Email Fundraising for Churches: 5 Steps to Creating a High Response


Email Fundraising for Churches: 5 Steps to Creating a High Response

When it comes to raising money, "email fundraising" or sending emails to your email list, will outperform most other digital marketing tactics—including social media.

Here are just a few statistics that prove our point:

  • According to research conducted by Chief Marketer, email’s ROI (Return on Investment) was 28.5% compared to 7% for direct mail
  • Email has an average ROI of $38 for every $1 spent
  • Based on research conducted by McKinsey, the average order value for businesses was three times higher than social media

If you are interested in increasing the giving at your church or you’re raising funds for a specific campaign, then a simple—yet often overlooked—tactic you can use is sending an email.

Before you get started, it’s important to know a few fundamental principles of writing an email for fundraising. Here are five essential email fundraising tips. 

#1. Write concise emails

In your emails, focus on attention. 

You see, there’s a good chance people will not read the entirety of your email. More than 55% of the people you send your email to will spend 15 seconds or less reading what you wrote. So, you don’t have a ton of time to make your point. 

What’s the purpose of your email? What’s the one thing you want people to do after reading your message? Whatever your answer is to these questions, make sure you clearly and concisely let people know, which leads us to the next point. 

#2. Clarify your call to action

You need to make your call to action easily accessible, and not buried in a mountain of text or images. Without a clear call to action (CTA) your email fundraising efforts will fail.

The calls to action you add can be text-based or image-based, like a clickable button. With your calls to action, it’s a good idea to consider adding it more than once and include it in the introduction of your email. 

#3. Choose the right sender

You want people to open your emails, right? 

Well, apart from writing an irresistible subject line that demands to be opened, the next best thing you can do is choose the right sender. 

For your church, this can be the pastor, a staff member, volunteer leader, or the church name itself. There are pros and cons to choosing the name of an individual versus the name of your church. To find out what works best for you, consider running tests (what’s called A/B testing) to see what sender name leads to the highest open rate. 

#4. Optimize the preview text

In your inbox, you will see who an email is from (sender), the subject line, and, depending on what email service you use, you will see a preview of the email. The point of the preview text of an email is to capture your attention and compel you to open the sender's message.

The preview text of an email is an integral part of real estate you don’t want to forget. In your fundraising emails, be sure to provide a preview text. If you’re not doing so already, then you should notice an increase in your open rates when you start adding them.

#5. Keep track of your emails

As you ramp up your email fundraising, it's essential for you and your team to keep track of how well they are performing. And don’t worry. This isn't complicated.

To get started, here are the few things you should measure:

  • Email list size
  • Number of opens
  • Number of clicks

There are additional metrics you can track. But these three metrics will let you know whether or not the emails you send are being read and acted upon.

Expert Tips on How to Effectively Launch a New Online Giving Tool

Make it accessible so people can give in the way that is most comfortable to them. Don't make it hard for people to give money.
Some people like to give online, some like mobile, some like text. Whatever they like, let them give in that way if you can.
Brady Shearer
Talk about it every single week. Consistently promote it on every platform. 
Be patient. We all resist change.
Michael Lukaszewski
Launch it to your staff, your leaders, and your volunteers (in that order) and help those groups use it before you launch it publicly.
Teach it in your new member class.
Allow for people to sign-up right on the spot via their mobile phone (or through a laptop or iPad for those that don't have a mobile device handy).
Justin Dean
On launch weekend, have volunteers and staff accessible with iPads to walk people through how to set up an account and get recurring giving configured.
Daniel Irmler
On a regular basis, tell stories from members who are using and loving it. 
You don't don’t need a big production value shoot. Keep it simple by using an iPhone (horizontal) and a decent mic.
Invite your congregation to take out their phones and download the mobile giving app right in the service.
Nik Goodner
Explain the why behind the change and highlight the benefits of the new system. 
People like to be "on the team".
Kevin Ekmark
I always tell people, "you need to clean your house before you invite friends over". It's crucial that your giving platform is easily found, whether it's on the web or in the church. 
On the web, making sure that your website is mobile friendly (Google and Bing both recommend mobile responsive design) can be a huge help. You can also incorporate bots from Facebook or a service like Intercom to help walk people through online giving on your website. When necessary, a human can jump in and help too. This helps complete the process from being found online to completing the online giving.
Logan Fields
Tell them the real reasons. Giving members are concerned with what's best for the church and not just what they individually prefer. Transparency.
"This platform will allow us to better manage finances and spend less staff time on the books and more on people." etc. The temptation is to treat members like consumers who we need to impress instead of team members. Treat them like equals who you assume are interested in what's best for the church/ mission and people will likely rise to it.
Kenny Jahng
Launch a $3.16 campaign. Ask people to all give just $3.16 to a weekly or bi-weekly blessing fund. Then, pick one person or cause to bless IN TOWN and go give that person all the money collected.
  • It could be the all volunteer firefighter squad in town. "We'll take all the $3.16's collected and go buy a meal or treat and drop off for the firefighters who volunteer."
  • It could be a widow the church knows about - bless her with something new for her home or hobby or pets.
  • Single mothers - supply them with a night out. Or pay for a house cleaner or a handyman for a couple of hours.
  • Special needs families - pay for evening out for the parents and child care for the special needs kids so the parents get a break.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
This works incredibly well because you are teaching generosity / outward posture to your people on a consistent basis and getting people to give on mobile- while making it about PARTICIPATION vs AMOUNT. You'll have people regularly trying out the mobile option as well as pre-register them in the system.

There you have it! Some amazing tips, right?

Which tip stood out the most to you … or looked to be the craziest?! Share with us in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you! powers mobile, text, and web giving for
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Email Fundraising for Churches: 5 Steps to Creating a High Response powers mobile, text, and web giving for
churches and ministries.

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