The past several weeks our pastors have emphasized end of year giving. 20% of the annual giving for our church every year comes in December. As I reflect on end of year giving, here are four different scenarios that might be helpful to consider in planning your end of year giving campaign. I think you'll realize, like I did, that online giving is not just important, but essential.
- Profit-taking and taxes. The business owners in your church plan through the year for their business profits. But, often they will wait until the very last week to look at cash flow before finally moving profits out of their business and into their personal account. They will want to make sure that this, significant part of their giving, is completed before January 1 to claim the tax benefit for that year. Online giving provides them the opportunity to manage everything financially in one sitting.
- Staff holidays. If end of year giving has to be done using only cash or checks, staff have to be available to receive those donations and then deposit them in the bank to be stamped before the year end deadline. Online giving tracks the transaction in real time. You financial staff love that they can spend that final week of the year with their families instead of waiting for last minute checks to run to the bank.
- Stewardship planning for the new year. There is something about the week after Christmas and before New Year's that causes us to look back over the previous year and to look forward to and plan for the new year. We make resolutions and commitments to improve one or many areas of our lives in the upcoming year. Online giving gives a family the opportunity to act on their plan for giving for the following year. Recurring giving is especially helpful for this sort of planning.
- Out-of-towners. Finally, there are the people who've moved from your city to another city and haven't found a new church yet. Or, they are out of town visiting family. Either way, online giving makes it easy for them to do some last minute, end of year giving to your church.
What is the value in your church to any one of these scenarios? I often tell people that if online giving provides just $80 extra each month, it has not only paid for itself but become an essential tool for your ongoing stewardship development.