The Year-End Giving Playbook: 3 Strategies to Raise More Money

This week on TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry talk about year-end giving, and they share three strategies you can use to raise more money in your church.

This week on TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry talk about year-end giving, and they share three strategies you can use to raise more money.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • Why December is such a big month for giving
  • How to unleash generosity by starting with your “why"
  • Creating a strategy to reach current and new donors
  • 8 steps to raising more money during the end of the year
  • The power of leading people to become recurring givers


Here’s a list of resources mentioned during the show:

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The Year-End Giving Playbook: 3 Strategies to Raise More Money

The Year-End Giving Playbook: 3 Strategies to Raise More Money

This week on TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry talk about year-end giving, and they share three strategies you can use to raise more money in your church.

Show notes

This week on TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry talk about year-end giving, and they share three strategies you can use to raise more money.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • Why December is such a big month for giving
  • How to unleash generosity by starting with your “why"
  • Creating a strategy to reach current and new donors
  • 8 steps to raising more money during the end of the year
  • The power of leading people to become recurring givers


Here’s a list of resources mentioned during the show:

video transcript

(Scroll for more)

Frank Barry:  All right, and we're live.

Dean Sweetman:  Hey guys, how you doing? Dean and Frank here again and, man, have we got an awesome show today. It's probably ... I've been waiting for this one for a couple of reasons. The first of which, this, what we're gonna talk about today, end of year giving strategy, focusing on the end of year giving. Frank's got some awesome stats that are gonna blow your mind. But this is actually a phenomenal opportunity to grow giving. At that's our whole passion. We wanna see churches with increased budgets so they can fulfill the mission, preach the gospel, expand the kingdom, build new buildings, reach more people, help the poor, all the cool things that a church can do with more finances, right Frank? This is the month.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, December is, I guess we're almost in December. I don't know about you but the house has been decorated for a couple of weeks for Christmas and all the-

Dean Sweetman:  I'm not as organized as you, mate. [crosstalk 00:01:04]

Frank Barry:  It's all the wife, she's amazing.

Dean Sweetman:  Well the Christmas Brothers are coming to my house to put up lights and I'm going all in this year. Epic Christmas lights in Los Angeles.

Frank Barry:  The parties are starting, right? I've had a couple. We have our West Coast party coming up soon.

Dean Sweetman:  Coming up next week, yup.

Frank Barry:  It is the season, right? And certainly when it comes to, obviously we're celebrating for a very good reason but people like to give in December, Thanksgiving into December it's a time of year when people are sort of thinking about gratitude and they're doing extra to give in lots of ways, right? Whether presents or parties or taking care of their family or other things like giving to their church, giving to their favorite charities, things like that.

Dean Sweetman:  Absolutely.

Frank Barry:  December's a big month for giving.

Dean Sweetman:  It sure is. We're gonna dive into the weeds here in a moment. One of the things I think pastors should be thinking about is this time of the year is busy and sometimes, as a pastor you can think to yourself, "Oh my gosh, everyone's so busy, people are spending all this money on gifts. Is this the right time of the year to ask people to give when they're already spending a lot of money on other stuff?" And my answer is 100% yes, and here's my reasoning. The first reason that you should be talking about money in December is that every single other charity on the planet is doing it.

Frank Barry:  100%.

Dean Sweetman:  Right? So starting from giving Tuesday, which was this week, I got probably, not exaggerating, probably 40 solicitations of different groups form the hospital, the doctor I go to, City Sinai here in LA. Everyone was raising money on giving Tuesday.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, it kicks off-

Dean Sweetman:  It's like the kick-off season.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, it's the kick-off for the charitable, non-profit giving time, right? So they use that day, almost, as this big kick-off. Churches are kind of tuning into it.

Dean Sweetman:  Kind of tuning in.

Frank Barry:  But it's not really a thing, right?

Dean Sweetman:  Not yet. But here's the thing, from here til the end of December, organizations are gonna be going after people's money and there's a big reason, it's the elephant in the room where we know what it is and we thank Jesus for it, is that there is a beautiful, tax deductible thing that happens when you give a gift and you've gotta get that in before the end of the year so-

Frank Barry:  In the US.

Dean Sweetman:  In the United States.

Frank Barry:  In the US it's a big deal.

Dean Sweetman:  It's a big deal and it motivates people. I remember having people running to the church office on the last day of the year, which checks like, "Make sure you get in this year's giving report."

Frank Barry:  Record it for today, record it for today, even if you don't deposit it til tomorrow.

Dean Sweetman:  Just record it!

Frank Barry:  Yeah.

Dean Sweetman:  First reason, everyone's asking, people are not too busy to hear about the vision and what you've done, what you've achieved in 2018 and to talk about what you're gonna be doing in 2019. Pastors, you've gotta get in your mind, this is the month to ask because it doesn't matter how busy people are, it doesn't matter how much shopping their doing, they're going to give and, of course, we know where we want them to give to, want them to give to your church. I just think that mindset alone, if we can just help church leaders get through that, I think that's gonna be the first big win.

Frank Barry:  Obviously we're on Facebook live so there's a bunch of people watching live or they'll potentially, we get even more that watch the recording so whether you're live of you're gonna watch the recording here in a little while, do you do some sort of end of year fundraising campaign. I'd love to just hear from the audience. Put it in the comments, let us know what you do. Or maybe if you don't do it or you're considering it, let's get a bit of a discussion on what churches are doing-

Dean Sweetman:  Right, absolutely

Frank Barry:  Currently that are watching this around end of year. So pop it in the comments and we'll have, we'll scan through those during the live show but even afterwards we'll scan through them and kinda see what everybody's up to because it would be really interesting to see what churches ... I mean, I've seen churches that really do nothing, they really don't use end of year in any way and then I've seen churches that are very, very good at sort of having a campaign and a purpose and talking to their membership and even maybe some people that are visiting that sort of live in the community and want to inspire or want to be inspired, right?

Dean Sweetman:  Absolutely.

Frank Barry:  There's the whole gamut so it'll be great to hear from a bunch of you guys out there on Facebook.

Dean Sweetman:  Why don't we shock and awe with the chart, Frank, that you pulled together.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, let's, pictures tell a thousand words, right? So let's see if we can pull this off. We have one screen to share. Okay, can you ... Dean you just gotta confirm that you can see it for me.

Dean Sweetman:  I can. So if I can, everyone can.

Frank Barry:  Okay, beautiful. This chart, and you don't really have to get into the weeds, but if you just look at this chart, this is getting to faith-based organizations over the year of 2017, so it's a full year of 2017 from January to December. So you can just see, as a percentage of the total, and the estimate for 2017 was somewhere in the neighborhood of $122 billion was given to faith-based organizations in 17, right? So big number, 122 billion is a big number. It could be more but-

Dean Sweetman:  And it's going up.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, and it goes up, I think overall giving in 17 grew by 4% or so. So giving to faith-based charities definitely grew as part of that. But you can see giving ... it's pretty flat from January to November. It's pretty flat but then you see in December, even to faith-based groups which includes churches and ministries and other sorts of faith-based entities but it's largely driven by churches, local churches all over the US. It spikes massively in December so you can see that December giving is 18.5% of total giving to churches.

Dean Sweetman:  Ridiculous.

Frank Barry:  It's ridiculous, and to your point, Dean, people are giving in that month because it's the end of the year and whether they plan it, that month is tax season, they're thinking about it. And I think-

Dean Sweetman:  People get bonuses.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, people get end of year bonuses, maybe you're coming to a pay raise, maybe you have a job where during the year you're contract work or there's other things going on so it's hard for you to consistently give a certain amount during the year but by the end of the year you kinda know where you stand and you're kind of like, okay now I know where I'm at.

Dean Sweetman:  Business owners ... when you run a business often you're managing your cash-flow, paying your employees, you're drawing a salary but you're getting into that fourth quarter as a business and you're starting to gear up, "Wow, we had a good year!" Right?

Frank Barry:  Absolutely.

Dean Sweetman:  I had so many contractors in my church and plumbers and builder sand concrete guys and basically they give generously through the year but really it was December for them where they could look back at the year at their business and see what they actually made as a profit and then, boom, that's when they were making big contributions.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, and whether it was personal or they're giving even out of their business, right? So they're making a contribution from the business, that's a great point, right?

Dean Sweetman:  Absolutely.

Frank Barry:  So I guess the main thing is churches should be thinking about it and actually talking to your members about giving in December because sometimes, if you don't say anything they might not even think about it. It might not be on their minds but if you-

Dean Sweetman:  Okay, okay, you just hit on something awesome.

Frank Barry:  Let's go there. Here I'm gonna stop sharing.

Dean Sweetman:  Yeah, so talking about it ... and this comes back to a lot of our core conversations around generosity and talking about money in church. If you are not bold it means you're not convinced. Pastor, leader, if you're not convinced that your mission matters, that your church's reach into the community matters, that your ministry both to your congregation and beyond, if you're not convinced that matters, you're gonna get up on stage and flob around like, "Oh yeah, maybe, and we've got this and we did that and it was good." You gotta come bold and strong and you can only do that if you totally, 100% believe in what you're doing.

Frank Barry:  Right.

Dean Sweetman:  And so this is the moment to put some really kinda meat on that bone, it's like, "Yes I do believe what we're doing. We've had a phenomenal year." And you can go, "Hey, we did this, we did that, we did this." And kinda put a light on some of the things you achieved as a church and then, "But hey, guess what church? We're just ... God's speaking to us and we've got so much more vision. This is what we're gonna do in the next year and you should be thinking about making a large contribution because we're passionate about what God's called us to do." That posture is critical from the pulpit.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, it's kind of like the difference, you know when you're around confident people, right, you pick up on that somehow, someway, you pick up on that vibe, right? So the pastors and just the church as a whole being confident around giving and being confident that that money's gonna be used in a great way to make a big impact in your local community.

Dean Sweetman:  100%.

Frank Barry:  I think it all starts there, for sure. Having a conviction based on the Bible and being able to get on stage with confidence and talk about it.

Dean Sweetman:  Right, and then kinda go bold. There's ... and I know there's a couple things people have put in and Kirsten's helping us with some of that. Some people, they're telling that the Christmas service offering, which I'll talk about in a second, is going to a local cancer patient outreach.

Frank Barry:  Oh, wow.

Dean Sweetman:  Listen, some churches don't even take an offering on the Christmas services and it drives me nuts because it's like, "Oh, I've got all these visitors and I don't want it to be about money, I want it to be about Jesus." Hey listen, if you frame it write, you don't have to offend anyone ever when you take an offering. You never have to offend anyone and you never have to be afraid of offending people, visitors or otherwise, if you do it right. So in the sense that, "Oh, hey church, visitors welcome. We're gonna take an offering up tonight and guess what? There's a local cancer research down the road and 100% of what you give today, this is no pressure, out of the goodness of your heart, if you feel led to do this ..." You can frame that to sound so awesome and raise a ton of money for an awesome cause. But it's like the thought of, "Oh, I don't wanna offend visitors." Is an absolute red herring. You will offend them if you don't take the offering correctly, certainly how we talk about it.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dean Sweetman:  But you can frame it in such a way that it's awesome.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, and stuff like this, right, we're gonna give 100% of this to patients at a local hospital or even if it was not 100% is amazing, right? But maybe it's some percentage or it's some cause that your church is tied to throughout the year, right? It's not just an end of year thing. There's all kinds of ways you could do it. And, in fact, generous people, you're helping cancer patients. Whether you're a visitor or not, your family comes and you've got aunts and uncles or whatever it is, whether you're a visitor or not, that speaks to your heart, right, in making an impact and some people visiting are gonna wanna do that. They might already be doing it in other places and now they can participate through the church. So yeah, I think you're right.

Dean Sweetman:  Here's a challenge, right? If you're doing end of year Christmas services, which everyone does, and you don't take an offering for whatever reason, how about you feel the challenge today to do an offering and find a cause. It doesn't have to be for your church's budget, it doesn't have to go back into the church account.

Frank Barry:  It can be your church's food pantry-

Dean Sweetman:  I was gonna say-

Frank Barry:  There's things that could be-

Dean Sweetman:  Outside of normal ministry. Right. Or if you don't have something like that, go and find a local ministry that's out in your community, I guarantee you there'll be 10 of them within two miles of your church building and go and find a local ministry that's doing great stuff with the poor and people in need and go and take up an offering in your Christmas service and announce it and say, "Hey, this is what we're doing. This is how you do it." Of course, if you're smart with digital you're gonna have it up on the screen, if you're using our text giving, text the word give, open the app, make it easy to do because mobile, mobile, mobile equals increase every time. But why don't you take the challenge this year in your Christmas service to go and take up an offering for something outside the life of the church and do some blessing in the community.

Frank Barry:  And what a great way to partner with your community. Churches, the ones that are thinking about it, they're connected with their communities in other ways and they're partnering with other business or organizations or non-profits to sort of increase their impact, right? So what a great way, if you're not already doing something like that to connect in your community and build a bigger sort of army of people out there doing good.

Dean Sweetman:  So someone's asking is it okay to take a big offering up and focus on the church's budget. And I say, absolutely it's fine. To present what the church has done throughout the year, some churches work in that they kind of put in the public budget in the bulletin or on the app what their budget is for the year and whether it's met yet or whatever. Some churches do that, some don't, but I actually think if ... and it goes back, if you believe it and you've got a strong conviction about what God's called you to do in that church, you'll have no problem raising money for that church to do what it's called to do.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, what if it was ... sorry, go ahead.

Dean Sweetman:  It's an awesome opportunity to challenge people around the are of the tithe and the area of offerings so the church can fulfill its mission. Like I said, they're gonna be asked by the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, every charity on the planet. I live in Los Angeles, there's a non-profit on every street corner, they're gonna be after people's money. My personal conviction in all that is I love giving to disaster relief, we had the fires here in California, I gave to that. I love doing all that, but as a Christian and someone who has a real sense of the mission of the church and what I believe the church can do on the earth, I've always focused my generosity to the church first. That's just what I do. And I think on the whole that's what Christians do. And in that, I think as a Christian, I want to make sure my local church is funded and doing what God's called it to do.

Dean Sweetman:  I think making that appeal to the congregation, saying, "Hey, listen, if you wanna make contributions to the Red Cross or disaster relief or anything else, go right ahead but why don't you put your church first, make sure the church is funded so then we can go and do all that other good stuff out there in the community as well.

Frank Barry:  Yup, and certainly you could ... one of the points we're gonna get to is sort of what's the why? If you're gonna do something at end of year, what's the why? If it's for your local church and it's for your budget, what if they why was, "Hey, we wanna grow our kid's ministry program and we need to increase the budget by X in order to build on a new room or add new staff or X, Y, Z." If it was kid's ministry or if it were the AV and sort of worship experience, if you had something where you were like, "Hey, church, we really wanna grow in this spot and we need X to do it." So that to me is ... again, with three young kids, if you're up on stage and you're talking about growing kid's ministry and here's some plans we have but we need to grow the budget in order to do that, that's gonna speak to me as a parent. And there's all kinds of ministries being served so you may not hit everybody but you're gonna hit a part of the church by going ministry specific or having plans like that. To me that's gold.

Dean Sweetman:  Maybe you've got missions kicking in and you're sending a group to whatever, raising money ... and a lot of times visitors love giving to stuff like that. Visitors are coming in from out of town, they're not at their local church. I always used to tell visitors, if they're visiting make sure they tithe back to their local church but they were welcome to give our friends while they're with us visiting and sometimes if you're a believer traveling to another church for the holiday and there's a specific mission that you're involved in, a lot of times people will wanna get involved in that. And so, absolutely, you can ... I think the thing is ... the idea is that you don't shrink back and shy away from talking about money and giving in generosity in December. For the obvious reasons there's a spike but it's so easy to tell the story. It's so easy to talk about what the church has done and what it's doing that will get people inspired to give.

Frank Barry:  Yeah. So I think we've got a couple points, right? One of them is, starting with the why. I think we kind of hit on that. If you're gonna do something big during Thanksgiving through Christmas kind of end of year, have a why, have a reason why you're raising this funds and why you're going after it and that could be so many things, that could be partnering with a charity, it could be-

Dean Sweetman:  We gave you like 10 examples just now.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, there's so many out there. So have a why and then our point number two, after have a why is plan a strategy.

Dean Sweetman:  Okay so this is where the wheels fall off, right, if you don't do this right. Everyone can get excited for the why, we can be inspired what we wanna do but then if you don't have a plan, if it's like, "Oh, we'll just, I'll just get up there and I'll take a quick offering." No, that's not what you're gonna do. That is not the way. Our way is to have a plan and that includes things like identifying current donors, which, if you use our platform you've got every single donor in your church. And you're gonna be able to actually devise email campaign, you can start reaching them via social media, you can start to present the vision of giving in December in a very, very powerful way.

Dean Sweetman:  And again, if you're ... I know guys who are genius at this and they literally, they send an email at the beginning of December, "Hey church, thanks for a great year. Here's the things we're focused on giving this month. Get ready, it's gonna be awesome. Christmas service is here." And then a week out they send another reminder email, "Hey guys, get ready." It's going on social, they're kinda just using maybe our app, using push notifications and it's like even up until ... even in the last couple of days of the year, so you've gone through Christmas and then you're actually, hey, December's over, 2018 is about to be done, don't forget. And then having the giving button, click it right there. Those are the kind of things that are really actually gonna make a massive, massive difference if you do some planning like that.

Frank Barry:  I mean, I think when you have a why ... and I'll stick with the kid's ministry thing because it's easy for me to think about. If you have a why and for your church it's, "We wanna grow our kid's ministry and get better at serving families and their kids in this stage of life. " And you present that to the church early December or even late November and you start talking about that so part of your strategy is, okay, I've picked the why, now how am I gonna communicate it. You do it from stage, maybe there's some kind of compelling story that you're telling about the impact your kid's ministry has already had and how we wanna grow that. You have this communication strategy and I think to your point, you gotta start early and you gotta kinda keep it on all month. Not every day, but the funny thing is is December is 18.5% of total giving to faith-based organizations. Of that 18.5% the last week, and even the last day is a massive portion. I don't have the percentage off the top of my head-

Dean Sweetman:  It's huge though.

Frank Barry:  Literally the last week and then the very last day, so the very last day sending the one last email or maybe even doing something crazy like organizing a dinner for all the families in your church with young kids in kid's ministry and you do this great big dinner and you kinda celebrate where you've kinda gotten to and also make the one last appeal, right? Yeah, having a strategy and a focus is a big deal.

Dean Sweetman:  And having ... making sure in all email and social media kind of communications you got that giving button. Frank, just maybe the one minute best practice on grabbing that giving button and putting it in those communications, what would you tell our guys?

Frank Barry:  Look, most people are probably using MailChimp or Constant Contact or maybe they're using their church management platform like Church Management that you can get for $50 a month, shameless plug. But you've got some sort of email tool. Most people aren't sending personal emails. So you've got this email tool and most of them are really easy, they even have built in things like insert button here. And you insert the button and you grab the URL so when you're logged into your Tithe.ley account, you go to the website giving section, there's a direct URL, you can grab that link and then take it over to your email and add it to that button so people can just one click and go to the giving form or, alternatively, maybe you have a page on your website that is for end of year giving or even just your standard giving page. You grab that link and from the email point them to it.

Frank Barry:  I've seen it in the non-profit world where they make it really hard in the email or in any form of communication to know what you want me to do.

Dean Sweetman:  Don't do that.

Frank Barry:  If it's email, if it's from Stage, if it's on social media, if it's in a phone call, if it's in a coffee, a dinner, whatever it is, make the ask clear. We're raising $5,000 for kid's ministry and we'd like you to contribute, click here to donate. Make it that simple. And I think related to all of that, make it simple but then communicate along the way. If you're trying to raise a number, right, we need to increase the budget by this or we need to raise $10,000 for that, all the whole month of December you should maybe every week report back on what's the impact-

Dean Sweetman:  Absolutely.

Frank Barry:  Where do you stand, all they way through that last email you send on the 31st, we've raised $9,000 towards our $10,000 goal, help us beat the goal, click here to give.

Dean Sweetman:  Pretty cool, right? And kind of a good opportunity to create another fund in the drop-down so by going into the back-end and creating a fund and if it's a specific thing like kid's ministry 2018 or whatever, drop it in so when people go in they drop in the drop down, they choose the fund, they make the contribution, away you go and then you can record all those givers for that particular fund, communicate with them again, all that really, really good kinda donor management stuff that's important. So current donors and then I think it's an opportunity, honestly I do, to get new people giving to the church. Especially for an outside project like the cancer research thing, that is a phenomenal ... some people, givings a journey and giving, if you're a new believer or you weren't raised in church or you just started attending a church, giving is ... it takes a while for that to sink in. It takes a while for the scriptures to really move your heart and we start getting in alignment with God's plan.

Dean Sweetman:  But when you're asking people to give to cancer research it's like ... that hits another part of the brain but it's almost like it's another section of the brain but it's all around generosity and being generous and so having people contribute to something like that is a great way to get people in the groove of making contributions through your church.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, it's a small step but it's through the church and there's a feeling of connection, right? When you, again, as a Christian you grow sort of over your journey and so at whatever point you start giving, that first step, whatever it is it's a small step and it's a faithful step to start giving. I'm gonna take some of my hard-earned money which most people are working hard for that because they wanna do something with it, right? And so saying, "I'm gonna take something and I'm gonna be generous and give." That's a big step and then you grow from there and over a year or 10 years, 20 years, 50 years God's plan is that we become more generous, right? And our hearts get bigger but you also get more connected with your church.

Dean Sweetman:  Absolutely.

Frank Barry:  You start to feel the longer you're around and the more that you're volunteering and giving financially, the more connected you are to the heartbeat of that church.

Dean Sweetman:  Or your money is. Right? You know the money and the heart ar connected and so having people contribute is only gonna glue them in and connect them in to the life and the vision of the church. And the other thing too that I think is possible if you do it well is inspire people to get on a reoccurring giving plan. We talk about that constantly as a way to increase giving in a church's budget because nothing beats a regular contribution going in week in, week out, month in, month out. And so you can inspire people either for a project or to get involved in just supporting just the life and the ministry of the church by [inaudible 00:28:34] set up recurring giving, right, using our apps.

Frank Barry:  Look, I'll go back to kid's ministry, it's like you're making the appeal and you're like, we're doing this thing in 2018, we wanna grow the kid's ministry by doing X, Y, Z, we'd love for you to set up a weekly or monthly automated gift to the kid's ministry fund. And that's your appeal. In the non-profit world, not churches specifically, but non-profits clued into this recurring giving thing a while ago and you'd see, even on their websites, instead of just saying, donate now or give here, their main call to action would be, set up a recurring gift. So they'd lead with that ask and obviously you could give a one time gift but they would lead with recurring giving. So for the bold and the courageous go in there and say, "Hey, we want this ministry to grow ..." Or whatever it is, again, "We want this thing to grow, you could really help us by setting up a recurring gift to this particular ministry for the whole of 2018 or 2019."

Dean Sweetman:  Yup, so let's kind of review with some best practices and kind of land this awesome episode.

Frank Barry:  Land the plane.

Dean Sweetman:  Land the plane here. Number one, start now, right?

Frank Barry:  Number one, have a why, number zero.

Dean Sweetman:  Have a why.

Frank Barry:  Before you even start, have the why.

Dean Sweetman:  Goes without saying, have your why and make sure you frame that, you've thought about it, you've agreed with your leadership team, everyone's on board, you're ll in unison, there's unity around the why and then you've gotta get cracking. This can not be left until December 15th.

Frank Barry:  Absolutely-

Dean Sweetman:  You wanna start communicating.

Frank Barry:  If you don't have a why today, you should have a why by Sunday.

Dean Sweetman:  Absolutely. Get your why by Sunday and start telling people, right? So that means you've gotta cast a vision. You've got your why and then you've gotta paint the picture. And as great communicators, ministers, we're great at creating pictures with words. That's what you've gotta do. You can put graphics up on the screen if you like, you can put pictures of the cancer center, you can put pictures of the kid's church, great, all good. But you've really gotta put those words out there and create that visual for people to really get ahold of it so they can see.

Frank Barry:  And then ... sorry, go ahead. Well I was just gonna tie into that the heart side of it, right? You wanna have the story that connects with people's hearts for whatever it is you're doing. If it's the cancer center, if it's kid's ministry, wherever it is, if it's kid's ministry you're gonna talk about the impact that your church ... and maybe you get a couple up there that's had a kid go all the way through high school ministry at your church and they're thriving in life and you have that couple, that family tell the story. And so now you're connecting with people's hearts as part of your vision because I'm gonna see that as a dad with younger kids coming up through the ministry and I'm gonna be inspired by that and go, "That's what I want for my kids." Right?

Dean Sweetman:  Sharing stories, right. We talk about it in our best practices around giving, sharing stories is key and that's absolutely ... especially in something like the kid's church, seeing a great 18 year old guy or girl graduating high school, been in the life of the church, they're serving in the church, whatever, that's the vision that every parent wants their kid to have. Yeah, making sure the stories and the testimonies. Making multiple appeals. You've got your why, you're casting your vision, you're telling great stories but you're not gonna do this once, there's gonna be email and social media communication about the why and the vision and you're gonna do this right through December, not ad nauseam not ... here's what I do-

Frank Barry:  Maybe once a week?

Dean Sweetman:  I think once a week is fine because I get emails from Amazon every flipping day for something and I don't ... I have a quick look and flick them but honestly your people are gonna get hammered so, you know, we're here, we're here. Don't be bashful and stay hidden, make the communication come via email, social and the pulpit right through December, don't just do it once. And then-

Frank Barry:  All the way through the last day. Do not forget to send the email, post it on social, make the call, whatever it is on the very last day of the month and preferably you send it in the morning, right?

Dean Sweetman:  First thing.

Frank Barry:  Kinda late morning you get it out because-

Dean Sweetman:  31st.

Frank Barry:  Yup, the 31st you do not wanna miss that day.

Dean Sweetman:  So the next practical thing is you gotta make it easy. And we talked about that a little bit, right, with giving buttons and so on. Maybe tweaking your website, giving button, if you're not following Tithe.ley best practices on that, top right-hand corner, a color that's gonna pop our a little bit from the rest of the menu, we always suggest that. But making it simple and maybe if you're using our custom app you can create an end appeal, giving kind of extra button in the app, just making sure ... and honestly, this does sound a little bit self-serving, but the more you can push to digital giving, number one, the amount of the offering goes up, we know that, we've proven that. And the consistency that follows from people giving digitally is absolutely, hands down way better than any other form. The fact that most people sitting in your church during the month of December, if they're under 35 have very little cash and don't carry a check book, don't know what that is.

Frank Barry:  I mean, if you're making these appeals, and this is a little bit out of the normal sort of flow of your church, you know people, less and less people over time are walking into church with a checkbook or cash.

Dean Sweetman:  Sure.

Frank Barry:  And so it just makes logical sense. I forget what it ... I read this thing yesterday but some crazy number of black Friday deals were done on a mobile device. On mobile.

Dean Sweetman:  It was four billion, it was $4 billion.

Frank Barry:  It was mind boggling numbers and even from the charitable giving stats that we pulled, 21% of online giving in 2017 came from a mobile device. So the mobile device is growing and everyone's walking in to your church with a phone. They may not have cash or check but they're coming in with a phone.

Dean Sweetman:  So do this fun experiment, maybe you don't have to do it December, but pocket this one away. Stand up in front of your church and ask everyone to bring out their checkbook and hold it up in their hand.

Frank Barry:  Yeah.

Dean Sweetman:  Do that and then if you've got 500 people in the room, there'll be six, there'll be six people. I've done this a million times when I do conferences. And then the next thing you do is say, "Hey, would you take out your mobile phone and hold that in the air?" 99% of people do that. Game over, you just proved it, mobile is the way to go. So make sure your mobile strategy is front and center and making stuff and that's the easy way for people to do it. Making the easy ramp-on for the new givers, again, mobile's the easy way to go.

Frank Barry:  Digital's the way.

Dean Sweetman:  The easy way to go. And then the end of year statement, Frank, maybe just talk about that real quick ... the opportunity in communicating the thank you and also setting up for moving forward, right?

Frank Barry:  Yeah, I mean, the end of year statement is a massive opportunity. And obviously this goes outside or end of year giving, this is now moved into the next year because you're gonna send your end of year tax statements usually some time in January potentially early February. But what a great opportunity, instead of just saying, "Here's your printed copy." And it just has the basics in there, thanks for giving and here's your transaction history. How boring is that? What a missed opportunity. Instead, take that as a moment, the senior pastor or the senior leadership or the eldership or whatever it is at your church that carries a bunch of where they write a personal letter to every member of the church that's been given. In that letter there's, here's what we did last year, X number of people got saved, we grew this ministry this way, we made this kind of impact in the local community, we did this in missions. And you just, you tell your story of 2018 and you help people understand, wow ... because your average member is not gonna know about everything but you do. So go tell everybody about the impact you guys had in 2018.

Frank Barry:  And right there is also another moment for 2019 for the next year to say, "Hey, we know you've given generously ..." And let's say it's a segment of people that aren't super consistent but you can go to them and say, "We'd love for you to set up automated recurring giving this year." So you can do some things in your communication. It's a big time opportunity to tell the story, cast the vision for the new year, motivate people to give right there.

Dean Sweetman:  And so the last thing we wanna tell people before we sign off today is the eBook that the guide that we did with Generous, our friends over at Generous. And I'm sure as I'm speaking Jessie or one of the Tithe.ley elves is gonna put a link in there.

Frank Barry:  Check the comments, check the comments, they're down there.

Dean Sweetman:  Awesome, check the comments because you can go get ... so our buddies at Generous, we put together this book with them, it's a beautiful PDF book and it basically goes through in depth a lot of what Frank and I just talked about. So you can go get it, read it-

Frank Barry:  Examples.

Dean Sweetman:  Examples, how to write emails, the whole nine yards. It's really awesome. You hand it to some of your staff, get everyone on board with that. And that's free, you can go and grab it.

Frank Barry:  Yeah, it should be in the comments. I'm sure Jessie's already posted it there. If you guys would, give it a like and even share that our, share it our on social media. We'd love to get it in the hands or as many churches as we could because it's a great guide and I think it just walks people through this. You can go back to it and read it instead of just re watching the episode.

Dean Sweetman:  Love it, man. Hey, what a great show.

Frank Barry:  It's good times and next week, I don't know what we've got but we've got something coming.

Dean Sweetman:  It's gonna be incredible.

Frank Barry:  It's gonna be incredible. I'm sure we'll both be home getting ready for the holidays but, man, it's good to have everyone on the show. We're grateful for you guys and hope you have a fantastic December.

Dean Sweetman:  Appreciate it Tithe.ley fam, we'll see you next time. God bless.

Frank Barry:  See you, guys.