Do you know how to use the best driver for end of year giving? 28% of all gifts to charities come in December so you better have the right driver!
Golfers know that one of the keys to a great game is picking the right club. When you tee up the golf ball you have to decide what is the right driver to use. Pick the wrong driver and you might be either too short or too long. You can have the correct swing but use the wrong club and miss the score you desire. The right driver is essential to success in golf.
The same is true when it comes to raising funds at the end of the year. Every appeal must have a driver. By a driver I mean some cause that drives me to give money to support your cause. Causes, needs and appeals drive the heart to open up the wallet and make contributions. The wrong use of a driver even if the cause is right can result in a misfire for your ministry. What driver are you using in your appeals?
Here are some thoughts about drivers and how to use them.
Every appeal needs a driver. Awhile back I received two letters in the mail asking for donations. The day before that I received one from my college. Each of these were asking for gifts to meet specific needs. Those communicated needs were the drivers that will either drive me to my wallet in support of them or cause me to throw the appeal away.
The more compelling the driver the more likely you are to get a response. We will only make a few charitable gifts in any given year beyond our regular tithe. Your donors are much the same. We give to those causes that most touch our hearts. Tell your donors why giving to this cause is important and impactful.
Don’t make your driver sound desperate. While this economy has produced some challenges with regards to funding no one wants to support a ship that might be sinking. Be careful not to make your appeal sound overly desperate. Base the appeal on real needs that will make a difference not on your survival.
The easier it is to respond to your driver the more money you will get. Not only must the “Ask” be well thought out and articulated but you must make it easy for people to respond. Include a self addressed envelope in your appeal. Also set up online giving and use email appeals with an embedded link to your giving site.
As we wind down the year I am getting multiple appeals from non-profits to support their cause. A few years back I received two letters asking for gifts. One was from a church announcing that their new lights, which everyone appreciates, cost the church $10K to install. They were asking for a year end gift to cover this expense. The other letter I received came from a ministry that feeds the homeless in my home town of Tulsa. They were asking for funds so that the less deserving families of Tulsa might have a Christmas meal. Which driver would you respond to?
One final thought about appeals. It’s a fact that your donors are selective about what they give to over and above their regular tithes and offerings. I always say that you only have so many bullets in your gun that you can use. Asking for anything is using a bullet in your gun. So, make sure that what you are asking for is something that you cannot fund any other way. No one likes to be continually asked for things even if it’s their church.
Use your driver and your bullets wisely!
Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President, The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions