Did you know that 30% of annual giving happens in December—and 10% occurs in just the last 3 days of the year? Donations to churches and other non-profits peak each December 31 from 12 PM until 7 PM, and the average gift size spikes up to 50% at year’s end.

Churches are scrambling at this time of year with Christmas cantatas and end-of-year budgeting, but it’s also the perfect time to appeal to your church community’s holiday spirit and make some financial changes moving into 2015:

1. Take a look at the systems your church is currently using.

5 End-of-Year Financial TipsAre you getting the most bang for your buck? Evaluate your financial processing service—is the bulk of giving really coming back to your church or are you paying exorbitant processing fees? Be a wise steward of your church’s finances and shop around. And what about your ChMS—is it integrated with your giving tools so your staff doesn’t have to re-enter data?

2. Provide options for people to give.

As much as you might prefer cash and paper checks, most people now only carry plastic. Making it easier for people to give in a way that’s convenient for them will lead to increased and more consistent giving. Donating online, through a mobile app, or via a kiosk is simple for your diverse congregation.

3. Make past giving information easily accessible.

Can your church community quickly pull up giving history from your mobile app? Can they print year-end contribution reports from your website? People will appreciate the convenience, the church will save money on printing costs, and your staff will save hours in a packed schedule.

4. Use this time as an additional opportunity to communicate.

· Thank donors for their support over the past year. When you’re shy of your yearly goal, it’s easy to get caught up in what you don’t have. But make sure you show appreciation to those who have faithfully supported you over the past twelve months.

· Show donors how their gifts are being used. People will be more inclined to give in the future if they know their contributions are being used wisely. Included pictures from a mission trip or provide a testimony from someone who was blessed financially.

· Communicate any existing needs. Although you want to show gratitude for what donors have already done, there’s nothing wrong with sharing continued needs and asking people to consider contributing to a specific fund.

· Remind donors that they can access this information and give in a variety of ways. Continually promote the tools your church has available, or they’ll likely go unused.

5. Provide helpful resources for donors as they tackle their tax returns.

Most people don’t know which gifts are tax-deductible or what documentation they need, so provide them with the basic information.

Check out these other resources to end 2014 strong and start 2015 right:

The Role of the Pastor in Year-End Giving

HOW TO: Engage 5 Generations of Donors and Supporters

End of the Year Church Giving