That *IS* helpful! (To an accountant…)

December is our top month–almost double any other month. But it can fluctuate as much as 50% up and down in any given year. I praise the Lord that our other 11 months are fairly consistent.

Maybe it’s just me… I am an accountant after all. But I have to think that we all have things that “strike our fancy” but are almost irrelevant to anyone else. And maybe this is one of those. It is in the file of, “One more reason why I love TntConnect.

For me, one of the benefits of using a data-rich tool like TntConnect is that it allows me to do analysis ‘my way’, and sometimes reveal something interesting.

For example, around 1997 or 1998 I had “abandoned” a state where I had previously raised support. I found it difficult and expensive to go there, and I thought the results simply did not warrant the effort. It seemed like my energy should be invested in other, “more productive” states. Several years later, in 2002, I started using TNT, and just for fun I clicked on the Analysis View, where the default chart is “Average Monthly Gifts by State”. I was surprised to see my ‘abandoned state’ a close second to what I already knew was the #1 state. But I had expected #1 to be around double this #2, not “just higher“.

An even greater surprise came when I clicked through some more of the charts… partners by state, newsletter recipients by state, etc. In several of these, this abandoned state was actually #1!

Everything in me said it could not be true. But I studied it and chewed on it. I finally decided that maybe God was leading me to reinvest time and effort in State X. Good decision: Today, that state is by far our #1 state, generates 30% of our overall support, and is a whopping 2.5 times the #2 state.

A state I had abandoned. And God used TNT to change my mind.

Today’s revelation is a not so profound, but still helpful.

I just exported the Contribution Report to Excel to look at giving by month. I know (it is common knowledge) that December is the biggest giving month per year for both ministries and missionaries. But I was asking: “What is December for us?”

With some simply Excel-wizardry, I came up with this helpful statistic: Over the last 10 years, the lowest December was 44% higher than the average month (January to November) of that year. The highest December was 160% higher (that is 2.6 times the average). Overall, over the past 10 years, December is 92% higher than January through November.

Practically speaking, this reminds me of the important of giving our partners an opportunity to give a special gift in December, because many of them want to do so. And it also helps me plan out our year. I never want to “rely” on December (actually, I want to rely on God only!). But the extra gifts in December often have a way of helping us through leaner months (for us: April, July, September, and November).


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