Generosity

6 Proven Ways to Increase Recurring Giving in Your Church

Local pastors share six ways you can increase the number of recurring givers in your church.

6 Proven Ways to Increase Recurring Giving in Your Church
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Recurring giving is a helpful tool for churches and church members.

As a church, recurring donations is money you can count on to budget, which makes it so much easier to forecast your expenses.

As a church member, automatic monthly donations makes it easy to make donations automatically and to make room for your gifts in your budget. No more waiting for the end of the month to see if you have anything leftover to give!

When it comes to recurring giving, there are six reasons why your church should regularly promote automated giving. In this post, I’m going to share with you six proven ways you can increase the number of recurring givers in your church.

What I’m going to share with you isn’t based on theory, either.

I asked several local pastors to share the lessons they learned in increase their recurring giving, and here’s what they had to say:

#1. Teach people to start

The hardest part of changing anything is starting.

It's no different with your givers who want to give.

If becoming like Jesus is a process, so is the journey toward becoming a generous giver.

For most non-givers, their giving journey usually starts small and increases with time.

At first, encourage non-givers or irregular givers in your church to set up a recurring gift of 1% of their income. After a few months or more, challenge this group of givers to increase their monthly donations.

#2. Communicate the importance of consistency

As you share with your church the biblical reasons for financial generosity, let them know why setting up a recurring gift is best for the church.

As I mentioned above, recurring donations will make it easier for your church to manage your budget and plan on reaching more people for Christ.

Many people in your church probably don’t realize that setting up recurring giving with your church is helpful. So just let the people who already make donations know how recurring giving works and that it’s useful for the church.

#3. Teach the Bible

Confidently teach stewardship in the Bible and don’t be timid in talking about giving.

Remind your church that generosity is our response to the generosity of God. When you remind people of God’s overwhelming generosity, they will be more inclined to respond with generosity.

As you talk about given, here’s a huge list of verses about tithing in the Bible, giving, and generosity you can use.

#4. Share stories

When you talk about giving in your services, share a testimony of a faithful giver on video or in person while the offering buckets are being passed around.

Also, talk about how donations are being used in and through your church.

Are you financially supporting a homeless shelter in your community? Let people know.

Did your church provide for clean water in another country? Show your church where.

Does your church support missionaries? Provide them with updates.

When people see how their generosity supports the work of the ministry, they will be inclined to give more.

#5. Promote recurring giving

To lead people to sign up for recurring giving, you have to promote recurring giving. I know I’m stating the obvious. But based on a study conducted by Dunham+Company, many small churches don’t promote online giving or mobile giving well.

For promoting recurring giving, you don’t need to make a big deal or announce it every Sunday. All you really have to do is just let people know it’s an available option.

One of the easiest ways you can talk about recurring giving is to promote it with a graphic during your announcement. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Also, keep in mind that you have a lot of people visiting your church’s website. So it’s also a good idea to include a recurring giving option on your site.

There are several more ways you can easily promote recurring giving. Be sure to read this post for more ideas: 5 Ways to Engage Givers in Your Church Every Day of the Week.

#6. Make it easy

Here’s the deal with recurring giving: You have to make it easy in more ways than one.

a. Make it easy to set up

First, you have to make signing up for recurring giving super easy. If people find it difficult to set up, then they’ll most likely pass on the idea.

At Tithe.ly, we make this really easy for people. Here’s a short video that shows you how:

 

b. Make it easy to change

From changing debit or credit card information to the amount of money donated every month, there are several reasons why someone in your church may need to make changes to their recurring giving.

When you provide recurring giving to your church, make sure the service you use makes it easy for people to change their information.

“Ahem,” did someone mention Tithe.ly?

c. Make it easy to cancel

This point may sound counterintuitive. But it works the same way as a money-back guarantee does.

Basically, before signing up, people want to know whether or not they can cancel their recurring gifts. Having the ability to cancel at any time is a compelling angle.

Don’t worry if you think people will cancel their monthly donations after the first month. Many studies show that donors give more when they sign up to make recurring donations.

Over to you

Growing your recurring giving is not a set formula or guarantee or every church would have more people signed up. These are some practical and helpful reminders for you and your team to consider as you continue to do what God has called you to do.

Have you had success increasing the number of recurring givers in your church? What did you find helpful? Let's compare our notes in the comments below.

Eric Bryant serves as the implementations team lead for Tithe.ly. He has spent the last decade in the local church as a creative pastor. He lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and two dogs.

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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6 Proven Ways to Increase Recurring Giving in Your Church