Sometimes nothing. They said 12 months, and they meant 12 months! Thank the Lord and move on, keeping them on your mailing list and in communication of course. I have been in ministry long enough to see that several current giving partners started as 1-year or ‘one-off’ donors. Stick with them.
But sometimes the donor will continue longer if they like what they hear from you. A current partner told me they “could only give for 12 months”—that was 42 months ago! When I phone them, the wife always reminds me they “cannot continue indefinitely!” But they like what I am doing, and I take an interest in them. I always pray with her on the phone.
Or try this. After 11 months:
- Phone or meet with the donor privately to say thank you. Report on progress in your ministry and the challenges as well. Be vulnerable.
- Acknowledge their 12-month commitment but that you would love for them “continue for as long as the Lord leads.” Share your hopes for the future, and invite them to be part of it.
You might be tempted to say nothing—hoping they will give past 12 months. But I don’t recommend that. Honor them by taking their giving promise seriously; talk with them about it. It is likely they will change their mind.
Bottom line: Write compelling newsletters with intriguing stories. Phone or contact the donor now and then privately to express interest in them. They can’t help but stick with you beyond 12 months!