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Effective Strategies for Churches

Effective Strategies for Churches

Year-End and Beyond Series 4

If you’re looking for year-end (or year-round) fundraising and giving strategies, this series will help you make the most of your efforts. 

Many donors make significant contributions in the last weeks of the calendar year. These decisions can be driven by both their interests and the realities of tax benefits. It’s important to have year-end plans in place to both engage donors and thank them. In this blog series, we’ve been outlining four steps to make the most of year-end giving – or beyond. So far, we’ve unpacked reviewing your goals and setting an action plan, planning your calendar, and gathering stories for great appeals. The final step is thanking, early and often.


Any year-end fundraising plans should include several touchpoints for thanking donors. It could be a thank you or Thanksgiving card, a calling campaign, or handwritten thank yous from staff, your board or ministry beneficiaries. It might mean a special thank you just for first-time donors or something unique for your recurring monthly donors. 

Thanking goes beyond an email or mailed receipt: stewardship, and an acknowledgment of the gift is required.  Think about how you can creatively – and often – show gratitude to your donors. Thanking also goes beyond year-end planning. It’s something to sprinkle throughout your church calendar. Handwritten notes, donor appreciation events, donor thank you videos, phone calls, and donor-specific recognition are all ways to say thank you.

Remember when thanking donors to share the concrete impact they’ve made. Be clear that they are the reason the food or coat drive was successful, the youth group is flourishing or the choir trip was possible. While church staff and volunteers execute the programs, nothing could happen without the gifts and tithes of our donors. Your thank yous should reflect that and be as specific – and personal  – as possible. 

Happy Donors

Donors who are thanked in a timely manner are happier and more engaged. First-time donors who thanked quickly are much more likely to give a second gift. Churches often do a poor job of donor acknowledgment. We tend to take our regular, recurring, faithful givers for granted. If that is the case in your congregation, commit to changing that this coming year – even if you do nothing else for year-end! It will make a long-term difference in donor relations and the development success of a church.

In our example in this series of a year-end 12 days of giving campaign to close a $125,000 budget gap, donor thank yous could be woven into the fabric of the campaign itself. Imagine if each of the 12 days included a spotlight on a giver or volunteer in your congregation and why he or she is involved. There’s nothing more powerful than peer-to-peer testimony to encourage giving. 

Remember, even if you’ve missed the boat entirely on year-end campaign planning, these four steps can help you shape your giving plans and outcomes for the coming year. Gather a creative team and have fun getting to work!

Year-End and Beyond

Four Steps to an Effective Year-End

Most ministry organizations see a big upswing in donations in the last quarter of the year. Many donors consider making significant contributions in the last weeks of the calendar year. These decisions can be driven by their passions and interests and the realities of tax benefits.

In this article, you’ll learn four steps to help your church make the most of year-end giving – and beyond.

Tim has over 30 years of experience in Church, Non-Profit Administration, Management, and Fund Development.  Serving as an Executive Pastor and Chief Development Officer in growing Churches and Non-Profit Organizations. He has provided a wide range of expertise and resources. Tim serves as the Founder and CEO of Non-Profit DNA. A boutique firm committed to helping nonprofits and churches. By building their capacity through fundraising, leadership, team building, staff recruiting, and coaching.

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