Last autumn, my organization, Prenger Solutions Group, was approached by the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan. The Diocese wanted to see what would happen if we armed their pastors with high-quality social media content, letters and other communications materials.
They were looking to solve the problem of pastors and parish staff who were overworked and didn’t have time to engage parishioners on social media or write heartfelt emails and letters to their parishioners.
So, we put together a plan and a lot of materials for parishes to use to engage their families. We created daily social media posts, wrote letters, designed postcards and created bulletin materials for the parishes
The result was incredible.
Parishes that used the materials increased their Q4 giving at more than twice the rate of parishes that didn’t use the materials:
Imagine that! In the midst of the worst economic convulsion since the Great Recession of 2009, the parishes over-communicated actually did better than they had before the pandemic. And they are still feeling the effects today because they started 2021 off on the right foot.
What does this teach us? Well, it’s not rocket science. Parishes that overcommunicate and engage with their parishioners see greater generosity than parishes who don’t.
Take a look at your Q4 giving plan (or lack thereof). Have you communicated with older parishioners about how they can make qualified charitable distributions to the parish this year? Is everyone aware of the tax benefits to making a gift before December 31? Have you thanked your donors?
And what is the single most impactful request you could make of your parishioners between now and year-end?
Here’s my advice on what to focus on… Ask your parishioners to move their gift online.
If you invite parishioners to move from donating by check to setting up an automatic monthly gift online, your parish’s financial health will improve by leaps and bounds.
In one parish my team has worked with, we moved just 41 families from offline to online giving. Just by moving those 41 families the parish’s overall giving went up 15 percent. That’s $120,000 per year.
Sometimes, making this simple request of your most faithful givers can work wonders. Why? It’s simple. Even the most generous givers at your parish miss a weekend now and then because of work, travel and illness.
If they give via the collection plate, all those “missing weekends” add up. By moving folks to online giving, you never have a “missing weekend” again.
So, start looking at your Q4 giving plan now – it’s going to improve the health of your parish for years to come!
Prenger Solutions Group is a specialized Catholic fundraising firm that uses technology to help parishes, schools and dioceses raise more money with fewer headaches. PSG’s fundraising and communications experts have raised more than $450 million for Catholic causes while helping more than 4,000 parishes to engage and inspire their parishioners through social media. Nic is the CEO of Prenger Solutions Group.