Inspiring Generosity

Inspiring Generosity


5 Year-End Tips for Greater Giving

              Hot year-end tips? Yes, please! (Sven Lachman@Pixabay)

I don’t know about you, but I subscribe to way too many things. Every morning when I look at my emails, I face an onslaught of posts that beg me to open them.
They tempt me.
They lure me in.
They look so very interesting.
And then I hit “delete.”

But I just know that you would never do this to Inspiring Generosity, right? Right? Whew. Now I feel better. Self-affirmation (or delusion) is good for the soul.
One of the development blogs that I do try to read frequently is Claire Axelrad’s Clarification. On Monday, she posted 12 Quick Strategies to Boost Year-End Fundraising.
As I was reading Claire’s post, I remembered (thanks to this blog post by Neon One):
-  Nearly one-third of all giving happens in the month of December.
-  12% of that giving happens in the last three days of the year.
-  28% of non-profits raise between 26-50% of their annual funds through their year-end letter
Which got me to thinking:
You’ve written your year-end letter, yes? If you haven’t, fear not because you can simply Steal This Letter: Christmas Edition. Now…
How do you encourage your congregation to go from reading a letter to actually making the effort to write a check or give on line?

1. Pray. I’m not being flip. I believe in the power of prayer. Pray for your people. Pray that their hearts will be open to the amazing work that is being done by your congregation.
2. Make it easy for people to give.
- Include an envelope (addressed to your church) with your year-end letter.
- Direct people to your on-line giving option.
- In a nod to COVID, consider a drive-by Christmas offering so that people can actually see and interact with the pastor (safely, of course). Bonus: Offer a Christmas prayer for those who make the trek.
3. Review your on-line giving (these two ideas are Claire Axelrad hints).
- Make your “Donate” button stand out. Put it in red, make it big. Don’t force people to search for it.
- Don’t clutter your donation page. If the information that you’re requesting isn’t really needed, don’t ask for it. The last thing you want to do is make people feel overwhelmed when they come to your donation page.
4. Remember why you’re asking for a year-end gift.
- Fabulous ministries
- Changed lives
- A tangible way to show someone’s love for God and love for others

5. In addition to God, remember who is making it possible for these ministries to happen (hint…it’s the people in your congregation).
- Direct your message to the person you are writing or talking to – not to the royal “we”
- Say “you” more than you usually do in your writing and when you ask for a gift
- Remind your people that through their gifts they are the ones in ministry, their gifts make ministry happen
And that’s it. This time of year is especially fraught with so many balls in the air. My suggestion? Don’t try to do it all. Select one or two of these tips. See how it goes and let me know all about it. You’ve got this. I believe in you.
But wait! There's more!
1. Steal this Letter! Christmas Edition and my offer to review your Advent/year-end letter is still open. Send your letter to me here.
2. There’s still time to sign up. Julia Frisbie, Associate Director of the Northwest United Methodist Foundation, and I will be doing a webinar, Should You do a Second Pledge Drive? tomorrow, December 10 at 10am (PST), sponsored by PRC – Practical Resources for Churches. You can sign-up right here.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Here’s one of her new favorite blogs: Not All News is Bad!  Some good news for a change. You can reach her at or on Facebook at or at

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Cesie Delve Scheuermann

Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.

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