The timeline used 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 of the year, in order to ascertain pledge revenue for the coming fiscal year.
Remember, the purpose of an annual giving campaign is not only to raise support to fund the vision and mission of your congregation, but also to help people explore intentional and proportional giving as a spiritual practice that reflects gratitude and generosity for all that has been given.
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, if not all, of the following: rector, wardens and/or vestry, stewardship chair and/or committee.
- Materials are created, including pledge card, letters to congregation and any accompanying materials such as brochures, charts and graphs, bulletin inserts, information about operating budget.
September - October
Introduction of annual giving campaign, possibly to include:
Distribution of materials to all parishioners
Kick-Off Event - social event such as brunch, dinner, etc.
Make this a special day and a joyful one! The largest and most effective barrier to effective stewardship campaigns is boredom! Make a splash. Have some fun. Do not combine the stewardship campaign (money) with the recruitment fair (time and talent). People need to focus on one thing at a time. Have special food or do some special event after the service, or even at a different time. Food + Fun = Attention and Involvement.
Opportunity for presentation of materials, as well as chance for questions and answers. Can take the form of all parish meeting, adult education sessions, small group meetings, etc.
October - November - Annual Campaign in Process
- Vestry members and clergy submit pledges on a designated Sunday, prior to the designated date for all parishioners
- Clergy preach about stewardship and the annual giving campaign
- Continued opportunities for presentation of materials, as well as chance for questions and answers. Can take the form of all parish meeting, adult education sessions, small group meetings, etc.
- Lay speakers shared their thoughts about annual giving - why they give, what about the church is most important to them.
- Be sure to share stories of how giving to your church changed people’s lives.
Information about the campaign should be available in a variety of media:Weekly Bulletin
- Social Media
- Videos - if possible
- Pledges are requested by a certain date, usually by late October or early November.
- Pledges received are acknowledged with a personal letter.
- Not only is it good manners to thank your donors, but it turns out that this is the best way to remind them of how they can participate in the mission of the church, and that is the most effective way to continue to increase giving.
- Additional information (budget information, prepared material about stewardship, scriptural basis, etc.) can be shared via bulletin inserts.
November - December - Annual Giving Campaign Follow-Up
- Reach out to families and individuals from whom no pledge has been received. This can take a variety of formats:
- Personal visit
- Phone call
- Email or other electronic message
January - Evaluation and Celebration of Work Well Done
- Opportunity to thank all those involved with the campaign, record what worked well and what can be improved.
- Analysis of campaign results - were goals met? What giving trends are evident?