The following was originally posted at https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/the-seasonal-giving-strategy.
Does your church have a giving strategy? Most churches don’t, so they struggle to be financially stable. They fall behind early in the year and struggle to get through the summer months. The typical church has more missions and ministry in the summer and thus greater expenses. A church’s summer initiatives could be endangered without a good giving strategy. This is why every church needs a giving strategy.
I have been crafting giving strategies for top 100 churches, and churches running 100, for nearly twenty-five years. When it comes to giving strategies, I think seasonally. I believe every church should have a seasonal giving strategy. This is why, with less than one month until Easter, I have been prompting churches to think and plan out their Easter offering.
Easter is a special day for Christians. You will have more people engaging your church both in-person and online than any other day of the year. Why not make the offering on Easter a special offering? Do special offerings work? Yes! If.
In my experience of working with churches of all types and sizes, special offerings work if you do them right. Let me make a case for special offerings.
- Why hold special offerings? First and foremost, special offerings give you the ability to recast your vision every time you hold one. And that is important because dollars follow vision. When casting your vision, I advise using the three C’s of vision. If you make your appeal clear, concise, and most of all compelling, you will raise the dollars you need. We should treat every offering moment as an opportunity to cast your vision, but it is especially true for special offerings. Special offerings help you link how a dollar given to your church impacts lives.
Casting a compelling vision for the offering allows a church to use special offerings to attract new donors. One of my primary goals for special offerings is to help new donors see the value of what your church is doing so that they willingly give you money to support that vision. That first gift can be the start of an amazing journey of generosity.
The final reason for a special offering is that, done right; they can help you close any giving gap you might be experiencing. Instead of talking about how badly you need money, talk about what money given in the offering accomplishes. When you emphasize life-change instead of a number on a spreadsheet, people will more readily give to support that life change.
- What constitutes a special offering? When I talk about special offerings, I am not necessarily talking about adding another offering on a weekend though that is sometimes necessary. I am talking about making your regular offering special. Certain times of the year give us the ability to make the offering special.
- Which days can be used as special offerings? The answer is any day you choose! However, certain days and times of the year make sense. The various seasons of the year are perfect for holding a special offering. For instance…
- Holidays – New Years, Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.
- Special Needs – Think crisis relief offerings, mission appeals, and appeals to fund specific ministries, like summer camps.
- Catch-up offerings – These are a last resort effort and should be used only if you are in a financial crisis. If you do your work every week, your need for a catch-up offering should diminish.
I use the calendar for my clients to write step-by-step guides on improving giving around that time. I call them Playbooks. For every season of the year, I have a strategy in place guiding churches to financial stability. These playbooks are available for free to all OnlineGiving.org clients. For more information, contact OnlineGiving.org today at (615) 206-4000 or email us, and we will tell you more.
- What are the keys to a special offering? Here are some keys to a successful special offering.
- Planning! You can’t decide on Saturday night to hold a special offering on Sunday and expect great results. The more you plan out the special offering, the better your chance for success. Now, our planning must include both in-person and online audiences and provide multiple options by which people can give.
- Vision! The more appealing the appeal, the better the results. Take the time to craft a compelling vision, and you will see greater success.
- Execution! It is not enough to have a plan! You must work that plan through all existing platforms and tell your story.
So, bottom line…
Holding a special offering around key events like Easter, Christmas, or the 4th of July can give your church a boost in giving to fully fund every month of the year. Your church will reap the many benefits of special offerings with good planning!