If you don’t know how to make up a lost offering due to weather cancellations you might not make budget this year.  The recent events of two hurricanes hitting our nation has increased our awareness of how weather can impact our lives.  What few think about, except perhaps your treasurer, how cancelling a service can impact whether or not you make budget this year.  The truth is many of your members will forget their normal gift to your church and will never make it up.  Thus every time you have to cancel a service due to snow, ice, hurricanes or whatever else the weather throws at us we must be prepared.   Are you ready?

It is not IF bad weather will happen on a weekend but WHEN will that weekend happen?  In the south the mere mention of bad weather keeps people at home on a Sunday even if the ice, snow or hurricane did not happen.  As we all know, the fewer people in the chairs the less in the offering plate.  So, this post is dedicated to help you weather inclement weather!

First, you must prepare ahead of time.  At some point in your future you will face a weekend of bad weather and you will have to decide how to deal with that.  Most churches have a cancellation policy for bad weather.  Few have a plan for how to make up the offering.

Build the infrastructure and tools that will help you offset a weather related weekend.  Here are the basic tools you need in place…

First, you need letters and emails already written and ready that only need editing.  I have clients that have hard copies already printed and on the shelf ready to mail at the first sign of bad weather.  Get my e-book, “Snowed Out: A Plan to Make Up a Weather Impacted Offering Weekend,” at Snowed Out  I have all the samples and plans you need even if you don’t have snow but are battling hurricanes.

Next you need to have printed and ready envelopes that are addressed to your office and contain a postage paid metered stamp.  This way you only pay if they send it back.  You might think snail mail is old school but it remains the number one means of collecting donations for charities in America.  So, let’s use what works.

Finally, you need to assure that you have an online giving system set up that is easy to access and use.  Online giving is the key to capturing immediately dollars that will help you make up that lost offering.  If you don’t have online giving check out, http://charisgivingsolutions.com/

Secondly, prepare your members ahead of time about the possibility of inclement weather and ask for their gift ahead of the storm.  With all our technology now we have a good indication when poor weather is approaching.  So through all your communications platforms get the word out about possible cancellations of your services AND encourage members to give.  If you have the tools above all ready in your tool box it is easy to accomplish.

The last step is a post storm strategy.  Sometimes the weatherman is just wrong and the storm they said would not hit you did hit you.  So, have a post cancellation plan of how you will encourage members to give so you can make up some of the lost offering as a result of the bad weather.

The key is to have a strategy set and in place ahead of time and then work your plan.  Are you ready for the next weather impacted offering weekend?  Whether we like it or not the weather will send you one so get ready now!

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach