Timelines 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 in order to ascertain pledge revenue for the coming fiscal year. Please adapt the below as needed for use in your own parish context.
All templates can be found on the Annual Giving Campaign Toolkit page.
Late Spring - Early Summer
Initial planning for a campaign includes the creation of a theme and the goals for the campaign. This step typically includes some combination of the following individuals: clergy person, wardens and/or vestry, stewardship chair and/or committee.
Produce materials and set deadlines:
Design pledge card
Draft and finalize letters to congregation
Design any accompanying materials such as:
- Charts and graphs
- Bulletin inserts
- Information about the parish operating budget
Set a deadline for vestry members and clergy to pledge by (usually a designated Sunday prior to the deadline for all parishioners)
Set a deadline for pledges from all parishioners (usually late October or early November)
September - October
Introduction of Annual Giving Campaign, possibly to include:
Distribute materials to all parishioners. Depending upon your parish, consider making materials available in a variety of ways, including online
Present materials with time for questions and answers. This can take the form of an all parish meeting, adult education sessions, small group meetings, etc.
Launch the Annual Giving Campaign with a Kick-Off event such as a brunch or dinner
Do not combine the stewardship campaign (money) with a recruitment fair (time and talent). People need to focus on one thing at a time–and time, talent and treasure are not interchangeable. The Annual Giving Campaign focuses on treasure.
- Make this event joyful! The largest barrier to effective stewardship campaigns is boredom.
- Remember: Food + Fun = Attention and Involvement
October - November
Annual Giving Campaign in Progress
Vestry members and clergy submit pledges by deadline (the Sunday prior to the designated date for all parishioners)
If appropriate for your parish, make sure pledges can be submitted online or electronically
Clergy preach about stewardship and the Annual Giving Campaign
Offer continued opportunities for the presentation and discussion of materials
Offer opportunities for lay speakers to share their thoughts about annual giving:
- Why they give
- What about the church is most important to them
- How has giving to the church changed people’s lives (their own and others’)
Provide information about the campaign in a variety of media:
- Weekly Bulletin
- Social Media
Remind parishioners of deadline for pledges
Acknowledge pledges received with a personal letter
Not only is it good manners to thank your donors, but it turns out this is the best way to remind them of how they can participate in the mission of the church and the most effective way to continue to increase giving
November - December
Annual Giving Campaign Follow-Up
Reach out to families and individuals from whom no pledge has been received in the way you determine will be most successful:
- Personal visit
- Phone call
- Email or other electronic message
Evaluate and Celebrate Work Well Done
Thank all those involved with the Annual Giving Campaign
Record what worked well and what can be improved
Analyze Campaign results
- Did the Campaign meet its goals?
- What giving trends are evident?
- How do the results of the Annual Giving Campaign help to create goals for the next pledge drive?