.

Brainstorm your ideas and goals with your board and team members. Also, discuss it with your donors and supporters. This will not only spark new ideas but will also help build a strong donor-church relationship. 

Bridge the resource gap

Starting early will avert the chances of last-minute rush for procuring tools and resources. Look for the previous-year efforts that were unsuccessful. Analyze whether it was because of a lack of resources? By now you have all the information at your disposal. With that information, think about which tool to invest in and the number of volunteers to be recruited. 

There are various tools to make church and nonprofit fundraising way easier. Tools such as a donor management software will not only make your data analysis effortless but will also help you with text-to-donate and crowd-fundraising campaigns.

Create themes and holiday-specific emails, and promotions

A theme will make your event fun and interesting. Your communication and giving appeals will be surrounded around your theme. It makes your campaign-specific promotions easier as your teams will already know how to design emails, invitations, and social media campaigns. If your church is not yet sure about the specific aspects of the ask, do not still push this step for the end. You might consider designing your personalized email design in the form of a mockup template. Once you are ready with your content and message, simply place it in the mock-up template. 

Whether it is for a church or nonprofit fundraising, you need to analyze your previous year-end fundraising campaign, create a strategy with the new insights and understand the resource gap. Finally, decide on a theme and create fundraising appeals surrounding the theme. This will require time and effort, but carrying out this exercise will surely lead the way to a successful campaign.

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