Overcoming Your Summer Slump in Giving

Overcoming Your Summer Slump in Giving

It’s time to build out your come-from-behind strategy! I wrote the following post for my sponsor, OnlineGiving.org. It can be found at https://www.onlinegiving.org/blog.

I don’t know where you live, but here in Oklahoma, it is HOT! I’m ready for summer to be over and for cooler weather. Do you know who else is ready for summer to be over? Your church treasurer. Why is that? Because summer is the busiest time of the year, producing the biggest drain on your revenue while simultaneously being one of the most challenging times for giving.

Right now, the typical church is struggling to meet its budget needs hoping that the return of school will mean the return of people and, thus, an increase in giving. Hope is never a good strategy. For the last few years, I have put together an end-of-summer plan for my clients, allowing them to make up lost giving ground and thus set the stage for a successful fall and close of the year in giving. That plan culminates on the traditional last weekend of summer, Labor Day.

Three-day weekends are typically more challenging, which is one reason I stress a strategy to offset those times. However, in my experience, Labor Day was usually better attended because most schools are already back in session, which increased weekend attendance. That same strategy will work for any special offering dedicated to increasing giving.

Here is an overview of a plan of action for a special offering:

  • Craft the vision of the appeal weeks before you make the appeal. Check out my last post on how to use your vision to increase giving.  https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/using-the-power-of-vision
  • Communicate ahead of time with your leadership. Why? Their gifts will drive the success of your offering! I recommend a short email announcing the special offering and asking for their support and prayers.
  • Two weeks from the offering, show the ministry’s impact on the area of need across all your communication platforms. Show your story!
  • One week out, start a more direct appeal through social media. Set it up through your online giving platform. With a 24/7 offering strategy, you can begin the offering at any time, not merely on the weekends. Here is another post with ideas on how to utilize social media.  https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/should-your-church-use-social-media
  • Two Sundays from the offering, begin announcing the special offering for Labor Day from the platform. I teach my clients to set up their offering times, showing how gifts to your church make an impact for eternity.
  • Send a series of direct mail appeals the week before the special offering and continue through the day after the special offering. Here is a post on best practices for email appeals, https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/tech-for-telling-stories-of-life-change.
  • Take up the offering with boldness! In two minutes or less, craft an offering talk that gives a positive take on the need your offering will meet. Here is a post sharing how to use your offering times to increase giving awareness, https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/funding-the-vision-starts-with-the-offering
  • Thank those who gave to the special offering and update its results and impact. Thanking your donors paves the way for the next “ask.” Check out this post on the power of saying thank you, https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/the-power-of-saying-thank-you.

Adjust and adapt the above recommendations based on your culture and context, personalizing the message, and you will see maximum results.

When it comes to special offerings, I have two main objectives in mind. First, I want to increase giving by at least the equivalent of one week’s offering. Next, I want to add new donors who, motivated by your vision, can become regular donors to that vision. With this strategy in mind, you can make up lost ground in the present but also sow seeds for the future, thus avoiding declines in the future.

Let me end with two recommendations. First, the best way to stay caught up during the summer is by staying caught up. How can you accomplish this? One key strategy is encouraging your members to sign up for recurring giving. By setting up giving to be automated, your member’s offering is never missed or late due to their being on vacation. Here is a post on summer proofing your offerings through recurring giving, https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/summer-proof-your-generosity.

Finally, when you get behind, act sooner rather than later to close any giving gap you are experiencing. How can you accomplish this? With members scattered and attendance still not back to normal, you must take the message to where they are, and our platform, systems, and tools allow you to reach your members wherever they are. With our platform, your offering plate is open twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year. To learn more about how we can help you overcome your summer slump, contact us at (615) 206-4000 or support@onlinegiving.org. Summer is almost over, and we can help you get back on track in time for a great fall season.

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