4 Ways to Implement Remote Work with Your Church Staff
These four critical strategies could revolutionize the way church staff works.
December 9, 2019
October 8, 2019
Church connection cards are the single tool that plugs a new visitor into your church and puts them on the path to becoming a first time member.
If your church connection cards are sparse, unavailable, or not easily accessible, the number of first-time visitors who become engaged members could be far lower than you’d think.
It’s important for church leaders to craft a connection card that’s easy to fill out, gives the church the most information possible in order to complete a competent follow-up, and is highly accessible to everyone who walks through the doors of your church.
Here, we’re going to detail the exact elements you need to create the kind of connection card that enables your church to follow up personally with every single person who steps foot in your sanctuary.
Your church connection card should have physical and digital versions available. If you only have physical church connection cards, you are limiting the people who will fill out a card to those who can find a pen, reach for a card, and actively search out an opportunity to give their information to the church.
Give people a reason to fill out your connection card.
A free lunch with a church staff at Chipotle.
A gift card to Starbucks.
Whatever you need to do to get the contact information of the people who visit your church, offer that.
Make it clear on the connection card and make it clear from the stage:
“Everyone who’s new here, we’d love to offer you a $10 Starbucks gift card as our way to say ‘Welcome to our church!’ when you fill out our connection card. There’s a physical card in the seat in front of you, or you can fill out a digital form at yourchurchname.com/connect. We can’t wait to meet you!”
On a digital connection card, all users need to do is press “Submit.” But your physical connection card should have instructions written on the top:
“When you’ve completed this connection card, just slip it in the wooden box on your way out the door and we’ll email you!”
The name is self-explanatory.
You don’t want an email with no name.
One of the reasons the name is important is that you want to be able to touch base with someone personally. If you only have their email, and it’s firstname.lastname@example.org, then you can’t write them a personalized email. “Hey, Guitar … Hero!” No.
On your digital form, make the name entry a required field, and make it the top field on your physical form.
Email is the second most important field of your connection card.
Following up via snail mail hampers your follow-up process, and it makes it difficult for your visitors to get the information they’re looking for as efficiently as possible.
On your digital form, you also need to make this a required field so that you are able to automatically send them a confirmation email with introductory information about your church and a welcoming note from your pastor.
Some people are uncomfortable giving away their phone number, bust most people are understanding of the fact that, in formal contexts like business and church, genuine connections and efficient communication require phone contact.
This is a debated issue, but it’s actually a best practice to make the phone number a required field as well. On your digital form, make sure that those who submit connection cards are required to enter their phone number so that you can give them a personal call during the week to get to know them better.
A person’s address is important information.
One of the reasons you want someone’s address on their first-time connection card submission is so that you don’t have to redundantly ask them for more information to enter into your church management system at a later date.
However, this shouldn’t be a required field on your digital form. Some people are uncomfortable giving out their physical address to new people, and it’s not an essential piece of information for setting up a visitor on a track to become an engaged member.
In order to respect their privacy, you can encourage them to enter their address, and yet not require them to enter their address (or tempt them to enter their business address instead) to complete filling out the form.
One way to get more people to enter their email addresses is to offer them something extra for their email address—a welcome basket, a second book, or some other second-tier incentive that prompts them to think: “Yeah, I’d love to receive that.”
Determining a visitor’s marital status and number of children helps you segment your new visitors and connect them with the right people. If your visitor is a single person, they’re not too concerned about childcare. If your new visitor has a family of 5, it might be appropriate for the children’s pastor to send them an email with information about registering their kids for children’s church and Sunday school.
If your new visitor is single, you can send them emails about your youth, singles, young adults, or professionals ministries to get connected with.
Students are a different kind of visitor. Students are, by nature, transient. If you’re in a college town, they’ll often leave to visit home for long periods of time. If you’re not in a college town, they’ll likely be off to college for long seasons. If they’re in town for the long haul because they’re in your country on a visa, then you’ll want to make a special connection with them to get them plugged in with a family in your church.
All of this information helps you to better assess how to follow up and add value to every single person who walks in you church.
Make sure that next to your request for the visitor’s student status, you also ask which school they attend. Perhaps there is a community or family in your congregation that knows people at that same school to whom you could connect them.
People who are new to a church are often in a season of transition. This can be a very spiritually strenuous time. They are likely in need of prayer. They are likely under stress. They are likely hungry for community.
Ask them how you can pray for them. This not only enables you to know them better, but can spark a vibrant prayer community within your leadership team for the new visitors in your church.
While this may seem like an intrusive request, most people who read this request for their birthday as a form of care: “Maybe they’ll do something for me on my birthday!”
If your church communications team has their business in order, you will absolutely have a system to send people cards and encouragements on their birthday.
People often don’t mind volunteering this information, and it gives you more data to enter into your church management system.
People attend new churches because they are spiritually interested. They often desire to talk to someone about their story that led them to your church’s front doors.
This information will be gold for whoever follows up with each visitor. They can get a sense of where that person is spiritually so that they can better minister to them. You’ll want to follow up with a new Christian (or non-Christian) differently than a couple that have been Christians for 50 years who are new to the area.
Every church wants more volunteers. Logging volunteer interest is a great way to tag new visitors to team leads who can follow up with them about getting plugged in, becoming members, and getting to know new people through volunteer contexts.
This information provides another connection point for whoever follows up with your visitor. Did they hear about you from a radio ad? Facebook video?
If they heard about your church from a friend, perhaps you could invite that friend to a three-person lunch to make the new visitor feel more comfortable.
Use this information as a way to learn more about your new visitor and how you can best serve them.
These connection card elements each represent critical data that your church should be collecting from new visitors.
Don’t leave anything off of your connection card.
Put digital kiosks on iPads in your foyer.
Give out the connection card freely to new users.
Make it available to everyone as frequently as possible so that you have the highest number of opportunities to get interested people plugged into your church community as quickly as possible.
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.