November has arrived, and the start of the holiday season is rapidly drawing near. Within the next few weeks we will be eating turkey with family, chopping down trees, and listening to John Denver & The Muppets: A Christmas Together (ok, you may not be listening to it, but I will).
With December 31 being 58 (or fewer) days away, many churches across the nation are hard at work developing a year end appeal letter to send out to their congregation. This letter takes many different forms depending on the church from which it comes, but the one thing that never changes is that it asks the congregation to remember the church in their end of year giving.
So what should you be including in your end of year letter? When I wrote these letters, I made sure to do three things:
- Cast Vision. Remind people of where you are going, and how you are going to get there. Share stories of life change and the impact that you are having in your community. Remind your community that they are giving to more than an electric bill, they are giving towards expanding God’s Kingdom here on earth. This is one of your best opportunities to paint the picture for where you are headed in 2012… take full advantage of it!
- Say Thank You. Thank your congregation for enabling the church to pursue its’ vision. Recognize the contributions of time, talent, and treasure that your congregation has made towards achieving your vision.
- Remind or Encourage. Make sure that you include a giving statement that is accurate through the third quarter (at minimum). Not only will this allow your members to see where they stand, it will also give you a chance to ensure your records are correct before the year end rush. Some churches will only send these letters to people who have given throughout the course of the year. I would encourage you to send letters to all of your regular attenders. For those attenders who have not given, I would suggest using a slightly modified letter. Instead of a giving statement in this letter, I would suggest an invitation to begin participating in church’s vision through financial generosity.
The end of the year is an exciting time for churches. Families come together and we get to retell the story of our Savior’s birth. In all the hustle and bustle that goes with this season, make sure that you are enabling your church to finish the year well from a financial perspective.
What does YOUR church’s year end letter look like?
Matt Steen loves seeing the church thrive. Currently serving as a Church Concierge with Church Simple, Matt has served as an executive pastor, youth pastor, and planted a church in Baltimore. Matt lives on Long Island with his wife Theresa where he secretly leads a resistance movement against the New York Yankees (this might be the Orioles year… or not). You can follow Matt on twitter (@matt_steen) or at ChurchThought.