Generosity

Do These 11 Things to Improve Your Church's Offering

Instead of letting your offering slide by as an afterthought, here are 11 things you can do to improve the offering in your church.

Do These 11 Things to Improve Your Church's Offering
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Little moments in the life of your church can make a big difference.

One of the regular moments your church will experience together is the offering.

Over the years, I’ve met plenty of pastors who dreaded this time. Instead of leaning into this moment to make the most out of it, due to their fear, they let it come and go.

They fail to give weight to the spiritual importance of giving and offering in church.

Hear me out on this: Your church’s offering is so much more than the gifts you receive.

By taking up an offering at church, your church service becomes an opportunity for you to lead the members of your church to experience a significant amount of grace, trust God with their money and possessions, and to participate in God’s work in your church.

Instead of letting your offering slide by as an afterthought, here are 11 things I’ve learned as my time as a pastor and working with churches around the world as the CEO of Tithe.ly to improve the offering in your church.

#1. Get a revelation about money

Generous giving isn’t natural for most people.

Think about it.

The first word most of us said was, “Mine!”

But as we grow in our relationship with Christ, our relationship with money changes, too. We no longer look to money as a solution to our problems or for power and prestige. We come to see that we’re only a steward of what we have.

Related: Stewardship in the Bible: What You Need to Know About Living Your Life for God

Many pastors I know are timid when it comes to talking about money from the pulpit because they don’t have a personal revelation about money. It’s hard to talk about money from the pulpit or during your offering when you’re not convicted about what God says about tithing in the Bible, generosity, and giving.

To confidently talk about money, you have to get a revelation about money from the Bible. And don’t let your personal financial situation get in the way. Like everyone in your church, you too are a disciple of Christ and will grow, in time, in your relationship with money.

#2. Know what your church wants to hear

“Can you handle the offering?”

This is a question I’ve been asked on more than one occasion because the pastor was apprehensive to talk about money.

Here’s the deal: There’s no need to be afraid.

Your church desires to live for Jesus and they want to hear what the Bible has to say about managing their money. So boldly proclaim what the Bible says!

#3. Let people know how to give

Toward the beginning of your offering time, let people know how they can give.

This reminder is something you’ll want to do every week during your offering. Give people an opportunity to get their phone ready to give with your church app, mobile giving, or online giving, or to get their cash or checkbook out.

At Tithe.ly, we provide our churches with an editable graphic they can use during their offering:

Sharing a graphic like this one above is an easy way to remind your church about the different ways they can give.

#4. Cast a vision

Your church will always have administrative costs.

From paying for your mortgage or rent, utilities, and office supplies, you’ll need money to pay your bills. But leading people to give money toward your bills isn’t inspirational. If anything, unless you’re behind on your bills, talking about covering your church’s needs is like pouring a bucket of water on a fire.

Related: 6 Must-Know Tips for Managing Your Church’s Finances

How does the financial support of your church further the Kingdom of God? Do you use donations to support local organizations or missionaries around the world? Do you have an opportunity to acquire a new building to serve as a launching pad for the gospel?

Cast a vision for your church to get excited about. Let them see how their financial support furthers the Kingdom and helps those in need, which leads me to my next point.

#5. Invite people to participate

As you cast a vision for your church, invite them to participate in God’s work.

When you prepare to “make the ask,” focus on using invitational language, like “receive your offering," “your support helps all of us to fulfill God’s call,” or “your offering makes it possible to support missionaries around the world.”

From just these few examples, the offering can be easily tied into the vision you cast for your church, and it presents the offering as an opportunity—not an obligation.

#6. Use scripture

There’s one thing you cannot miss during your offering: the Bible.

I’m not saying you have to provide a homily on giving, but at a minimum, you want to remind people of what God says about giving in the Bible at some point during the offering.

For a massive list of verses to use during your offering, I suggest bookmarking this post to keep handy: 106 Scriptures About Tithing in the Bible, Giving, and Generosity.

#7. Share stories and testimonies

Including a story will further inspire the generosity of your church.

The story you share doesn’t have to be grandiose or a huge production.

You can talk about a conversation you recently had with someone or how the church’s giving helped to support a student ministry camp, and you can read a message from one of the students.

Don’t feel obligated to include a story every week. Just aim to share something every few weeks as a way of providing your church with updates.

#8. Capture “the moment”

The time you ask people to give is what I like to call “the moment.”

Up to this point in time, people in your church may have been wrestling with whether or not to give or stressing over their financial situation. Use this moment as a way of leading people to seek the Lord as they make an offering.

Here’s an example of what I’ve said in the past:

"Hey, church.
I want you to focus on me for a moment.
We’re going to worship God with our money, and then I’m going to pray over the offering."

Regardless of what you say, your goal is to lead people to seek God, receive his grace, and give by faith and with joy.

#9. Express thankfulness

As a church leader, you can never say thank you enough.

Every offering your church receives is a sacrifice made by a member of your church. Remind them that their support is making a difference and tell them thanks at every opportunity.

#10. Prepare and practice

The offering in your church will take place every Sunday.

Don’t get caught by surprise and just have a member of your staff or volunteer mumble through the offering.

Redeem this time by preparing what you’re going to say and practicing what you’re going to say.

Get your stories ready.

Know what verses from the Bible you’re going to use.

Write down your thoughts.

#11. Give your visitors a pass

Every week during your offering, be sure to acknowledge your guests and allow them not to feel obligated to give. Taking a few moments to do this will provide a huge relief to people visiting your church and help them to feel welcomed.

Over to you

To recap what we’ve talked about, here are 11 ways you can improve your offering:

  1. Get a revelation about money
  2. Know what your church wants to hear
  3. Let people know how to give
  4. Cast a vision
  5. Invite people to participate
  6. Use scripture
  7. Share stories and testimonies
  8. Capture “the moment"
  9. Express thankfulness
  10. Prepare and practice
  11. Give your visitors a pass

Don’t be passive about the way you handle the offering in your church. It’s a few minutes of time you can redeem, lead your people to Christ, and help your church excel in the grace of giving (2 Cor. 8:7).  

What do you consider the most important tip above? Share your thoughts in the comments below.  

Dean Sweetman served as a pastor and church planter for over 30 years and he's the CEO and co-founder of Tithe.ly. When he’s not helping churches grow their giving, Dean enjoys spending time with his family and new grandson.

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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Do These 11 Things to Improve Your Church's Offering