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Giving and Why Churches Fail

“Apparently Giving Tuesday is reason for all the nonprofits that haven’t reached out to me all year to decide it’s time.” – Mark Oestreicher

How many of you received more asks from churches and non-profits this week than any other time this year? Our guess is that most if not everyone received more emails and asks from people on Giving Tuesday than ever before. Internet traffic was flooded with #GivingTuesday and it was trending the entire day. Cyber Monday was the largest on record, so it only makes sense that people wanted to capitalize on it.

But did it work?

Here’s the thing: If the only time you ever reach out to people and ask for money is when you want it or need it, or when you feel like their is an advantage due to market trends, then you are missing the point of generosity.

Giving and generosity are about buying into the mission of an organization, not a pet project. It’s about rallying behind the people making things happen on the ground and not giving to someone you hear from once a year. It’s about faithfulness more than anything, not an email form letter that lacks depth and personality.

These are the feelings and thoughts based on generosity, but what are the actual statistics behind it? Let’s take a look:

  • The average email open rate for churches hovers around 27% on a good day (assuming 1000 people on the list, 270 read the email).
  • The average click rate is around 2%,  (assuming 1000 people on the list, 30 click the call to action).
  • The average church has 17.5 percent of their membership that gives (assuming a list of 1000 church members, 5 people gave) .

The numbers above are best case scenarios. Sure, there will be churches who have cultivated better lists with a higher open and click rate, but for the most part, these are accepted industry standards.

Is it working for you? 

We want to help you succeed in your generosity strategy. That’s why we have poured so much time and energy partnering with the experts in order to increase generosity and faithfulness in your church. Maybe these videos have helped you in the past, or maybe you’ve met us at a conference and walked away encouraged. For today, we want to give you five simple steps you can help iron out your strategy and start increasing generosity today.

  1. Pick up the phone. Your supporters are friends. Treat them like it.
  2. Monthly personal emails. Curate a personal list and send it with a personal (not church) voice.
  3. Quarterly statistics mass email. Always share your successes with your supporters with real-time data.
  4. Quarterly web video conference. Remind people that you are real and give them an opportunity to engage.
  5. Yearly mailer. Give them a physical reminder of the people that are on the ground accomplishing the mission they’re funding.

If you can create space in your calendar to accomplish these five simple steps, then you are much more likely to win the day with days like Giving Tuesday. However, if you aren’t able to do any of the steps, you will become nothing but a resounding gong to your biggest fans, an email that quickly comes to the inbox and marked as SPAM. Choose to be a friend today and treat your supporters right from the start. You can do it; we can help.