We’ve talked about how difficult this time of year can be for pastors and church leaders. It’s time for communications to go out to your givers encouraging them to support your ministry with a year-end gift. Support from these regular and sporadic givers is crucial, but it can be a challenge to prioritize maintaining donor relationships and improving them.
As you’re in the middle of year-end activities, take a few moments to think about how you’re communicating with your donors today and how you can better communicate with them in 2017. There is always room for improvement in this area.
Here are several great ideas from our bookkeepers and church clients about improving your relationships with donors, while helping streamline your bookkeeping and financial processes at the same time:
- Clean things up. It’s a busy time, but carve out the necessary hours to clean up your donor records as soon as possible. If you don’t get all of this information in order, the year-end processes and donor receipt distribution coming in a few weeks will be much more difficult. Once you’ve cleaned up those records, keep them up-to-date from now on.
- Get with the times. Online giving is now a pretty standard option, so make sure you are encouraging your congregation to take advantage of it. For everyone, it’s a faster, simpler, more efficient way to collect tithes and offerings. It’s also a good idea to test your online giving process as if you’re a first-time contributor to make sure the process makes sense to new donors. Consider solutions like PushPay (our preferred online giving provider) for online giving.
- Make money handling clear. If you don’t already have one, create and distribute a money handling policy that outlines how your staff and volunteers will handle the cash and checks collected each week. The more your donors see the responsible way you handle their donations, the more likely they are to trust you with future gifts.
- Account for seemingly hidden costs. Whatever giving solutions you choose, remember that there’s always a cost for handling any kind of donation. Even cash requires someone to secure it, count it and deposit it. Make sure you’re tracking and accounting for the costs associated with collecting donations, regardless of the method.
We hope you’ll have time to think about some of the things mentioned above — if not now before the end of the year, then soon after the new year begins. They will make a huge difference in your next go-round of year-end giving.