Generosity

4 Ways to Build a Culture of Generosity In Your Church

Generosity goes further than just the occassional gift to your church, or even the regular tithe. It’s a way of life that Jesus has called us to live.

4 Ways to Build a Culture of Generosity In Your Church
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Generosity goes further than just the occasional gift to your church, or even the regular tithe. It’s a way of life that Jesus has called us to live.

"You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God." —2 Corinthians 9:11

Generosity isn’t just about money either. We are called to bear one another’s burdens, whether they be financial, spiritual, or physical. (Galatians 6:2)

So how do you, as a church leader, cultivate a culture of generosity that goes beyond the occassional call for tithes and offerings?

Challenge Your People With Random Acts of Kindness

Teaching about tithing and asking for donations is a must, but if you truly want your congregation to be generous people, then challenge them to do good in the community.

Romans 12:10 says we should “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Equip them with ideas for random acts of kindness:

Pay It Backward — challenge your people to pay for the car behind them in the drive-thru.

Restaurant Ambush — When you’re out at a restuarant and you’re about the pay your check, find another family or a couple who hasn’t paid yet and tell your waiter you’d like to pay for their table as well. It’s better to do it anonymously and just let the holy spirit do its work.Community Service — Encourage your small groups to get together to make sandwiches or put together bags of snacks and water. Then deliver them to construction sites, to the homeless, or anyone else outside on a hot day. This can be a fun activity for groups and families to do together on the weekends.Plan for Excess — Families and community groups love to head to the park on a sunny day. They’ll often grill up some burgers or hotdogs and have a picnic. Encourage your people to buy a few extra packs of hot dogs next time they head to the park. Then grill them out and start handing them out. It won’t cost them but a few bucks extra, but it could end up making someone’s day when they get a free hot dog.

The key is to not treat this like a campaign, where everyone does good one week and pats each other on the back. Make this a way of life at your church by continually sharing ideas for being generous in the community.

Ask your people to share about what they’ve done on social media. Then challenge them to outdo one another, and celebrate the wins. You can talk about those stories from the stage on Sundays, in videos, and everywhere you can. Not as a way to get praise, but as a way to encourage others to do good.

Live By Example

If you want your people to be generous, then you must be generous. As a pastor, and as a church, give away more than you receive. Don’t be afraid to promote what you are doing either. You can’t expect people to see your generosity and catch on, so explain it to them and ask them to promote it too. If you’re giving something away, tell them why and ask for their help to share it far and wide.

Share a Starbucks Card — One easy and public way to be generous with your followers online is to share a Starbucks card so people can grab free coffee throughout the week. Just create a Starbucks card online and post a screenshot of the barcode so people can use it to pay. All it takes is $20, but you can spend as much as you’d like. Here’s a tutorial on how to do it. You can also do this with a Dunkin Donuts card, Chick-Fil-A, or any restaurant that has mobile gift cards.

Share Your Resources — Be generous with your resources as well. If you’ve created a great sermon series campaign, a helpful video, engaging social media images, or even a study guide, consider sharing it with others online and encouraging other churches to use them for free. Show your people that the resources you create with their tithes and offerings are build for a greater purpose than just your local community. You don’t have to be a huge megachurch to post your resources online. In fact, the majority of churches and pastors out there will probably appreciate it more if it comes from a church like theirs.

Share Inspiring Content

Continually share content that is helpful and inspiring for your followers and members to learn practical ways to better manage their life and finances. Whether that be through social media, training classes, brochures, or all of the above.

It doesn’t always have to be content that you create either. Don’t be afraid to share what is already out there, from trusted sources in the media, financial organizations, other churches, parachurch organizations and more.

When you fill your feeds with helpful content like this on a consistent basis, people will see that you are serious about generosity and that it’s not just something that matters a few times a year.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Ask

Lastly, don’t be afraid of the good ‘ol ask. God calls us to be generous and to give tithes and offerings. Don’t rob your congregation of the joy of giving because you are too afraid of what they’ll think when you ask for donations. Be honest and open, but be bold and confident.

Churches who regularly talk about giving and generosity in a biblical context often see a steady increase in consistent donors. If you’re passive with your ask, they’ll be passive with their giving.

If you only ask one time a year, people will think they only have to give one time a year. Teach them that it’s not about the money, but about the lifestyle that God has called them to live.

It also helps to make it easy to give as well. Digital giving is on the rise. If you’ve implemented solutions from Tithe.ly or anyone else, here are some helpful ideas to implement when launching a new giving platform.

We hope these ideas have been helpful for you and your church. It takes time to change a culture, so consistency is key. Try something this week, then try something else the next, and continue until your people catch on. In the end the results will be worth it for your people, and worth it for the Kingdom.

Why Write Church Donation Letters?

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:

  • Acknowledging that you received a donation
  • Thanking the giver for being generous with their finances
  • Sharing other ways the person can support your church
  • Allowing the donor to write the gift off on their taxes
  • Encouraging supporters to make recurring donations
  • Requesting future donations from church members

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.

Church Donation Letter Samples

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.

1. Donation Acknowledgment Letter

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]!
Sincerely,
[your name]

2. Donation Request Letter

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.
Sincerely,
[your name]

3. Monthly Giving Letter

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.
Sincerely,
[your name]

4. Year-End Giving Letter

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.
Sincerely,
[your name]  

5. Church Fundraising Letter

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.
Sincerely,
[your name]

Tips when writing church donation letters

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:

  • Examples: Add specific examples of how your church will use the donation. Tell a story about the work your church is doing in the community and connect that with giving.
  • Personalization: For regular donors, don’t be afraid to add a short, handwritten personal note. This shows that you’ve singled them out with praise.
  • Timeliness: Sending donation letters quickly reminds people you’re thankful for them. But this also takes organization and efficiency. All the more reason to use pre-written templates.
  • Storytelling: Everything is better with stories—including donation letters. Weave in a specific narrative of how your church is making a difference and how the money will be used.

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.

What’s next?

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?

  • Customize these letters: Take the samples above and make them work for your church. Personalize the content. Remove the stuff that doesn’t sound genuine and add in stuff that does. Remember that these are just a starting point.
  • Create some systems: Develop processes that make it easy for you to replicate sending donation letters. Use a letter template that allows you to drop in names and details. Then develop guidelines for when these letters will be sent out.
  • Empower a champion: Find out who is going to be responsible for making these letters happen. Rather than thinking of this as adding more work to their plate, think about how you can elevate their work. This could be a staff member, or a volunteer.
  • Start sending: All of this will be for nothing if you don’t actually send out the letters. Take the time to get it right and get them into the hands of your church donors.

And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.

We provide several different ways your church members can support your church financially—from online giving, text to give solutions, and giving kiosks.

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.

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4 Ways to Build a Culture of Generosity In Your Church