4 Ways to Implement Remote Work with Your Church Staff
These four critical strategies could revolutionize the way church staff works.
December 9, 2019
Transform your church welcome images from place-holders to growth-boosters with these 7 best practices.
July 29, 2019
Church welcome images don’t seem like a deep aspect of church.
We often delegate the church welcome images to the 14-year-old with the growing Instagram account or the youth pastor.
But church welcome images are more than an aesthetic emblem we use to stylize our churches.
They actually say something.
And the thoughtfulness that we do (or don’t) put into church welcome messages can be the very make-or-break soft messaging that prompts newcomers to return for a second visit or compels them to try out alternative church options.
In this article, we will break down seven practices that can help you craft the perfect church welcome image, as well as seven welcome images that are clearly the product of these practices.
These seven practices have been tested and proven to boost engagement in churches.
Implement these principles if you want to boost newcomer sign-ups, member engagement, and retention of welcome-relevant information.
Make sure that your welcome message communicates something in particular.
Obviously “Welcome!” is the obvious choice for what to communicate with a “Welcome Image,” but it’s much more effective if you take this one step further.
What sense do you want people to have when they walk into your sanctuary and see the welcome image on the screen?
Do you want them to feel comforted, at home, excited, informed, or helped?
Most pastors will say: All those things!
But you can’t communicate every positive emotion in a single image.
Create a welcome image strategy that allows you to hone down your welcome image message for each service.
Ask yourself and your communications team some key diagnostic questions:
Youth are often more plugged in to what will attract adults than the adults on church staff.
Chalk it up to youthfulness, media consumption, or just plain adults becoming out of touch, youth very often have an eye for aesthetics and messaging that could serve as a simple litmus test for whether your welcome images cross a line into “trying too hard,” “too tacky,” or “way too outdated.”
This doesn’t mean you have to let your youth run your communications team.
But it’s worth getting their two cents if it means getting a higher retention rate for your newcomers.
If there’s a successful church in your area with amazing design, find their communications pastor online and ask him for advice about creating your own church welcome images.
Most growing churches are happy to network with other churches, share ideas, and collaborate to create a culture of excellence among churches in the area.
There is something to be said for “script” font—that is, digital font that looks like it was handwritten.
There is also something to be said for odd variations with exaggerated serifs, overt blockiness, and modern thin letter stems.
However, it’s important to remember that welcome images aren’t an art contest—their primary function is readability, and their secondary function is messaging.
If your visitors and members need to squint to understand your welcome image, it needs to be revised.
You should direct people to your website on your welcome image.
Sometimes, a website can distract from a time-sensitive or seasonal message. But most often, people appreciate being guided to more information.
There is a reason that people show up to church—and it’s that they want to be connected. You can make this easy by including a URL in readable, contrasted font in a way that blends well with the overall design of the image. Just make sure that the URL doesn’t distract from the primary message of the image, unless the primary message is: “Visit our website!”
This is a bold message, and could work on the right occasion, but shouldn’t be your message every Sunday, as it will exhaust people with self-referential messaging. People want to be encouraged, uplifted, and invited, and in a world full of “clickable” ads, web-oriented messaging can feel a bit like the exhausting advertising that exists everywhere outside the church.
There should be some call to action in your welcome image.
People often show up early to church, and in their few minutes before the service, they may find themselves with idle hands.
If this is the case, their eyes will naturally drift toward the welcome image, in which case a call to action of some kind—whether it is something in the bulletin, on your website, or during the service—will be appreciated so that they can better follow along with the service.
Again, not every welcome image can do this—but this works especially well if you have a rotating welcome image.
Make sure that if you have new visitors, they can’t enter and exit your church without being asked for their information several times.
Some people are more private, and prefer not to give their information. This is perfectly fine, and they most likely won’t be offended that you’ve asked for their personal information (they’re used to it).
The best way to capture visitor information is to have multiple opportunities to enter the same information.
It’s time to take a look at real-life church welcome image examples.
Each of these examples represents a different genre of welcome image (from Creationswap).
Use them as inspiration for your own church’s welcome image strategy.
If you think deeply about your church’s welcome image strategy, you will quickly see the return on investment in the form of newcomer and current member engagement.
People like to prepare their hearts for worship before church.
Your welcome image can be an aid for them to do this more deeply by connecting them to the local church.
Most people in church are exhausted from their work week and are taking the only 5 minutes they have throughout the whole week to think about church.
Your church welcome image strategy can make that 5-minutes highly efficient and effective.
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.