10 Ways to Maximize Your Year-End Offering
Year-end giving is a crucial time for your church. Here are 10 ways you can maximize end of the year giving in your church.
November 14, 2019
Don’t base your church giving strategy on old wives tales and twisted statistics. Use this informed, common sense approach instead. Online church giving and superstition go hand and hand.
May 15, 2019
When churches use a digital giving software, here’s what they want:
But here’s the kicker:
There are amazing digital giving companies that nearly double church giving year-over-year for their churches that offer premium features with flexible plans.
How can you tell the good digital giving software from the bad?
It all comes down to this:
Debunking the myths about digital giving that could be leading your church into a financial trap.
They’re both non-profit
But there are major differences in the way non-profit organizations relate to their donors than the relationships church members have with their church's. For example, a global charity that does missions work won’t gather together once a week for a weekly one-hour meeting.
Your church mobile app should be the command central of sermon notes, weekly small group logistics, bake sale needs, volunteer vacancies, and prayer requests. This will keep users coming back to the app.
The regularity of church app use in the local church makes it an indispensable tool for churches to use in order to set up recurring giving, ask for cause-specific gifts, and give donors options to give to a special event in the church.
Unlike a non-profit organization, there are significant benefits a church receives from a church app that a non-profit cannot.
A church app is one way you can facilitate member giving and build community in your church. Your church app will maximize engagement, grow community, and boost giving in your church.
P.S.: Most non-profits don’t have apps, but do have websites, which doesn’t mean that donors prefer websites over apps.
While a recent online giving study reports that mobile giving only takes up 4% of the global donation pie, it indicates that text-to-give only has 1%.
Again—it’s important to note that reporting how people give does not indicate anything directly about what users prefer. This is a false inference that any statistician would laugh at. How people give indicates what non-profits are using, not what users prefer.
In 2018, 21% of the churches we serve, which now exceeds 10,000, used SMS giving at least once. Does this mean that 21% of people prefer text-to-give? Not necessarily. But it does show us that people will give via text when provided the opportunity.
Within these churches, the number of people who give via text-to-give is significantly higher than some would lead you to believe. For example, in 2018, here are the percentages of unique donors who made an SMS gift:
Text-to-give isn’t something you can just sweep under the rug.
It’s proven to be a significant channel of giving for many of the churches we serve, and it has helped countless other givers taste the joy of giving for the first-time.
“Text $1 to this number to donate toward this campaign.”
For every online transaction, there is a processing fee.
Other companies, like Tithe.ly, provide your church members with the option to cover the processing fee.
From North Coast Church doubling their online giving to a 122-year-old Lutheran Church experiencing a 15% increase in giving, church after church is proving that digital giving software increases revenue, even after negligible fees.
On average, churches who use Tithe.ly increase their giving by 165% in the second year.
This is a combination of providing online giving software that’s easy like Sunday morning for your church members to use, as well as these churches following the tips and advice we share in Tithe.ly GROW, a program that will teach you how to implement Tithe.ly’s giving platform to boost donations.
A transaction fee is no different than charging a church a monthly fee for providing the digital giving solution. Yet, most church members would have no qualms with a church purchasing a giving software.
Tithe.ly’s digital giving platform costs $0, and it enables you to streamline recurring digital giving so that your church can experience the kind of growth that North Coast did.
Churches who adopt digital giving without helping the church buy into its usefulness run the risk of making their digital giving tools look like a novelty—a trinket—rather than a powerful tool that can bring the church closer together as a partnership of believers fighting for a common cause.
But the data suggests that by partnering with individual donors through recurring giving tools, the year-long value of 10 serious donors can significantly overshadow any one-time gift from a corporate or institutional partner.
The fact is that millennials are a growing donor base—not only because they’re still building wealth, but because they’re still becoming part of social institutions worth giving to. A recent study found that nearly 14% of all money donated in 2017 was from 34 million millennials (NextGen).
While there may be some technophobic maturing donors who hold the purse strings to the church, the fact is that young money is starting to mature, and younger donors are starting to give more and more.
Automated digital giving software is necessary for a church to capitalize on a growing donor base who, over the next 5 years, will have more of a motivation to give and resource pool from which to give.
As you strategize how to grow donations in your church, don’t make the mistake of using a “cash only” model (even if you accept checks and bank transfers, that’s essentially a “cash only” model with frills).
Look at businesses that only accept cash and checks.
And don’t buy the myth sold by fancy marketers in the digital giving space that paying a high monthly premium is better than paying a few cents per dollar in giving fees.
Don’t listen to these unfounded myths about digital giving, and check out Tithe.ly’s high-feature, affordable, flexible, clean digital giving solution today.
The proof will be in your growth.
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.