For Church Geeks like us, January means it's time to send out giving statements. You could send out the familiar "thank you and here's what happened last year" cover letter that you print, stuff in an envelope, seal, stamp and mail. But, it's 2020 and there are some creative things you can do to spice it up this year. Here are some thoughts on how to salt your giving statement content and pepper your process.
SALT YOUR CONTENT. Specifically here I'm thinking about the content of the cover letter.
- Thank you. Hopefully, this isn't the only time you'll thank donors in the year, but it is an important time. Many churches also say thank you when families give the first time, the second time and everyone quarterly. We can help you with all of these.
- Look back. Typically this is a bullet point list of everything you did this past year. You likely did something similar to this in your push for year end giving. Maybe you're even planning on using this information in a "State of the Church" message coming up. So, for statements, what about either leaving this part of the letter out or do something more eye-catching.
- New year giving goal. Typically people are setting goals and looking ahead in January, but I hardly ever see a giving statement cover letter speak to this. Why not keep the look back really simple (or get rid of it) and focus instead on looking ahead by encouraging people to think about their giving goals for 2020. Then include instructions and a link in your cover letter or email to download their statement and set up their recurring giving for the new year! By doing this, they will ensure that they accomplish at least one of their goals this year.
PEPPER YOUR PROCESS. Here's what I always recommend for our clients:
- Briefing. As a refresher, join our team for a Sending Statements Briefing. We are doing three this year starting tomorrow. This is where you'll learn more details, options and address common questions.
- Pre-statement email. As early as possible in January send out an email filtered by people who have given this year (under filters choose Contributions / Total Contributions amount 1 to 200,000 then run). Make it really short wishing them a Happy New Year and telling them the date you plan to email statements. If you want remind them they can login to their online giving account and download their statement anytime. This does two things: 1) helps most attentive givers know when to expect to get their statement instead of calling you, and 2) allows you to run an Email History report to identify and later fix bad email addresses (Communicate / Email Settings / Email History - put in subject line of the email and choose Failed). Give yourself a week or ten days to fix these.
- Bulletin communication. Tell people when you will be emailing statements and remind them that they can download their statement anytime by logging into their online giving account. Provide your Text-to-Church phone and tell them to text the word "login".
- Email statements. On the day you promised, copy the content from your pastor that you want to include in the email. You have two options for sending these. (1) For a general email that doesn't merge people's names into the email (i.e. Dear Friends) click Reports / Financial / Contributions statements. Choose the email option and paste in the email. (2) Or, new this year, to personalize emails with a merge tag (i.e. Dear Boyd and Pam Pelley) click Settings / Giving / Other Options. In the Statement Options section you will be able to paste the email content and more into NED, our more advance email editor.
- Print statements for those without emails. You do this by running the Contribution Statement report again but choose to send via double window envelope. There's a checkbox to not include those who will get emailed statements.
If you are looking for church software this year, let us be part of that conversation. For us the 2010s was a decade of development. We are now competitive with anyone in the church management system market and leading the way in many feature and support areas.
If you are a client already, take advantage of the briefings and webinars we offer to get and stay up to speed on what's possible these days with software designed for disciple-making and team-building.
Together, let's make the 2020s the decade of discipleship.