Put the Challenge in the Holiday Appeal

by Dr. Jay Krause

As is the case with many of you, we just completed our annual “Holiday Appeal” here at Lutheran High. It was a great success and one that will bring many blessings to our school throughout this year and beyond. Now for the twist…this was the second time in the last four years we used a Challenge grant to achieve our goals…both of the years of the Challenge achieved far greater results than the other years (I have been interested in studying these effects for some time now). Here is what we did:

Identify the largest donors to your organization and look at their history of giving, especially around the holidays.

Look at what has been their main focus to support within your school.

Identify which donor would be passionate about “challenging” people to match a gift that they would be willing to give. Identify a donor who is known to your school community.

Build your appeal letter around that donor and their passion for your school and its ministry success. Include all avenues of social media when announcing it.

The Head of School/Executive Director/Principal/CEO must meet personally with the largest donors in your school to solicit an ask face-to-face. Take the donor with you to enhance to story.

Celebrate the blessings and results of your effort!

I have been here at Lutheran High for four years now and set this study up right after I got here where we would do two “routine appeals” (the usual letter, etc.) and two appeals where we added the “Challenge” with the donor. The challenge appeals brought in twice as much to our efforts as the routine appeal. Why not do a challenge every year then experience shows that if you always say you have a challenge then the special feeling and uniqueness of contributing to something that makes an impact goes away. ARE YOU UP TO THE CHALLENGE?

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Dr. Jay Krause is the Principal at Metro-East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville, Illinois. He can be reached at jay.krause@melhs.org.