4. Plan a Communications Strategy

Root your annual fundraising calendar in the Why. Henri Nouwen writes in A Spirituality of Fundraising, “When fundraising is done right, the person asking and the person giving come together to participate in a new thing that God is doing.”

With intentional planning, the message of your annual stewardship campaign can be consistent and resonate deeply with parishioners. The goal here is to connect and inspire! Project Resource techniques and tools for campaign communications planning include focus groups, discerning a campaign theme, developing a case for support, ministry moments, wow cards, pledge cards and online pledging, and more!

Toolbox

Ministry Moments
Including Children and Youth in Your Campaign

Sample Annual Giving Calendar

January

  • The end of last year’s annual campaign is marked with careful gift acknowledgement.
  • Thank you letters are sent.
  • The thank you letters, phone calls, and notes are simultaneously the last event of the last campaign and the first event of the next campaign.

February

  • Volunteer recruitment (See page 14 for Stewardship Committee Member Sample Job Description).
  • Vocation or calling: “that place where the world’s great need and your deep hunger meet.”
  • Clear time frame.
  • Articulated expectations.
  • Inter-generational leadership.
  • Skill-based, not need based.

March/April

  • Open staff and lay leadership input and creative conversation hosting on design, theme, content, schedule of campaign.
  • Design campaign letter system, schedule, goals, and case materials.
  • Review campaign prospect lists to determine special asks for major gifts.
  • Tell Vestry/Bishop’s Committee that you will be expecting early pledges as an act of leadership and modeling.
  • 1 year-round thanking opportunity.

May

  • Write an article and publish how the last campaign went and gjve an introduction to the next campaign. What went well? What was funded? Why was their gift valuable to mission?
  • First quarter collections/thank you letter to all donors confirming pledge and confirming amount paid and amount still due (note: all collections letters need to look like thank you letters but include pledge payment status. These letters end when the pledge is fully paid).
  • Case materials production.
  • 1 year-round thanking opportunity.
  • Brainstorming of possible Ministry Moment speaker
  • Develop list and then refine for recruitment.

June/July

  • Ministry Moment speakers are recruited.
  • Phone-a-Thon is designed and planned. Recruitment for October events begins.
  • Plan campaign kick-off: menu, volunteers, event plan, budget, and secure leader.
  • Plan campaign ending dinner: menu, volunteers, event plan, budget, and secure leader.
  • Second quarter collections/thank you letter to all paying donors, confirming pledge and confirming amount paid and pending due. No letter sent to paid pledgers.
  • 1 year-round thanking opportunity.

August

  • Campaign direct mail warm-up letters to all non-advance campaign prospects.  
  • Phone-a-Thon callers are recruited.
  • Continue campaign kick off plans.
  • Second quarter collections/thank you letter to all paying donors, confirming pledge and confirming amount paid and pending due.
  • 1 year-round thanking opportunity.

September

  • Drafting of communications: collects, bulletin announcements, and celebrant announcements (themed weekly from Ministry Moments: Learn more about Ministry Moments).
  • Campaign brochure and pledge cards direct mail sent.
  • Phone-a-Thon team coaching.
  • Stewardship Campaign kick-off.
  • 1 year-round thanking opportunity.

October

  • Encouragement Phone-a-Thons.  
  • Ministry Moments.
  • Third quarter collections/thank you letter to all paying donors confirming pledge and confirming amount paid.
  • Thank you letters are sent within 24 hours of a pledge arrival.
  • Letter notes amount of pledge and payment plan confirmation (Rector).
  • Second letter sent from Warden.
  • Handwritten note follows in lay handwritten note project in January.

November

  • Celebration Event: Mark the end of the campaign!
  • Pledge Blessing Sunday.
  • Year End letters: end of the year gift opportunities for tax benefits.
  • Fourth quarter collections/thank you letter to all paying donors confirming pledge and confirming amount paid.
  • 1 year-round thanking opportunity.

December

  • Assessment: use measurable goals. What worked? What didn’t?
  • Year-end letter and brochure sent to all donors and donor prospects (members).
  • Collect all planning information, organize for next year.
  • 1 year-round thanking opportunity.