The calendar has officially rolled over to November, which means we’re in the final countdown for year-end giving. You’re probably thinking, “Hey Connie, that means it’s GO time—what’s with the STOP message?”
Don’t get me wrong; I’m all about the go, but I learned a little something about the importance of stop in relation to go as we trick-or-treated with our grandsons this year. Now talk about a ‘go-time.' Those boys, 3 and 4, were ready to flat out go. But their parents knew the most important thing about going was to stop, look, listen and then go. Without the stop, the go could have been disastrous. They had to be aware of their surroundings, look for cars, and be good listeners. They also had to be on the lookout for the houses with lights on so they knew who to approach and where to skip. The result? Overflowing buckets of treats!
What if there’s wisdom in that notion for us in fundraising? What if we stopped, looked and listened before darting down year-end giving lane? Looking and listening means becoming aware of our surroundings. What’s going on in our ministry, our givers and our world? Stopping gives us intentionality and purpose in our going…leading to greater overflowing results!
To make the most of this year-end giving season, take a moment to STOP and consider these looking and listening opportunities before you go:
Stock gifts – The stock market has hit record highs in recent weeks, which means gifts of appreciated stock are not only timely but are exceptionally wise gifts for your givers. This is a huge opportunity for both the ministry and the giver, and you do not want to miss it. If you need help or want to learn more about the power of giving stock, click here.
Tax savings – Raise your hand if your tax bill excites you. Likely your givers feel the same way. Don’t shy away from talking about ways your ministry can help your givers “give more, and pay less tax” (our motto here at NCF). Most givers don’t realize they can deduct 30% of their AGI in noncash or asset-based giving. Be informed, and don’t let another December 31 come and go without sharing with your givers how they can invest more in what they care about and watch that tax bill shrink at the same time! Learn more here.
Opportunities – Too often we send out year-end giving appeals with a desperation message of how we need people to give so we can survive the year. Not very compelling. Instead, use your year-end appeals to cast vision for what you see ahead. What amazing things are just beyond reach that we can accomplish together? Remember, a need overwhelms but vision invigorates. December 31 represents a natural urgency for giving. Leverage that urgency by sharing a message of opportunity for a powerful investment in what lies ahead.
Personal – Just like my grandsons needed to look for houses with the lights on, you need to look for those who want you to come knocking. Who is sending signals that they want to give more, or go deeper with the ministry? Who is primed and ready and is literally waiting for the ask? Who is maybe feeling a little forgotten and at risk of lapsing? This is a time for intentionality. Pore over and pray over your database, and spend the final weeks of the year making personal and meaningful contacts.
As you go for the finish line of 2017, take a moment to stop, look, and listen for opportunities to serve givers in ways that maybe you haven’t before. Remember to serve with joy and gratitude. In trick-or-treating, the more excitement and gratefulness my grandsons expressed, the more the neighbors couldn’t wait to fill their bucket. Givers will feed off of your energy the same way. Go big and go hard, but go with intentionality and with the joy of the Lord!