10 Ways to Maximize Your Year-End Offering
Year-end giving is a crucial time for your church. Here are 10 ways you can maximize end of the year giving in your church.
November 14, 2019
Let’s walk through 11 ways you can increase your church’s giving. The steps below are listed in order in that they build off of one another.
April 27, 2017
Talking about increasing your church’s giving is a touchy subject.
So let’s clear away the awkwardness from the beginning: When it comes to talking about increasing your church’s giving, it’s not about the act of giving per se. It’s more about building a generous church culture. A culture where your church desires to be generous with their resources because Jesus has been generous to them by giving them new life.
With this in mind, let’s walk through 11 ways you can increase your church’s giving. The steps below are listed in the order that they build off of one another. The intent of what follows is to equip you with practical ways you can unleash generosity in your church.
The foundation of your church giving is whether or not they have come face-to-face with Jesus.
We are transformed into generous people through faith in Christ. In time, as the people of your church meet Jesus, then you will see your church respond to his generosity toward them by being generous.
Preach the gospel.
Lead your people to receive God’s grace in their life. For it is God’s grace that will empower your church to become generous givers (2 Cor. 8:1–9).
If preaching the gospel is the foundation of church giving, then teaching biblical stewardship is the pillar.
Being good stewards of our resources is paramount to being a disciple of Jesus.
Lead your church through a sermon series on stewardship, provide biblical stewardship classes, or take your small groups through a series on giving.
Teaching on biblical stewardship will inform your church of their need to steward their time, talent, and treasures for the kingdom of God.
To help your church further embrace biblical stewardship, considering offering financial coaching or counseling.
Within your church, see if a certified financial planner can lead a class or have a volunteer coordinate a Financial Peace class by Dave Ramsey.
As the members of your church learn to live and love like Jesus, it’s essential to help them learn practical ways they can become the best steward of their resources. Once people know how to manage their money, they'll feel more able to give, thus helping to increase church giving.
Have you told your church “thank you"?
Have you let them know that their giving helps support the work of the local church ministry?
Do you empathize with them by telling them you understand the financial sacrifices they’re making?
As a church leader, expressing gratitude is easy to forget. The offering time during your worship service can become a task to accomplish.
Set a tone of gratitude in your church by expressing your appreciation of the church’s giving. This simple gesture will go a long way to encourage the people in your church to give.
God is at work in your church.
He is giving people new life in Christ. He is transforming people into the image of Jesus. He is restoring marriages, changing lives, and building his church.
Cast a vision of the work your church is doing in the community and around the world and how increasing church giving will help accomplish the goals you have. Highlight the work of different church ministries. Invite missionaries or representatives of ministries you support in the area to share their stories.
Sharing stories will illustrate God’s tangible work in the lives of people. These stories will encourage people to know that they are participating in God’s work by supporting the local church.
Leading by example in giving is challenging.
As a church leader, you walk a fine line of setting an example versus making yourself the hero.
Even though this is the case, it’s important to be vulnerable and let your church know that you’re sacrificing financially, too.
Now, this doesn’t mean you let people know you’re forfeiting a vacation or going out to dinner. These types of statements, even if they’re innocent or intended to encourage people, can easily guilt the members of your church into giving.
Is your church full of children?
If so, then encourage families with children to challenge their children to give. It’s best for children (like employed teenagers) to learn from a young age how to steward their resources well.
Do you have college-age students or recent graduates? Challenge them to give.
Your goal in compelling younger members to give is not to boost short-term giving. That’s not the case at all. Your goal is to cast a vision of biblical stewardship in their life from an early age.
Can people give to your church with their smartphone?
If not, you might be making it difficult for your church to give.
As of 2015, two-thirds of Americans owned a smartphone. People with smartphones carry out dozens of tasks every day on their phone — including banking.
Make it easy for smartphone users to give by providing them with a text-to-give option or mobile giving app (Tithe.ly offers these two services and more with one easy to use platform).
Giving people an opportunity to make recurring donations is essential to increase church giving. Automated giving is a simple way you can encourage regular and reliable donations.
If people are not in your worship service, then they are prone not to give. This is just the reality of human nature (and forgetfulness).
Providing an automating giving option will lead people to give when they are absent from a worship service.
If your church doesn’t have an automated giving solution, then we encourage you to check out Tithe.ly.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matt. 9:37).
God is not only at work in your church, but he’s at work in your community and around the world. Jesus is building his church, and he’s calling you and your church to participate in his work.
Do you want to support an additional missionary? Is there an organization in your community you want to help? Do you have a vision for a new ministry to serve people?
Cast a vision before the members of your church of the work God is calling you to do. Challenge them to participate in his work by not only volunteering their time and talents but by giving toward this new work.
Set a specific financial goal. Let people know the date they need to give. Celebrate different milestones along the way.
Organize short-term giving campaigns throughout the year to challenge people to give toward one-time specific causes. This can be raising support for a family within the church, meeting a need in your community, or sending gifts to a missionary you support.
In a previous blog post, I shared the different ways your church can thank donors—from automated emails to year-end giving reports. Printed donation letters also play an essential role in your church’s stewardship efforts.
Donation letters are the Swiss Army knife of your church’s gratitude arsenal. It may not be the most powerful—but it’s versatile, handy, and gets used often.
Your basic church donation letter can serve many different purposes, including:
A single, well-crafted donation letter can pull together several of these things simultaneously. Better donation letters lead to more giving, which leads to more donation letters—thus creating a cycle of on-going church generosity.
Here’s the good news—you don’t have to write an individualized letter for every person who gives to your church. That would be tough to do for even smaller churches. And most donors don’t expect you to. They’d rather you be putting their gift to better use in the community, instead of ceaselessly writing thank you notes.
With the possible exception of some unique circumstances, your church can use template language for the majority of your church donation letters. You’ll have to add in custom details like the donor’s name and gift amount, but you can write everything else in advance.
To make this even easier on you, here are a few basic church donation letter templates you can copy and paste. Keep in mind that not all of these have to be in print—you could just as easily turn some of these samples into email appeals.
The Donation Acknowledgement Letter is a basic way you can confirm and affirm a monetary gift to your church. Sending these is standard practice in church and nonprofit culture.
Dear [first name],
I want to personally thank you for your donation of [gift amount] to [church name]. We’re honored you would bless us with your generosity. Donations like yours make a big difference in the work our church is doing in the community.
Without givers like you, our church can’t have an impact or influence in our community. With your support, we’re partnering with local nonprofits, sending out global mission trips, and hosting small groups on topics that help real people like you. Together, we can make a difference.
Because we’re a tax-exempt nonprofit, you also get to write this donation off on your taxes. This letter serves as official proof of your donation, so keep it in your records come tax season. At the end of the year, we’ll also send you an annual recap with how much you’ve given to the church.
Thank you for supporting [church name]!
Not every church member realizes the importance of giving, or understand Bible verses about tithing and giving. So a Donation Request Letter helps to spread that awareness and encourage a spirit of generosity.
Dear [first name],
How are the finances in your household? That was a rhetorical question, so you don’t have to answer—besides, this is a letter so we wouldn’t hear you anyway. But we still want you to think about that question.
Money is a uniquely human issue, one we all struggle with to one degree or another. Even if you’re financially blessed, you still have the burden of stewarding your money wisely. And we believe that one of the best ways to invest your money is into the local church.
Tithing (giving 10% of your income) on a regular basis not only supports the work we do at [church name]. It doesn’t just support local missions and community growth. It also shows an obedience to God by making his work a financial priority in your life.
So if you find yourself ready to put God first in both your heart and your wallet, we encourage you to make a one-time gift or sign up to make recurring donations. That way, you won’t have to ever wonder again about the financial status of your household.
Many church donations aren’t just one-time gifts. Plenty of givers contribute monthly—and that should be acknowledged.
Use this template to correspond with recurring givers.
Dear [first name],
Thank you for being an active and faithful member of our church community. By giving to our church on a monthly basis, you’re showing that our church has a meaningful place in your heart. We just wanted to write this to let you know that you’re in our heart, too.
Donating to the church monthly allows us to preach the gospel, make disciples, and support others in our community who need help. Others like the local food bank and the nearby homeless shelter. We’re answering the cry of the needy, and it’s all thanks to contributors like you.
We earnestly appreciate your ongoing support and want to let you know we’re here for you. If there’s ever anything we can do for you and your family, don’t hesitate to reach out. You are a valued member of our church family. And you’re financial support is making a difference.
At the end of each year, it’s customary to give your church supporters a summary of their gifts. The primary reason is for tax purposes, but it’s also a way to recap everything your church has done over the past year with their support.
Dear [first name],
You’re getting this letter because you gave to [church name] at some point during the past year. That might have been a one-time gift, or recurring donations. Either way, we want to thank you for your generous support. Every contribution helps.
One of the official reasons for this letter is for tax purposes. That’s right—you get to write these donations off on your taxes. Which is why we’ve included a summary of all the contributions you’ve made to our church this year.
But the other reason for this letter is to let you know what we’ve done with the money you gave. We take stewardship very seriously, which means we value spending our time and resources wisely.
During the year, our church supported local nonprofits, sent global missions teams, and baptised quite a few people. It was a great year for us—thanks in large part to donors like you.
So thank you for your support of our church, and we hope you’ll consider continuing to contribute to our mission in the coming year.
Sometimes you need to make a more significant financial push using tried and true church fundraising ideas. Some churches call this a Stewardship Campaign or a Church Capital Campaign. Either way, the goal is to raise a certain amount of money for a big project. And typically, a solid letter of appeal is an integral part of that.
Dear [first name],
God has a plan for everyone and everything. That includes you, and it includes [church name]. None of us can fully know God’s plan—the best we can do is pray and listen for clarity. Our church leadership has been doing just that and are excited to announce our latest church project.
[Detail the outline of the major church project—this could include a building campaign, or raising support for a global mission trip. Anything specific to your church that requires a fundraising letter. Be sure to include a fundraising goal so everyone knows what you’re shooting for.]
But we can’t pull this off without your support. Whether you give to the church on a regular basis, or just attend on occasion, we’re asking you to consider contributing to this massive undertaking prayerfully. It’s something we need our entire church community’s help with.
Even if you can’t make a large gift, know that every little bit helps. It’s more about coming together as a community united behind a common cause. We hope that you’ll consider making a donation towards this great step forward that we’re making together.
It’s not enough to just copy and paste this content and send away. The key to an effective church donation letter is a touch of personalization. Follow these tips to take your donation letters to the next level:
There’s no one right or wrong way to write a donation letter or request contributions. You’ve got to do what is right for your church and congregation. But if you stick to these general tips, you’ll probably start to see some traction when it comes to giving.
Most people don’t love talking about money in church. But it’s a necessary and vital part of your church. And maximizing your efforts when it comes to donation letters will help make those conversations more comfortable. So what do you do next to put this into effect?
And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.
Tithely’s systems make it as easy as possible for people to give to your church. Now all you need to start doing is generating a culture of gratitude. There’s nothing standing in your way. Go unleash generosity in your church.
How does your church use donation letters to spread generosity? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Robert Carnes. Robert is a writer and storyteller. He's the author of The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days. A former church communicator and nonprofit marketer, Robert works as a managing editor for Orange in Atlanta.