Health and Growth

3 Social Media Tips for Small Churches

Aimee Cottle of Fishhook shares three strategies small churches can use to harness the power of social media as a ministry tool.

3 Social Media Tips for Small Churches
by

As a small church, the best thing you can do for your social media presence is to stop posting.

That wasn’t a typo.

You heard me right.

Social media is less about how often you post and more about what you say. It’s about quality over quantity.

So don’t worry about posting at the same time every day. Stop thinking about all the posts you’ve made that no one has commented on or shared. Forget about that one person in your congregation who always points out the typo in your Monday morning post. Rather, take a minute to think about why your church needs social media in the first place.

In this blog post, I’m going to outline three strategies small churches can do to harness the power of social media as a ministry tool.

#1. Pick one platform

Often, we find churches struggling to keep up with posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. While they want to create a successful and consistent social media schedule, they tend to quickly find themselves overwhelmed, stressed out, and feeling like nothing is working. 

Does this sound like you?

Stretched in too many directions?

Trying to do so many things that it feels like you're failing to do any of them well?

Using social media, but getting frustrated that it doesn't seem to be doing anything? 

Our advice is to focus your attention.

Pick one social media platform and pour your time, energy and resources into developing it as a ministry tool. Our top recommendation for small churches is Facebook.

Related: How to Use Facebook for Your Church: 9 Proven Tips to Grow Your Reach and Increase Engagement

There are over two billion people on Facebook!  And, based on recent research, those people are spending between 25-40 minutes there every day. Choosing Facebook as your platform will give you access to the most people and the most options for connecting with them. But, even within Facebook, there are multiple options. So, here’s a quick rundown of each social media tool and how we believe the church can best use it:  

  • Facebook Pages: This is your welcome mat. It’s the place where people will stumble upon you. Focus on creating simple, inspirational content that will help people find the love and hope of Jesus.

  • Facebook Groups: This is your living room. Facebook Groups are  where the people already connected to your church can connect with each other, meet new people and dive deeper into their faith.

  • Facebook Messenger: This is a great place to start conversations and grow relationships. It’s powerful when you give the people of your church the opportunity to connect with your leaders and staff members. Use it for prayer requests, check-ins and volunteer recruitment and development.

  • Instagram: The Instagram platform is where you can really rally your congregation while also reaching out  to your community. Use stories to show people what it’s like behind the scenes and paint a more authentic picture of what it’s like to be involved at your church. Then, use hashtags to reach out  to your community.  

  • Twitter: Twitter is good for pastors to establish a leadership presence online. It will be difficult for your church to use this platform as a way to build relationships because that’s not really what it’s created for.

#2. Decide why you’re there

What kind of tool do you want social media to be for your church? How do you want your congregation, people in your community and even people throughout the country or world to engage with it? 

If you really want to use Facebook (or any social media platform) as a ministry tool, you’ll need a strong social media strategy. A great place to start is to ask yourself, “ How do  we measure  success?”  Here are three  metrics you should measure:

  • How many times did we show people the hope and love of Jesus?
  • How many conversations did we have or initiate this week?
  • How did we paint a better picture of what it’s like to be part of this church?

#3. Know your audience

Think about your audience as individual people—not as a massive group

  • Who are they?
  • What struggles do they have?
  • What does your church have to offer them  to help them through their  challenges?
  • How are you going to share that with them?

Thinking about who you’re trying to reach on social media will help you to serve them in a real and tangible way.

Over to you

Knowing what platforms you’re focusing on, how you define success and who you’re trying to reach will help you get off the hamster wheel that social media can become and tap into all the power it can bring to your ministry.

If all this still feels daunting, here’s our advice: Give it a go.

Know that your community and your audience will need something unique from you and it might take some trial and error to figure out what that is. Find a few people from your congregation who understand social media and ask them to help you pilot a few things.

And, here’s my favorite tip for churches: Everything can be deleted. So, don’t be afraid!

Happy social media-ing!

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Aimee Cottle. Aimee is the director of marketing at Fishhook, a communications agency that collaborates with churches.

Join thousands of churches who trust Tithe.ly with their online giving and mobile giving solutions.

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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3 Social Media Tips for Small Churches