By Lee Gagen
Director of Individual and External Donor Relations, Southern New England Conference, UCC
As we start a new year, we are given the gift of opportunity. A fresh start. A chance to think about new things we want to try and old things we want to do differently. This is especially true for those of us who are responsible for fundraising.
When the craziness of end-of-year giving winds down, I make it a practice to carve out time to organize my thoughts around stewardship planning. This process allows me to set goals, take inventory of stewardship activities, and most importantly, see the bigger picture for the upcoming year. I encourage you to find the time to plan for the next year’s fundraising.
When you sit down to think about fundraising for the next year, remind yourself that stewardship happens year-round – not just during the month or two of a giving/pledge campaign. As you think of the upcoming year, it may seem daunting. I suggest breaking up the year into pieces – be that months, seasons, quarters, or whatever makes the most sense for you!
Below, I’m including some things that are basics that either you are likely already implementing or you should make a priority for this year:
After accounting for these technical aspects of stewardship, you’re in a space where you have the ability to take a deeper look at stewardship in your organization/congregation. This is the true key to success! Beyond the monthly to-dos, it is essential that your congregation’s committees responsible for stewardship, mission, generosity, fundraising etc. are in conversation about your goals for the upcoming year. Ask yourselves:
What I have outlined here includes mainly the practical items common to most congregations. I hope that this is a helpful starting point to get you thinking and talking about how your church does stewardship. This year. Next year. And into the future. Like much of the work of the Church, stewardship is an evolving practice and to be successful, we who do the work must be constantly assessing and adapting!
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