Putting the Tools Together for Your Best Summer Giving Ever

Putting the Tools Together for Your Best Summer Giving Ever

You survived another Easter! Congratulations. Now it’s time to get ready for the summer slump in giving that is heading your way. The lack of forward planning is one of the biggest mistakes churches make as they approach the summer months.

My most successful churches implement a summer giving plan every year to fully fund all their missions and ministry initiatives. Why would you not do the same?

I have found two reasons why churches don’t plan ahead to reverse the slump in summer giving.

  • They are too busy dealing with the present that they can’t focus on the future.
  • They don’t know what to do.

My series on summer giving for 2022 has been designed to take care of both issues. This edition of the Coach is entitled Putting the Tools Together for Your Best Summer Giving Ever.

In my last edition of the Coach, I shared the key principles of having the right message or vision. Your vision is the driver, but the best driver in the world is worthless without effective vehicles to drive the vision to those you want to impact. This edition will share the essential tools to effectively launch your summer giving strategy.

Back before COVID-19, we had a captured audience every weekend. With both onsite and virtual engagement, the best strategy is a 24/7 approach to the offering. In the 21st century, we must use multiple tools to achieve success.

What systems should you have in place?

  1. Dynamic website. Your website is the first place most people will visit BEFORE they ever darken your doors. Make yours a good one!
  2. Robust online giving platform, including text giving. You should be working towards most of your giving coming in via digital means. We can help at https://www.onlinegiving.org/.
  3. Social Media platform and presence. Like it or not, social media is where many people spend a great bulk of their time. If you are not there, you miss an opportunity to connect with people.
  4. Postage-paid envelopes. I know this sounds old school, but this can be a great tool if used properly.
  5. Extensive database of your donors. A given is to have all your member’s email addresses. Yet you need also to have the ability to break this list down by various subgroups like first-time givers, consistency, etc.
  6. A mass email platform, such as Constant Contact or MailChimp. There are many platforms to help you send out emails in multiple batches. Some offer free services for a limited number of sends. Most cost only a few dollars a month. Find the tool that suits your church database best.
  7. Offering talks. On-campus or live streaming, it is essential that each offering time has a talk connecting your vision to giving. Take your offering talks to the next level! One thing that you must do is keep changing what you do during the offering.

Ideas to take your summer offerings to the next level – Since even my stellar offering talks can become routine, causing members to tune you out, let me give you some ideas on how to take your talks to the next level.

  • Use Video – Many of my clients already use video loops for announcements. Why not use that approach for the offering? For instance, while you are talking about VBS on the screens, you could be showing shots from last year’s VBS or shots of your kids in action. Non-profits use shots of kids to tug at donors’ hearts. Why do they do that? It works!
  • You could also video the whole offering talk. Today it is so easy to do. Just take your smartphone, point, and click, and you can make your own videos. While the content quality will not rival the networks, what makes it appealing is that it is local. People love to see people they know on video. Show and tell what you are doing, and the offering plate will fill up!
  • Interviews – Even churches without screens or projectors can take their offerings up a notch using the interview process. Let’s take VBS again. A few weeks before you launch VBS, you have your director come to the platform and interview her. Tell her to look at you, not the crowd. Then ask questions about VBS. When is it? How many kids are you expecting? How many of them will come from outside the church? How many decisions do you typically see in VBS? Thank her and then say, “We can hold our VBS only because of your generosity. So, as we focus on today’s offering, I want you to know that your generosity funds VBS, so please give as God directs.” These are two easy ideas of how to better tell your story.
  • Use your offerings for previews, reports, and thanks – My advice is to think through the entire summer. Each week pick one specific mission or ministry endeavor to focus upon. Challenge your team to think of creative and effective ways to tell the story and then ask people to support that work. You can also build an offering talk reporting on the success of missions and ministry initiatives. In the Church, we do a poor job of blowing our horns and praising God for what was accomplished. Let members know how their gifts helped change lives. Then thank them for the fact that their generosity allowed that to happen.

    Start thinking and planning NOW what each of your offering talks will be about, and you will have greater success in being fully funded this summer! See last week’s Bonus Section.

These are the essential tools for implementing the plan I suggest. Having these tools in place will help you with your plan to fully fund your summer, but it will also help throughout the year.

With the right message and the right tools, you can have your best summer giving ever. Let’s get started!

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach

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