Meet the Pastor Turned CEO Who's Helped Thousands of Churches Raise Hundreds of Millions of Dollars
A personal introduction to the CEO and co-founder of the world's leading church technology company.
December 16, 2019
Is your church ignoring Facebook ads? Here are five overlooked reasons why your church should run Facebook ads now more than ever.
March 12, 2018
There’s a good chance you’re unintentionally avoiding people in your community.
The kids in your neighborhood tend to stay inside instead of going outside. You probably don’t know your neighbors. And it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make friends.
As a church leader, it’s essential to have your thumb on the pulse of these changes taking place in your community. Knowing how people in your town or city interact with each other and make new friends will influence how you can reach them with the gospel.
Today, most of the adults in your community spend time on social media. The Pew Research Center found that 7 out of 10 adults spend time on social media, and Facebook is the most widely used social media platform.
Social media is the proverbial water cooler in your area. Social media is where many people stay up to date with others and share the latest happenings in their life.
Brady Shearer of Pro Church Tools nailed it when he said, “If you have a desire to reach the people in your community with the gospel, then you need to be present where they are spending time. Today, that place is social media."
We can spend time talking about whether or not social media is harmful to friendships, relationships, and the social fabric of your community. But that’s not the point of this post.
In this post, I want to share with you five reasons why your church needs to run Facebook ads.
There’s a good chance your church has a Facebook Page. But that’s no longer enough.
In light of recent changes at Facebook, most of the people who like your Facebook Page will not see what you share. There are some ways you can increase your engagement on Facebook, but there’s a growing need for your church to spend money on Facebook to reach people.
Now, before you totally write off what I'm trying to say, give me just one moment to explain myself. Buying an ad on Facebook is not about marketing per se.
According to Chris Martin, the author development specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources,
“Buying a Facebook ad really just amounts to you promoting a piece of content on Facebook so that it can be seen by more people in your community that use Facebook and may be interested in checking out your church.”
After you create your church’s social media strategy, and as you share the gospel, verses from the Bible, or even an invitation for people to join you for your worship service, consider buying an ad on Facebook to reach more people with your message.
If you’re worried about the cost of ads on Facebook—don’t. They’re relatively inexpensive, which leads me to my next point.
Taking out an ad on Facebook will not break your church’s finances.
When it comes to inviting people to your next worship service or upcoming event, some churches have had tremendous results by only spending $61.
When you run ads on Facebook, you can plug in your budget at the very beginning, and you can adjust how much you spend and you can turn off your ad at any time if you’re not happy with the results.
So, if you run ads and you’re not happy with your results, then hit the pause button and readjust your plan moving forward.
Do you know who knows the most about the people in your community? It’s not your barber or local politician. It’s arguably Facebook. Think about it.
On Facebook, people share nearly everything about him or herself. Here’s just a sampling of what Facebook may know about you and your neighbors:
Not only does Facebook know the personal info you share on your profile. But Facebook also learns a ton about whoever uses their platform based on the Facebook Pages they like and what they share.
“What does this have to do with my church?"
Well, the answer is simple: You can send highly-targeted ads to people on Facebook in your community.
Remember, we’re not necessarily talking about promotions for an upcoming event. We’re also talking about promoting updates you share on Facebook, which can include verses from the Bible or pictures from your most recent worship service.
Instead of solely relying on traditional means of advertisement, such as postcards, flyers, and ads in your local newspaper, to hopefully reach the people in your community, consider using ads on Facebook. With Facebook, at least you'll know if people are seeing your ad and whether or not they're responding to it.
Running ads on Facebook sounds intimidating on the surface. But here’s the deal: It’s actually simple to get started and accomplish your goals.
Yes, running ads on Facebook can be complicated and time-consuming for larger organizations and businesses who have huge budgets, multiple products, and many consumers and supporters they’re trying to reach. But, for the average church in the United States, you don’t need advanced training in Facebook to do what you need to do.
There are only four things you need to know to get started:
After you know your answer to these four questions, then you’re ready to get started.
If you’re ready to move forward, then check out Facebook's Getting Started with Ads. This free resource will walk you through the steps you need to take to create an ad on Facebook.
Do you need to recruit additional volunteers? Would you like to see more people get involved with your small groups or Sunday School classes? You can run Facebook ads to help out with these needs and more. Here’s how.
If you want to lead people to volunteer, join a small group, or sign up for something, you can buy ads on Facebook and target people in your church promoting the step you want them to take.
The best way to do this is to target people familiar with what you’re asking them to do. These people are members or visitors of your church, and if you have their email address, then you can upload these emails to create a Custom Audience on Facebook.
When you run ads to the Custom Audience you created, the people who will see them displayed are those whose email address you uploaded.
You can also create a Custom Audience of the people who have visited your church’s website. This tactic is another great option to target people who are either members of your church or familiar with your church. Click here for an article on Facebook that walks you through this process.
Does your church buy ads on Facebook? Why did your church get started? Share your experience in the comments below!
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.