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Fearless Fundraising #19: Twelve Days of Christmas

Fearless Fundraising #19: Twelve Days of Christmas

“Fearless Fundraising” is a series on church fundraising by Charles LaFond, an Episcopal Priest, author and master potter living on a farm in New Mexico. Charles is the author of many books including Fearless Church Fundraising and now, Fearless Major Gifts: Inspiring Meaning-making. For more information, videos and model documents go to


In a few days Christmas will be over.  Well, the big parts at least.  There will, of course be the twelve days of Christmas to follow, which everyone pretends to swoon over but at which, in fact, most people simply roll their eyes and start surreptitiously slipping ornaments back into cases when nobody is looking.  Only monks really get excited about the twelve days and that is mostly because of the suspiciously named “O” antiphons…


Anywho…the thing about the 12 days of Christmas is that they are perfect for finishing up the 2017 campaign collections and gearing up for the Fall 2018 campaign.  No.  Seriously.  These twelve days are perfect for the back-room work that any effective church needs to do to raise money for mission and to inspire stewardship.


Here is my list of the twelve things clergy and lay leaders need to do on the twelve days of Christmas while they are busy singing “O” antiphons … and whatnot (…mostly whatnot…)

    1. Look over your list of pledges for 2017 and see who has not paid them.
    2. Call each person not yet paid in full and ask if there is anything you can do to help them as they make their final payments on their pledge.  Is there a problem you need to know about?
    3. Draft a collections letter which asks for the payment of the remainder of the pledge.  Many whom you call will ask you to send that.  Send it by email and by snail mail. (both) Immediately.
    4. Write thank you notes to all pledgers who did pay their pledges…they deserve to be thanked for good behavior. Doing what we say we will do is good behavior. Tell them in the letter what you did with their money.  They deserve to know.
    5. Do an analysis of the 2017 pledges (raised in 2016) and its results…average pledge, number of units pledged, groupings by amount (12 gifts at $250, etc.) and publish the report against past year’s numbers so that people (and you) know how you did.  If the clergy in your church do not do this then…ask for it.  It keeps them honest.  And busy.  Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.
    6. Plan an annual meeting which CELEBRATES your life together.  Not some dull reporting of statistics.  Have a party. Go big or go home!
    7. Call together the campaign committee for the 2018 fall campaign (to fund 2019) or make a list and start setting visits to recruit for the committee membership.  This is a face to face thing…. not a letter thing.
    8. Draft the basic 2018 strategic plan (see last week’s article) so that the committee has something to which to react and grow.
    9. Write thank you letters to all the stewardship committee members who raised 2017 money in 2016.
    10. Set goals to discuss with your Vestry or Bishop’s Committee for the 2018 fall campaign.  You need that as guidance (only a draft) for the Stewardship Committee you are busy recruiting.
    11. Call your top 10% of donors (pledgers, stewardship saints…whatever you prefer to call them) and thank them for their gift.  Sure, perhaps they are rich and can easily give the pledge…thank them anyways.
    12. Send out a save the date card for the Campaign Kick-off (a Sunday in early September) and campaign celebration parish dinner (the Wednesday night before the week of Thanksgiving) so that they are saving the dates now!  You and the Stewardship Committee can figure out the themes later, but you know the dates, so get them out there.


And Voila!  You have spent the 12 days of Christmas well!  Merry Christmas.


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