Why do pastors hate snow? Perhaps I should ask why do pastors hate snow on the weekends. Immediately you know the answer. Snow means less people will attend. The fewer you have in your services the less money will be in the offering plate! Missed offerings rarely if ever are made up, unless you are one of my clients!
This week one of my clients called to say it looked like their services might be impacted by a huge snow storm. The pastor knew we needed a plan in place. He remembered that a few years back when the same thing happened we built a plan of action that resulted in not only making up the lost offering that Sunday but bringing even more dollars!
Key Steps for Bad Weather Week Ends – Follow these steps to ensure offering success despite bad weather.
1. Develop a plan of action for bad weather ahead of time. The first step is to simply think through a strategy ahead of time. Planning now will allow you to implement a strategy that is effective.
2. Set up online giving through your churches web site. Americans are used to online commerce and use it regularly. Your church needs an online giving platform!
3. Update your data base to include email addresses and cell phone numbers. Since weather happens so fast email and even text messaging are the best way to contact donors at the last minute. Make sure you have the key data needed to communicate with your base quickly.
4. Write your appeal letter ahead of time and have it ready at a moment’s notice. I recommend that the letter be written and printed and sitting on the shelf ready to mail. The letter can essentially be the same as the email appeal. While there is a lot of buzz about online giving you need to realize that the majority of funds come through the old fashion way, the U.S. mail. Remember their motto is, “Neither rain, sleet or snow will stop the U.S. Mail.”
5. Order offering envelopes with a pre-printed postage paid stamp NOW. Utilizing envelopes like this means that you only pay postage if it is mailed back to you. Ordering them now means you have them on hand ready to use in case of bad weather. Even if you catch a break and the snow flies early in the week you can always use the envelopes for other mailings. Every snow strategy should employ both electronic and regular mail appeals.
6. Watch the weather forecast for the weekend. While we like to joke about the weather man being inaccurate more often than not they hit it right on the head. Our current technology gives you a fair warning of impending bad weather. So, if the forecast is for snow over the weekend I can get my appeal letter in the mail on Friday.
7. When bad weather comes execute your plan! Someone on staff makes the call about whether you will be open when bad weather strikes. Who will make the call about the makeup offering strategy? As I mentioned above don’t wait until after the fact act.
One final word about executing your plan. Don’t rely upon one method of appeal. I would always follow up an email appeal with a direct mail appeal. Redundancy is often the key to getting a response.
Does it work? Ask my friend Pastor Jimmy Washington of Phillips Temple in Dayton, OH and he will tell you it does. A few years ago bad weather one Sunday kept his attendance at an all time low. We sent out an appeal letter the first of the week after that Sunday. The result was thousands of dollars came in that more than made up for the loss of offering from the previous Sunday. This allowed ministry to continue unabated despite the poor attendance. His story could be your story. For some of you it is not if it snows but when it snows. Prepare now for that event by implementing these seven easy steps.
Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President, The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions
Need online giving? My company Charis Giving Solutions can have you up and running before the end of the year. For more information go to http://charisgivingsolutions.com/