Episcopal Diocese of Washington

Engaging a changing world with
an enduring faith in Jesus Christ

Suggested "Ask" Letter Timeline

Timelines for Annual Giving Campaigns can vary, depending upon the process used and the size of the congregation. In general, Annual Giving Campaigns are held during the fall months in order to ascertain pledge revenue for the coming fiscal year. Please adapt the below as needed for use in your own parish context.

Late Spring - Early Summer—
Initial planning for campaign begins to include creation of a theme and the goals for the campaign. This step typically includes some combination of the following individuals: clergy person, wardens and/or vestry, stewardship chair and/or committee.

Late Summer—
Produce materials and set deadlines: 

Materials

Deadlines

  • Set deadline for vestry members and clergy to pledge by (usually a designated Sunday prior to the deadline for all parishioners)

  • Set a deadline for pledges from all parishioners (usually late October or early November)

 

September - October—
Introduction of Annual Giving Campaign, possibly to include:

  • Distribute materials to all parishioners

  • Launch the Annual Giving Campaign with a Kick-Off event such as a brunch or dinner

    • Make this event joyful! The largest barrier to effective stewardship campaigns is boredom. Food + Fun = Attention and Involvement

    • Do not combine the stewardship campaign (money) with a recruitment fair (time and talent). People need to focus on one thing at a time 

  • Present materials with time for questions and answers. This can take the form of an all parish meeting, adult education sessions, small group meetings, etc.

 

October - November—
Annual Giving Campaign in Progress

  • Vestry members and clergy submit pledges by deadline (the Sunday prior to the designated date for all parishioners)

  • Clergy preach about stewardship and the Annual Giving Campaign

  • Offer continued opportunities for the presentation and discussion of materials 

  • Offer opportunities for lay speakers to share their thoughts about annual giving:

    • Why they give

    • What about the church is most important to them

    • How has giving to the church changed people’s lives (their own and others’)

  • Provide information about the campaign in a variety of media:

    • Weekly Bulletin

    • Website

    • Social Media

    • Newsletter

    • Videos 

  • Remind parishioners of deadline for pledges

  • Acknowledge pledges received with a personal letter [see template]

    • Not only is it good manners to thank your donors, but it turns out this is the best way to remind them of how they can participate in the mission of the church and the most effective way to continue to increase giving

 

November - December—
Annual Giving Campaign Follow-Up [see section on Annual Giving Campaign Follow-Up templates]

  • Reach out to families and individuals from whom no pledge has been received in the way you determine will be most successful:   

    • Personal visit

    • Phone call

    • Email or other electronic message

 

January—
Evaluate and Celebrate Work Well Done

  • Thank all those involved with the Annual Giving Campaign

  • Record what worked well and what can be improved

  • Analyze Campaign results 

    • Did the Campaign meet its goals? 

    • What giving trends are evident?

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