Five Ideas to Help Maximize Your Quarterly Giving Statement Strategy
Anne Morrow Lindbergh once said, “Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.” The goal of your quarterly statement strategy should be to communicate with your givers in such a way that you stimulate them to grow as disciples and givers. Your quarterly statements should be much more than information, they should be filled with inspiration.
Here are five ideas to consider as you launch or adjust your quarterly giving statement strategy.
- Check the Calendar – It’s plain to see that quarterly giving statements are sent out four times per year. Businesses that are required to report earnings on a quarterly basis tend to follow a rigid schedule. The first quarterly statement usually comes out in the beginning of April to reflect the activity from the first quarter (January – March). This is fine for business, but for churches it’s acceptable to tweak the schedule to make the most of the calendar.
For example, since you already send out an annual giving statement each January for the previous year, why not combine the quarterly and annual statement in this communication? Likewise, a Q2 statement is usually sent at the beginning of July. This, however, may not be the best time to send a message to your congregation as many church members tend to go on vacation during the summer months. Perhaps sending the statement in May or June would be more effective. Consider sending the third statement early in the fall and the fourth as you move toward year-end.
- Communicate Vision Visually – Walt Disney said, "Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language." Be honest, does your church’s quarterly statement look like a bill? It probably does because most CMS (content management systems) produce statements that include only the data. They communicate the amount of money given, but they don’t communicate how the giving is impacting the vision of the church. Also, they certainly don’t stimulate givers to grow in discipleship and generosity.
Your quarterly statements should have photos, images, and infographics. Get your design team or most creative staff member to work with the business office to create a printed piece that combines information and inspiration. The goal is to make the quarterly statement “refrigerator worthy”—church members should be tempted to post it on their fridge for others to see. The easiest way to do this is to create two pieces. One is the report your CMS generates and a second piece that you design with the fridge in mind.
- Say “Thank You” – The church is virtually the only place in America where you can give a financial gift and not receive a thank-you note. How is that possible? Didn’t our kindergarten teachers teach us to say, “Please, and thank you”?
Hopefully, you already have a strategy in place to thank first-time givers, faithful givers, and givers who make a larger than normal contribution. Even if you don’t, consider using the quarterly giving statement to sincerely thank those who are supporting your church financially. Make sure the message that you send includes a heartfelt expression of gratitude. Your kindergarten teacher will be proud.
- Include a Reply Envelope – Whenever you send a quarterly statement, you should always include an envelope that is addressed to your church. I would not recommend that you use a typical giving envelope. It is best to use a small envelope that is addressed to the church.
Including an envelope is a subconscious reminder to your givers that they can write a check if they need to catch up on their giving or if your message inspires them to make an additional gift. You will be surprised to see how many of these envelopes are mailed to your church with a check or end up in the offering basket.
- Use Email and Snail Mail – Should you use the U.S. Postal Service to send your quarterly statement? Yes, you should. You should also plan to send an electronic version of your quarterly statement. Both are important.
The IRS requires your donors to have proof of giving in order to deduct charitable contributions on their tax return. Churches are already in the habit of sending out a printed receipt once per year in January. When the other quarterly statement periods come around, the temptation is to save on the postage and simply send the statement through email. Even worse, some churches direct givers to log in to the church’s online giving portal to see their statement.
It’s understandable that creating quarterly statements can be a real project to send out. Please don’t be tempted to take the easy way out. Remember, our goal is a “refrigerator worthy” piece that is full of images and inspiration. Your givers are not going to print the PDF that you attach to an email. Spend the time and the money to send a physical statement to every donor. Think of it as a labor of love.
You can also send an electronic version. This could be an email with a PDF attachment, or it could be a link to a page on your website. When you send the statement electronically, you can also embed a link to your giving portal. Another idea is to create a simple video greeting from your pastor with an inspirational message or a word of gratitude. This extra touch will be appreciated by church members.
It is widely understood that communication is key to every relationship. This universal truth maintains between the church and givers who fund the mission of the church. Your quarterly giving statement is a critical part of preserving the communication in order to keep the relationship healthy.
The goal should be to communicate with our givers not because of something that we want from them, but because of what we want for them. We want them to remember their important role in the vision and mission of the church. We want to spur them on to greater faith.
The quarterly statement is one of the best opportunities we have to provide them the information and inspiration needed to keep living on mission.
Church Quarterly Giving Statement
The quarterly giving statement offers four opportunities a year in which you can engage with your givers to magnify their hearts and inspire them to develop deeper roots in your church. The work is well worth the effort as we connect them to the vision and demonstrate a spirit of gratitude.