Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away and Hanukkah is soon to follow. Not a good time to be on a diet!
Here are 5 ideas of things you plan for now to ensure that December is a great month for cash at your synagogue:
Many not-for-profits are participating on Tuesday, December 1st, and some synagogues. I am not sure that this project fits in with the synagogue calendar. But it is a moment in time that is in the news so in some ways there is free marketing. On November 24th, post on the synagogue website and Facebook page and send an email to every congregant sharing that the synagogue is participating with #GivingTuesday. You can combine a social action project, or you can simply email the congregation again on December 1st asking for a contribution and including the link to make an online gift. Set an amount to ask, or ask for an amount with which each person in comfortable.
- December Billing
Whether this is done in the mail or via email, it is important to do it early in the month, as people will be going away later in December. Enclose a message of Hanukkah greetings, even a recipe for latkes. Encourage payment by 12/31/15 to take advantage of a 2015 income tax deduction. You don’t want it to be a cold invoice, like from the gas company. “Warm it up!”
One idea is to send out a Chanukah card with a preprinted message to every congregant, ask for contribution and enclose a return envelope. Again, the earlier in the month you can send this out, the better. So many not-for-profit organizations including universities and hospitals will be asking at this time. Even before Thanksgiving. The Hanukkah card will help this ask stand out and will hopefully make the connection with the synagogue. Mail date should be by December 3rd.
- Email, Website And Social Media
The synagogue website should have a donate button in red that reads “End of year donation”. And one to “Pay Dues Now”. Messages in the weekly enewsletter and monthly newsletter should encourage congregants to make their December payments and/or year-end contributions. Be sure that there is always a hyperlink to the synagogue’s donation page in every email.
- December 31st
I suggest sending out an email to everyone on this day that is very brief: I know you have been inundated with email and snail mail requests for contributions since Thanksgiving. This is our final reminder to include the synagogue in your year-end giving.
For those still owing on their dues/annual commitments, a similar email can be sent.
And send the email at 9:00 AM.
To complement and support these money efforts, December is also filled with opportunities for engagement. Besides at Shabbat worship on December 11th, have a community Hanukkah celebration. Christmas Day provides an opportunity for congregants to gather for movies and Chinese food, as well as for Shabbat that evening. And there are always Tikkun Olam opportunities on Christmas Day at local soup kitchens and hospitals.