How to Talk About Money and Generosity at Church

Just how do you encourage generosity in your church community?

Many pastors shy away from talking about money – for a variety of concerns.

But there must be ways to do it well in a life-serving and impactful way.

Justin and Wade from MinistryPass.com talk about the important topic of generosity at church.

I’d love to hear your response to what they have to say in this video discussion.

10 Tips for #GivingTuesday

10 Tips for #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is the day when nonprofits all over the world unite together to mark this day for generosity and extending help to various causes. However, asking for money is often easier said than done. To keep the spirit of #GivingTuesday alive, Generosity Labs listed a few giving tips for you to inspire your target donors to donate to your cause.

Tip #1: Ask donors to imagine themselves as a person in need.

When you ask your donors to put themselves in other people’s shoes, this helps them to sympathize with the woes of those in need. 

Tip #2: Diversify your call to action.

Don’t just stick to a single message. Know how you can tap other sub-groups of your target audience with a different call to action. This way, you’ll be able to grow your community. 

Tip #3: Raise money, not just for your church, but to #GivingTuesday.

Create a culture of giving by bringing awareness to #GivingTuesday as a whole. This embeds the importance of dedicating time to give into people’s minds.

Tip #4: Use #GivingTuesday as a launch point for your year-end strategy.

Make sure you time your campaign. With #GivingTuesday held during the end of November, this gives you an opening to launch your year-end strategy.  

Tip #5: Identify projects at the church, local, and global levels.

Identify a project that is inside your church. Then, name a project that’s inside of your building, but at the same time, is also outside of your community. And then name a project that’s global. This will provide perspective and focus for donors.

Tip #6: Challenge donors to give prayerfully.

Inspire your donors to give from the heart and to give what they believe the Lord wants them to give. This often makes each donation more meaningful and fulfilling. 

Tip #7: Encourage small donation amounts.

No need for people to give huge amounts of cash, a little often goes a long way.

Download the free eBook that we have created for you with these 10 Tips for #GivingTuesday – we have also included great examples of Giving Tuesday campaigns that have been successful in the eBook!

Tip #8: Partner with other like-minded organizations.

As people often say, “The more the merrier.” This is the perfect time to join the overall NGO community in recognizing a day that celebrates the act of giving. 

Tip #9: Take advantage of the increased generosity of Americans.

With the increase in giving year over year since 2015, charitable giving has been on the rise and this is the perfect time to encourage people to continue, or begin giving.

Tip #10: Make Giving Tuesday a platform for first time donors.

If this will be the first time for some of your donors to give, feel free to inspire them to participate during Giving Tuesday. 

We hope some of these Giving Tuesday tips will help you to inspire your target donors to give. If you’d like to know how you can cultivate a culture of generosity, please check out GenerosityLabs.org to discover more best practices.

5 Alternative Payment Methods for Your Donors

5 Alternative Payment Methods for Your Donors

In a society where we reach for the plastic to pay for the $2 cup of coffee, it’s safe to say there isn’t much cash for the church offering plate. Has your organization or church joined thousands of others and offered your attendees an easier way to partner with your ministry?

Check out the options below, and give your supporters the easiest option for donating.

5 Alternative Payment Methods for Your Donors

Apple Pay

Apply Pay provides church organizations a secure way to accept donations from within their app and website. Similar to using ApplyPay to buy goods and services, users can easily donate.  

Amazon Pay 

Churches and other charitable organizations that register with Amazon Pay have the option to allow donations by voice using Alexa devices and directly on your website using a “Donate with Amazon” button. 

Zelle 

If your church, and donors, use a bank that connects with Zelle, the donation process can be completed using the mobile Zelle app simply by sending to a phone number or email address associated with the church’s account.   

Cash App

Among the simplest forms of receiving and sending cash is Cash App. Available on both the iOS app and Google Play store, the cash App allows for simple transactions using Cash App names and connecting to any bank account. 

Download the ebook we created for you with these 5 Alternative Payment Methods for Your Donors. 

Google Wallet

Google Wallet allows for churches to quickly and easily accept donations on your website (mobile friendly, we hope!). Churches can sign up for a  merchant account and identify as a non-profit. Once completed, a button is provided and can be added to your site. 

Your attendees want to partner with you in ministry. Make it easy for them. As cell phones remain a constant companion, adopt one of these options for mobile app payments and expand your ministry’s reach. 

Learn more about the state of giving at GenerosityLabs.org.

10 Tips for Gauging Donor Activity

10 Tips for Gauging Donor Activity

Focusing on the stewardship of your donors is a fundraising best practice. By properly stewarding your followers and donors, you provide more opportunities for investment and create a positive experience for your givers. 

Follow our steps today for assessing the activity of your givers.

10 TIPS FOR GAUGING DONOR ACTIVITY

1. Review your giving and donor actual vs. budget REGULARLY.

How often do you spend time diligently reviewing giving actuals vs. what was budgeted? Engage in this activity regularly and you’ll know whether or not you’re ahead of or behind the game. 

2. Review your goals quarterly and ensure they are SMART. 

The specific, measurable, attainable, what’s the R Relevant and Timely! Right? You should diligently and consistently apply these to your fundraising goals. 

3. Don’t be afraid to revisit and revise your goals. 

If your organization undergoes changes, which they may throughout the course of the year, revising your goals should be a part of your regular review process. It’s important not to change your goals too often, however if your goals no longer seem relevant or realistic, it may be time to revise. 

4. Review your expenses regularly.

Again, the key here is REGULARLY. You should be looking at how you are doing in terms of realistic assumptions about your budget spending. So many times at the end of the year organizations, both on the marketplace and ministry side, are rushing to spend when there are line items where there’s overflow.

Download the ebook we created for you with these 10 Tips for Gauging Donor Activity.  

5. Maintain and review your engagement levels during peak seasons and non-peak seasons. 

Anytime is a great time to make sure that you are engaging donors. Typically you may engage during giving season but engaging during a non-peak season will help maintain consistency with donors.

6. Connect with high capacity donors differently.

This may seem like a non-starter, but in reality you should be analyzing and connecting with high capacity donors differently. Are you sharing their impact with them? If not, share it with them to increase and maintain engagement levels. 

7. Assess your ROI and impact and share with your community.

What is the donor’s return on investment? Donors of all levels care about their impact. You should regularly give your community a realistic assessment of where the money is going and why its made an impact; or what type of impact would be made with additional donations. This can encourage donors without the ask. 

8. Assess your messaging and gauge your donors. 

As you start to focus on your communication with donors, whether it be to ask for donations, or to share their impact you should assess your messaging and pay attention to your engagement levels. From here tweak your messaging to maximize your impact.

Learn more about nonprofit giving trends and discover the demographics that are talking about generosity in your community on the Generosity Labs blog.

9. Quarterly, assess your first time donors vs. repeat donors.

Understanding the regularity of donations by categorizing your donors can allow for targeting communication. Your messaging can now be tailored for first time givers vs. repeat donors. Stay strategic and you’ll be able to make better communication decisions.

10. Compare and understand your repeat donor retention rate.

To expand further on #9, you’ve got to understand the retention rate of your donors. From here, you can better understand what motivates donors, donation and donor trends and crate additional streams of communication.

When you follow these steps to gauge the activity of your donor base, you can better communicate with and nurture your givers, finding new ways to motivate them to further invest in your worthy cause. 

Get our free ebook with these 10 Tips for Gauging Donor Activity.

_____________

Keep up with the latest on giving and generosity on the Generosity Labs podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio or YouTube. 

Generosity Labs Podcast // Non-Profit Giving Stats 2019

Generosity Labs Podcast // Non-Profit Giving Stats 2019


In today’s podcast episode of Generosity Labs, our host Kenny Jahng will talk about the giving statistics of 2019. As we are already halfway through the year 2019, Kenny will share the numbers about tithing and anything that involves giving to churches and non-profit organizations.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hello friends, it is Kenny Jahng here with the Generosity Labs podcast. We haven’t checked in a while, and I thought it’d be good to do a baseline checking here now, one half of the way to 2020. We basically have 25 weeks left until Christmas. Can you believe it? 25 weeks. And this is the time to start thinking about the end of year giving for your church or ministry, nonprofit, et cetera.

This is the time to start that planning because you have a countdown of 25 to 30 weeks. Actually, sorry. 25 to 26 weeks until the end of the year, the last week, the last 72 hours, the last 24 hours. You know that whole breakdown of giving that most of giving is done in queue for … Most of the queue for giving is done in December and now it’s expanding between giving Tuesday. Sometimes it’s in November, sometimes it’s December. From Giving Tuesday, which marks the beginning of the end of your giving season officially, straight till the end of the year.

The last remaining hours of December 31st is where you need to continue to push, push, push and try to help your audience and community members close that gap between their intended giving profile and what they believe that their giving history is going to look like and their actual behavior.

And so today I thought it might be a good check in to just have a dose of reality and say, “Let’s look at what else is going on out there.” And that that should frame the conversation for you and your teams internally. And one of the places I found was this nonprofit source, a website that has a whole list of statistics, not for 2019 but for this past year. And so we can take a look at giving stats and trends, not just for church, but just nonprofits in general. And also the demographics that are really talking about generosity in your community.

So the first stat right off the bat is that giving is up. Americans gave $410 billion to charities in 2017, up 5%. So we’ll have to see this year, the recession hasn’t hit yet. We don’t know what’s going to happen in Trumponomics at the end of the year, but it looks like there should be a continued either sustain or continue to have some momentum in giving.

And so here’s a couple of things. On the right-hand side of the website that I’m looking at, nonprofitsource.com, they have some charitable giving demographic stats, and I’d just love to cover some of that. Millennials, who used to be the definition of Millennials are anyone under 30 that you don’t like working with. But Millennials are now way over 30 years old. They encompass almost 26% of the population. This is a significant chunk that you need to be paying attention to.

If you’re in charge of fundraising, donor development, giving in your church, 40% of Millennials are actually enrolled in a monthly giving program. Recurring giving is not a foreign concept to this tribe, and so this is something that you really need to think about. 26% gave tribute gifts. This is something that you typically don’t see in church giving being presented as an option, but this might be something that you think about and figure how do you incorporate into that giving menu as you go March to the end of the year.

46% donated to crowdfunding campaigns. Now, this is interesting. Giving Tuesday, which has had momentum every single year, it has continued to grow. Giving Tuesday follows Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday follows Black Friday, Black Friday follows Thanksgiving. And so 15% of Millennials actually gave on Giving Tuesday. You’ll find that on the other demographics here, Gen Xers, 14% gave on Giving Tuesday. Baby boomers, 15% gave on Giving Tuesday.

So that’s something even the population after that, actually this study doesn’t have how much of the greatest generation has given on Giving Tuesday, but 15% of the population for the bulk of the people in your pews have given on Giving Tuesday. This is why Giving Tuesday is so important in any fundraising campaigns for the end of the year.

Now, this is interesting. Now Millennials are giving through social media. 16% gave through Facebook’s fundraising tool, which evidently has removed all fees so that you get 100% of the fees … Sorry, 100% of the donation given online. Facebook is covering the rest and they’re going to add fuel to the fire this year by giving you more options for that. You got to remember Instagram has also added a sticker for giving as well. So social media is something that you guys should be thinking about. Now, 55% attended fundraising events. I don’t think many churches have fundraising events for giving, whether it is the end of the year or not.

This is something, again, another tactic that you should put into the consideration set, because this is something that other charities, other places where they depend on patrons, are actually doing. This is a behavior that they are used to and it’s something that you as, I guess, a church … that is looking to really disciple your people into having giving behavior to support the local church and the ministry. This is something that you should look into for sure. Fundraising events.

Now, 11% of the total U.S. giving comes from Millennials, while 25% of the population, 26% of the population are Millennials. So there is a way to go to proportionally match how many people are in the room, but you need to focus on this. Now, this is really interesting. 84% of Millennials gave to charity, donating an annual average of $481 a year, $481 a year, across 3.3 organizations.

This generation is thinking of giving in terms of a portfolio. They are not taking one affinity group and putting all their eggs in one basket. They’re trying to make the best decision to steward their disposable income and they’re spreading it out over several organizations. Millennials are active on their phones and they respond best to text messages and social media, but rarely check personal email and voicemails.

Are you using text to give? Are you using online and mobile app giving? These are things that this generation absolutely requires and so many churches have not stepped up to offer those options. Gen Xers, 20% of the population, so the Gen Xers are actually smaller than the Millennials that are stepping up. And 49% of the 50% of them, pretty much half of them, have enrolled in some sort of recurring giving. They are a lot more trusting, I guess, or they’ve put into motion that recurring giving behavior.

Whereas if you remember, 40% of millennial donors are in recurring giving programs. So that’s an interesting change. Again, 14% of gen Xers gave on Giving Tuesday, 19% have used the Facebook fundraising tools. If you think that these older generations are not used to giving through Facebook, look at baby boomers, actually more. 21% give through Facebook fundraising tools, 21%. So one in five, more than one in five actually. And so if you’re thinking older populations and saying, “Hey, technology and all this brouhaha about social media is not working.” Well, I’ll tell you, these stats prove you wrong.

Now, traditional old school, 58% attended fundraising events in the boomer category and 56 in the gen Xers. So these populations are used to fundraising events, benefits, galas, fundraisers. They really want to participate and be a part of something instead of just … I was going to say write a check, but it’s really give on their mobile phone, whether it be Venmo or online giving or text to give, et cetera.

So these are statistics that I think you really, really have to think about. Now, boomers are the ones that give a lot more money than Millennials. 72% of boomers give to charity. That means the majority of them have some sort of charitable behavior and they’re donating an average of $1,212 across 4.5 organizations. That’s a lot. These baby boomers are really thinking about where they’re giving and they’re giving across a portfolio more than all the others.

So this is something that you have to think about. How do you become part of that 4.5? and how do you increase the giving from 1200 a year, even earlier? So the greatest generation, which is only about 11.8% of the population, these are aging donors. 30% of the donors aged 75 or more, so that they’ve given online in the past 12 months. And on average give 25% more frequently than younger generations.

Again, we write off the 75-plus category typically, especially when I’m speaking to groups and crowds. I was just at a conference in Florida where the majority of the church leaders there said that their congregations were 60 and over, maybe 70 and older for many of them. And they were all poo-pooing the idea that we could use social media technology, online giving, mobile app giving for that demographic.

And yet here, the greatest generation, which is that older population, 30% of donors age 75%, so they’ve given online in the past 12 months. They’ve given online and they give even more. So you want to make it as easy as possible for them to give online if they’re going to. 88% of them, 88% of the greatest generation donates an average of 1367. 1,367, and they give to even more organizations, 6.2 organizations. And they represent over a quarter of all giving in the United States.

Now, this is a flip to the Millennials. Millennials had about 25% of the population. They had about 11, 12% of giving here. The greatest generation is about 11.8% of the population, 12% and they’re giving a quarter of all U.S. giving. Now, they prefer voicemails and direct mail. Obviously, they’re not huge on email and they typically will text, but they are likely to give through mail campaigns and in-person things.

And so that’s an overview of just nonprofit giving. In terms of actual church giving, we can talk about travel giving churches very specifically, and in this study, they’ve defined giving to religion defined specifically as congregations, denominations, ministry societies, religious media. And obviously, you probably have known that this category of giving, religious giving, is the single largest category of charitable giving for Americans. We’ll see how long that stays put like that, but that is something that you have to think of.

Now, here’s a very interesting statistic that just amazes me because there are people in churches that still have not embraced online giving or credit card giving, in particular. And yet, 49% of all churches, 49% of all church-giving transactions are made with a card. Almost half of all giving to a church across the country is made with a credit card. And eight out of 10 people who give to churches have zero credit card debt.

All those Dave Ramsey people that are worried that you’re sinking your people into deeper debt and misery. This is an interesting statistic, 80% of the people who actually give to churches have zero credit card debt. They are managing their finances well and giving by credit card, then for eight out of 10 of them is scot-free. They’re actually probably getting some mileage or points or some other benefit. It’s a win-win and it actually helps them probably give larger on an individual basis. 60% are willing to give to churches digitally.

And let’s look at some other stats here. This is really interesting. During the Great Depression, the average Christian gave 3.3% of their annual income, and today it’s about 2.5% of the income. So if you’re trying to figure out for your congregation how much giving you should be, just to have a baseline, figure out in general an average. And you can get this demographics for your zip codes, all this demographic information is the average income for zip codes, et cetera. And then you can figure out what the average income is multiplied by your congregation number, and multiply by 2.5% and see where you are. Obviously that’s much lower than it should be and it could be, but this is a starting point where you should have a baseline.

So now, if you look at those that actually give regularly, not just recurring giving, but regularly, 70% of Americans say that they tithe regularly. And so this is something that if your congregation is less than 20% are giving regularly, then this is something that you really need to talk about internally to figure out how you can change, not just their behavior, but their thinking through teaching.

Because giving is a spiritual discipline. Money is talked about in the Bible more than any other subject by Jesus. It’s something that Biblically you can help give structure and a Biblical worldview to help them understand how to steward their finances. And this is something that we want to build a culture of generosity, not one of obligation.

So what are the things that we can talk about? 30% of annual giving occurs in December for everybody. 10% of annual giving occurs in the last three days of the year. So we should not give up until the last, last … Almost it’s like when you’re watching Times Square and the ball drop, you should be thinking about, “How do we spur that last drop of giving?” Because people are willing to give all the way up to the last hours of the year.

77% believe everyone can make a difference by supporting causes and it’s your job to help them understand that yes, they can and this is why it’s worthy and this is where the active transformation is happening. Remember, as communicators, as stewards, as leaders, our job is to help put the donors, the givers as close as possible to the act of transformation, possible. And here’s a couple of interesting tidbits.

64% of the donation made by women. I would think that many communicators would default to the image of the men making the decision, or the breadwinner making the decision and making the assumption that the man in a dual income family makes more money than the woman. But yet, donations are made by women. And so you might want to think about how you are presenting that information. Everything down to the type of images and stock photography or real photography that you might use, the language, and even the outlets of how to make the announcements through, through which groups or which channels in your ministry.

These are the types of things that you should be thinking about, because the behavior of the decision dictates the outcome of the actual giving decisions. So here’s just a whole bunch of stats that came out of this list of aggregation of giving statistics for this past year.

Remember, we have 25 weeks left going into the end of this year. I just want to set the tone. And in the next couple of weeks, what we’ll do is we’ll go through some other ways to frame how we’re supposed to be marching forward as we count down for the end of year, for 2019. I’d love to hear your thoughts. What are some of the statistics that stood out or the things that are missing? Are there things that you would love to know more about that would help you make those business decisions in architecting those campaigns?

Whether it be short-term missions, budgetary, or end of year giving for either Giving Tuesday as the kickoff or even the actual December, you might have a Christmas campaign. Those are the types of things. Let me know what your questions are. Send them into us at Generosity Labs and we’ll actually process through them with you on another episode here at the Generosity Labs podcast.

In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of the podcast as well as other resources. We’d love to share our blog with you and some other things that we are going to make available in the next couple of weeks and months as downloadable resources, so that you can have the best year ever in terms of setting a culture of generosity for your church. I’m Kenny Jahng. Until next time, remember generosity begins with you.

HIGHLIGHTS:

02:22 And so today I thought it might be a good check in to just have a dose of reality and say, “Let’s look at what else is going on out there.” And that that should frame the conversation for you and your teams internally. And one of the places I found was this nonprofit source, a website that has a whole list of statistics, not for 2019 but for this past year. And so we can take a look at giving stats and trends, not just for the church, but just nonprofits in general. And also the demographics that are really talking about generosity in your community.

So the first stat right off the bat is that giving it up. Americans gave $410 billion to charities in 2017, up 5%. So we’ll have to see this year, the recession hasn’t hit yet. We don’t know what’s going to happen in Trumponomics at the end of the year, but it looks like there should be a continued either sustain or continue to have some momentum in giving.

04:28 46% donated to crowdfunding campaigns. Now, this is interesting. Giving Tuesday, which has had momentum every single year, it has continued to grow. Giving Tuesday follows Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday follows Black Friday, Black Friday follows Thanksgiving. And so 15% of Millennials actually gave on Giving Tuesday. You’ll find that on the other demographics here, Gen Xers, 14% gave on Giving Tuesday. Baby boomers, 15% gave on Giving Tuesday.

So that’s something even the population after that, actually this study doesn’t have how much of the greatest generation has given on Giving Tuesday, but 15% of the population for the bulk of the people in your pews have given on Giving Tuesday. This is why Giving Tuesday is so important in any fundraising campaigns for the end of the year.

Now, this is interesting. Now Millennials are giving through social media. 16% gave through Facebook’s fundraising tool, which evidently has removed all fees so that you get 100% of the fees … Sorry, 100% of the donation given online. Facebook is covering the rest and they’re going to add fuel to the fire this year by giving you more options for that. You got to remember Instagram has also added a sticker forgiving as well. So social media is something that you guys should be thinking about. Now, 55% attended fundraising events. I don’t think many churches have fundraising events for giving, whether it is the end of the year or not.

This is something, again, another tactic that you should put into the consideration set because this is something that other charities, other places where they depend on patrons, are actually doing. This is a behavior that they are used to and it’s something that you as, I guess, a church … that is looking to really disciple your people into having giving behavior to support the local church and the ministry. This is something that you should look into for sure. Fundraising events.

Now, 11% of the total U.S. giving comes from Millennials, while 25% of the population, 26% of the population are Millennials. So there is a way to go to proportionally match how many people are in the room, but you need to focus on this. Now, this is really interesting. 84% of Millennials gave to charity, donating an annual average of $481 a year, $481 a year, across 3.3 organizations.

09:39 So these are statistics that I think you really, really have to think about. Now, boomers are the ones that give a lot more money than Millennials. 72% of boomers give to charity. That means the majority of them have some sort of charitable behavior and they’re donating an average of $1,212 across 4.5 organizations. That’s a lot. These baby boomers are really thinking about where they’re giving and they’re giving across a portfolio more than all the others.

So this is something that you have to think about. How do you become part of that 4.5? and how do you increase the giving from 1200 a year, even earlier? So the greatest generation, which is only about 11.8% of the population, these are aging donors. 30% of the donors aged 75 or more, so that they’ve given online in the past 12 months. And on average give 25% more frequently than younger generations.

Again, we write off the 75-plus category typically, especially when I’m speaking to groups and crowds. I was just at a conference in Florida where the majority of the church leaders there said that their congregations were 60 and over, maybe 70 and older for many of them. And they were all poo-pooing the idea that we could use social media technology, online giving, mobile app giving for that demographic.

13:28 All those Dave Ramsey people that are worried that you’re sinking your people into deeper debt and misery. This is an interesting statistic, 80% of the people who actually give to churches have zero credit card debt. They are managing their finances well and giving by credit card, then for eight out of 10 of them is scot-free. They’re actually probably getting some mileage or points or some other benefit. It’s a win-win and it actually helps them probably give larger on an individual basis. 60% are willing to give to churches digitally.

And let’s look at some other stats here. This is really interesting. During the Great Depression, the average Christian gave 3.3% of their annual income, and today it’s about 2.5% of the income. So if you’re trying to figure out for your congregation how much giving you should be, just to have a baseline, figure out in general an average. And you can get this demographics for your zip codes, all this demographic information is the average income for zip codes, et cetera. And then you can figure out what the average income is multiplied by your congregation number, and multiply by 2.5% and see where you are. Obviously that’s much lower than it should be and it could be, but this is a starting point where you should have a baseline.

So now, if you look at those that actually give regularly, not just recurring giving, but regularly, 70% of Americans say that they tithe regularly. And so this is something that if your congregation is less than 20% are giving regularly, then this is something that you really need to talk about internally to figure out how you can change, not just their behavior, but their thinking through teaching.

Because giving is a spiritual discipline. Money is talked about in the Bible more than any other subject by Jesus. It’s something that Biblically you can help give structure and a Biblical worldview to help them understand how to steward their finances. And this is something that we want to build a culture of generosity, not one of obligation.

So what are the things that we can talk about? 30% of annual giving occurs in December for everybody. 10% of annual giving occurs in the last three days of the year. So we should not give up until the last, last … Almost it’s like when you’re watching Times Square and the ball drop, you should be thinking about, “How do we spur that last drop of giving?” Because people are willing to give all the way up to the last hours of the year.

Generosity Labs Podcast // Summer Check-Up

Generosity Labs Podcast // Summer Check-Up

S

For today’s episode of the Generosity Labs Podcast, Kenny Jahng shares how people can be forgetful when summertime comes. He will discuss key points to be considered by churches and nonprofit organizations for check up during summer.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hey everybody, it’s Kenny Jahng. It is summertime. Feels like it. It’s definitely heading up to almost 90 degrees here in Jersey this week. This is Kenny Jahng with Generosity Labs, and we are checking in with the podcast. Haven’t been with you lately but we are back on track. And here’s the reason that we’re checking in today is that it is summertime. We are now at a point where the back to school or end of school rush is gone. Mother’s day is gone. Father’s day is gone. We are looking at July 4th, and then it’s just the summer slump for most of the churches and nonprofits that we are talking about. 

Now, you might have a vibrant schedule for the summer. But here’s one thing that I’d love to talk about today. And that’s a summer checkup.   of times you hear that before you go on vacation, you should check your vehicle to make sure the tire pressure’s there, the oil, radiator. All that stuff is in good condition before you go on a big trip. And this is the same time to do this summer checkup for your donor development activities. And it’s just a couple things that I think you should put on your radar. This is a great thing to put on for either the end of June or for the rest of July. To just check-in and see how you’re doing. 

And so there are a couple of things. The first thing is just where you are in terms of progress for your overall plan for the year. Are you on a budget? Are you ahead of the game? Are you behind the game? And it’s time to rejigger your plan. Right? Basically, we’ve got July, August, September, and then October, November, December. Right? Six months, two quarters to go. It’s time to get back onto the white board, and to find those smart goals, right? The specific, measurable, attainable, what’s the R? Relevant and timely. Right? Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals regarding your fundraising plan. How are you doing that? What are you going to do to achieve that for the rest… To meet your original goals. Maybe you’ll need to revise those goals.

And then also on the spending side, how are you doing in terms of realistic assumptions about your budget spending? Because so many times at the end of the year, you’ve seen it in so many organizations, both on the marketplace and ministry side, that their line items on the budget where you have overflow. You just haven’t used them, used the dollars, and people are just racing to the end of the year, in December, to just spend out all of their budget in certain line items.

On the other side, people run out of money early, and they’re looking for funds in the fall at some point. So this is the time to revise those budget lines, because you have clarity. You actually have 50% clarity on what’s going to happen in 2019. So revising those goals and objectives in your budget is the number one thing that you should be doing in June and July.

A second one is looking at some other things that you typically don’t have time for. But you actually have the time now to pay attention to that. And so that is looking at your donor base. Both your high capacity donors, and your first time donors. And seeing what the rates are there in terms of first time donors turning into second donors, renewals, et cetera. Basically your donor retention rate, as we might call it. Trying to figure out how to get those first time donors to donate again in the second half of the year. Do you have any type of plan or campaign or excuse, honestly, to give them for them to consider contributing to the vision and the mission of your organization once again in the second half of the year?

The other part is that those high capacity donors. This is a great time to make sure that you are engaging them. You might have engaged them really heavily during the end of your giving season. You might have engaged them during the spring or even the Easter season, right? We’ve got these big days that hit the calendar. But summertime is the time that most people get forgotten. This is a great time for you to break through the clutter, and reconnect with some of your high capacity donors, and share them. How you doing? Are you on track or ahead of the game in terms of both your funding as well as your outcomes, right? All the actual objectives in terms of the activities and the ROI and the impact that you’re going to put out there.

Give them an update. Let them know how you’re doing. And give them some realistic assessments of, this is where we’re doing stuff in a strong way, and this is where we, because all these variables, we’re at a position where we might have a deficit, or we need to strengthen and shore that up. And that might be a place where donors can jump in again and participate. So cultivating those relationships, even outside of asks. Just checking in with them and seeing how they’re doing, and getting advice from their perspective is definitely something that I think you would want to start to do in the summer, because many other organizations are not. And again, it’s easy to cut through the clutter.

And the last one is looking at the rest of the year to refine it. Right? If you have story brands work that you’ve done with your organization, this is a great place for you to go back to your SB7 place mat, as we call it. And look at the core messaging. Are you still being caveman simple, as Don Miller says? Is your messaging clear? Is it something that allows people to understand that they’re the hero and that they are the ones that are able to make a difference? Are you showing them what happens if they don’t actually contribute or become a supporter or donate to the cause. What is the opportunity cost? Are you having between now, even starting in July. You’ve got six months. Do you have at least six pieces, 12 pieces? That will be biweekly. 24 pieces weekly communication that you can actually plan out right now during the summer, and start to drip, drip, drip. Send out that out to your constituents, your high capacity donors, and your general community.

Whether it be framed in terms of a financial and budgetary type of conversation, or just the ministry impact type of conversation. Is this something that you’ve started to think about now? This is a great time to work on that communications plan, set it, and forget it. At least between now and sometime in Q4, where you really should be amping up the communications regarding end of year giving, as well as Giving Tuesday, and the last week of the year. So looking at that, kind of like the smart goals. Are you doing anything on a overarching plan to relook at what you’re planned out for the last six months of the year in terms of your communications to your community. And this is the time to make those adjustments, alignments, and then put it back on track.

So those are some of the things that I would say is the summer tune up. Part of that summer tune up for a donor development or fundraising perspective that every single organization should take some time out between June and July of this year and see how you’re doing. I’d love to hear your perspective, and show me the wins or show me the deficits of where we might be able to add to the conversation, help give you some support here at Generosity Labs.

This is the type of thing that we’d love to dive down deeper if this is something you’d like to hear about. So let me know what part of this interests you? Is it the smart goals? Is it how do we communicate more effectively with high capacity donors in our community? Is it the communications plan? I just had recently, someone just flagged that they wanted to hear a little bit more about the serving. We talked about building a testimonial engine for your audience and your community to help build authority that you have in relation to your own community.

And there was a great question that came up that says, you know, I can see how the net promoter score surveys are done for the marketplace, for secular businesses, for profit businesses. But how do you phrase it for nonprofit, for ministries, and churches? That was a great question that came up recently, and we shared some concrete examples in response.

All of this, all these resources that we’re trying to pull together for Generosity Labs, are for you. 

So selfishly I’m asking you, reach out to me. Drop us a note on the website. Visit our website, our blog. Share the podcast with others. But more importantly, let us know what are the types of resources and information topics that you would love to hear more about? Are there specific leaders in the industry? Are there organizations that you are seeing do these things well, and you’d love to hear more behind the scenes stories about their approaches, about their philosophies, and even the tactics and resources that they’re using specifically. Let me know. I’d love to hear that so we can make this resource an even better one for you.

So that said, hope you’re doing well with your summer checkup. We’ll check in with you again soon here on the Generosity Labs podcast as we’re revving back up again here at generositylabs.org. I’m Kenny Jahng, I’ll check you out next time. And remember, generosity begins with you.

HIGHLIGHTS:

03:13 The first thing is just where you are in terms of progress for your overall plan for the year. Are you on a budget? Are you ahead of the game? Are you behind the game? And it’s time to rejigger your plan. Right? Basically, we’ve got July, August, September, and then October, November, December. Right? Six months, two quarters to go. It’s time to get back onto the whiteboard, and to find those smart goals, right? The specific, measurable, attainable, what’s the R? Relevant and timely. Right? Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals regarding your fundraising plan. How are you doing that? What are you going to do to achieve that for the rest… To meet your original goals. Maybe you’ll need to revise those goals.

04:06 A second one is looking at some other things that you typically don’t have time for. But you actually have the time now to pay attention to that. And so that is looking at your donor base. Both your high capacity donors and your first-time donors. And see what the rates are there in terms of first-time donors turning into second donors, renewals, et cetera. Basically, your donor retention rate, as we might call it. Trying to figure out how to get those first-time donors to donate again in the second half of the year. Do you have any type of plan or campaign or excuse, honestly, to give them for them to consider contributing to the vision and the mission of your organization once again in the second half of the year? 

06:25 And the last one is looking at the rest of the year to refine it. Right? If you have story brands work that you’ve done with your organization, this is a great place for you to go back to your SB7 placemat, as we call it. And look at the core messaging. Are you still being caveman simple, as Don Miller says? Is your messaging clear? Is it something that allows people to understand that they’re the hero and that they are the ones that are able to make a difference? Are you showing them what happens if they don’t actually contribute or become a supporter or donate to the cause? What does the opportunity cost? Are you having between now, even starting in July. You’ve got six months. Do you have at least six pieces, 12 pieces? That will be biweekly. 24 pieces weekly communication that you can actually plan out right now during the summer, and start to drip, drip, drip. Send out that out to your constituents, your high capacity donors, and your general community.