A Winning Fourth Quarter Plan for Giving

A Winning Fourth Quarter Plan for Giving

Last weekend, football teams across America, from the Peewee ranks to the NFL, had players at the start of the fourth quarter raise their hands extending four fingers. Why? It’s a reminder to their team that games are won and lost during the fourth quarter. It’s a symbol asking everyone to give their all for the last quarter because victory is on the line.

Winning coaches know the importance of the fourth quarter, and they plan ahead of time. Most teams have what is called The Two Minute Drill. It is a preset arrangement of plays designed to position the team for a last-minute, or sometimes last-second, win.

As your Stewardship Coach, I want to help you create and execute a winning plan for your end-of-year giving. This Coach is entitled A Winning Fourth Quarter Plan for Giving.

Let me start by establishing why an end-of-year giving plan is crucial for your financial success. Consider that…

  • 30% of annual giving occurs in December.
  • 10% of annual giving occurs on the last 3 days of the year.

A good fourth-quarter plan can help you end the current year on a strong note and set you up for financial stability in January, the second worst-giving month of your year. Here are a few things that I have observed winning coaches do to win in the fourth quarter.

Winning coaches don’t wait until the last minutes of a game to devise a plan of action. They have their plan in place ahead of time. If you don’t have a plan, you are planning on failure. The keyword in the second sentence of this paragraph is ahead. As I always say, you can’t wait until Saturday to start planning. I start focusing on end-of-year giving around September of every year. If you have not started planning, use this Coach to help get you and your team on track. For an overview of a 4th quarter plan of action, see my Bonus Section.

Increasing end-of-year giving doesn’t just happen. You must plan for success. What are your plans?

A simple plan of action for increasing end-of-year giving – Here are the key steps you need to take immediately to see your giving increase in the next few weeks.

First, build the “ask” around what motivates people to give to the church, missions, and ministry! Your appeal, or “ask,” must motivate people to give. So, make it about more than simply making the budget. Tell them why making the budget is important. Every “ask” needs a driver. A driver is the motivation that gets me to dip into my pocket and give you more money.

Secondly, write the appeal using regular mail and e-mail to tell your story. Make sure you start with a gripping paragraph about why people should give. Here is an example from several years ago I wrote for a client making their end-of-year appeal revolve around mission support…

Babies Still at Risk in Typhoon Recovery was the headline that got my attention on Saturday morning. Then I read the heartbreaking words of a father who said, “My children are having a lack of milk because there are no supplies.” While the news cycle has moved on to other issues, people still struggle with basic needs in the Philippines. What could our church family do was my thought?

Think of a compelling reason for giving or simply telling what you have accomplished this year.

Finally, get the message out there! When consulting with churches, I advise them to use every platform they have to link people to the end-of-year appeal. Make the “asks” positive, not desperate, and people will respond.

One final “ask” on December 31st could make the difference. Send an email to your entire donor base asking them to contribute to your missions and ministry. Studies have shown that the window of opportunity for email appeals is between 2 PM and 7 PM. This year, December 31st is on a Sunday. Most of your members will have the next day off, so you are faced with a three-day holiday weekend, which is always difficult on the offering. A well-crafted email with a link to your online giving page will help negate the attendance and engagement hit you will face on December 31st.

Does a December 31st email appeal work? Here is a quote from a pastor who read one of my blogs on end-of-year giving, “I followed your advice and sent out a final email appeal on December 31st, and we received over $15K in online gifts in less than 24 hours!” That additional $15K allowed that church to start its New Year with a positive cash flow. Would you like to see similar results? Then start planning now your winning fourth-quarter plan for giving.

Get my end-of-year playbook, The 2 Minute Drill: A Winning Plan of Action for End-of-Year Giving. This playbook lays out a comprehensive plan of action that will produce results. To get your 2023 copy, go to: https://acts17generosity.com/shop/the-2-minute-drill/

It’s the fourth quarter and, with a compelling vision and an effective plan, you can end your year strong and set the pace for a great start to the New Year. Let’s get started NOW!

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach

Missions and Ministry Moment (aka Offering Talk) – This week’s talk can be accessed after you register at: http://acts17generosity.com/simple-file-list/Offering-Talks/2023-53-Talks-for-53-Sundays/October-15th-Let-Pray-FOR-the-Offering.pdf

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