Annual giving statements build healthy relationship or reinforce a passive nonchalance for a giver. In our series on annual giving statements we move from the why of investing in quality statements to what typical elements waste a giver’s time. A giving household receives the required tax information, but unintended consequences unravel a relationship rather than enhance in.
The Actual Statement
Most churches default to their software that generates a statement from the data base and giving records. The data is likely correct. The data misses the moment.
Most church software sells because an administrator type values the efficiency built into the software. That efficiency makes sense if the giver-church relationship is built on efficiency. Efficiency is valueless, however, to the giver-church rapport. What matters is effectiveness, and in this case, effective communication.
The actual generated statement sends messages that are church-centric rather than giver-centric. Church-centric is a lesser choice.
- Statements are transactional not transformational. People long for connectedness not a data report.
- Statements scream legal language. Givers long for links to their church. “No goods or services…” fulfills requirements but leaves people empty relationally.
- Statements allow a person to compare what they think they gave with what you think that gave. Valuable, but how many actually compare the statement with their personal accounting software? Most toss the document in a file and resurrect it again around April 15th.
If your envelope has a window in it showing the name and address, the mark is missed. The first look and touch with your communication reinforces a non-personal relationship and lessens meaning between the church and themselves. Window envelopes scream transactional and efficiency. The wrong message is delivered to the giver before the envelope is opened or just tossed in the tax file. Your communication is more like a bill disengaging the heart of the giver and missing a valuable heart connection.
Bulk mail status saves money. Many administrators gleefully count the budget savings. Bulk postage, however, sends a very strong message of non-importance. Bulk mail envelopes are opened at a much lesser rate than first-class postage.
Want to increase the opening of the statement? Do two things to prompt attention and speak value.
- Place the brightest, most fun first-class postage stamp on each envelope.
- Print the name and address directly on the envelope. Labels yelp “I and you are not important…”
Neither step is efficient. But they are effective.
What to do then with the actual statement?
Use it as a secondary resource in the communication. The statement goes into the envelope, but is the least of the two pieces of paper.
Next we look at what else you put in the envelope.