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
How you manage donors is essential to your church's well-being. Here are five easy ways you can manage your givers.
January 4, 2019
Jesus is building your church.
He’s calling people in your community to participate in his work.
One way he supports his mission is to lead people to fund your mission.
As a church, you need money.
You need to pay salaries, rent, office expenses, and fund your ministry efforts.
How your church manages money is crucial.
But you know what may be more important?
How your church manages your givers.
How do you …
Over the years, I’ve seen how easy it is for church leaders to overlook managing givers.
Here’s the deal:
Managing givers is so much more than managing money.
It’s about shepherding your people to honor God with their money and possessions.
To help you better manage givers in your church, here are five lessons I’ve learned over the years.
Pastor, when it comes to talking about money, the buck stops with you.
You have to take ownership of how your church manages its money and how you manage your givers.
As you lead your church, shepherd your people, and cast a vision, you have to take it upon yourself to talk about your church’s finances.
You have to talk about your church’s budget.
You have to keep your church members in the know about the financial health of your church.
Your should not delegate the responsibility of your church’s finances to someone else.
You have to take it upon yourself that your church is up-to-date, and that your givers are managed well.
The church is a peculiar organization.
It’s a blend of flesh (people) and bones (administration).
As a pastor, it’s easy to focus on spiritual things.
You want to spend time preparing your sermon, counseling people, and in prayer, which makes perfect sense and these activities are critical to your work.
But here’s the deal:
You cannot neglect general business principles.
Over the years, I’ve seen many pastors get themselves off track and into a bit of trouble because they didn’t keep track of their church’s budget.
Know what the Bible says about business.
Be sure your church’s finances are in order.
Nurturing key donors may sound counterintuitive.
But hear me out.
In your church or church plant, you will have key donors who provide significant financial support. This was a lesson I learned when I planted a church in the United States (If you couldn’t tell from the video, I’m from Australia).
After launching the church, we received a check for $4,000.
Mind you, this was in the 90s, so this was a big deal, and it still is today.
As I was adding the donation to our church’s ledger statement, I was worried.
I thought he added an extra zero.
To make sure I had the right amount, I gave him a call and said, “Hey, we got your check. Is $4,000 the right amount?”
“Yeah, pastor. That’s our monthly tithe.”
I was floored.
I didn’t know people would donate that much money.
He asked me to meet him for lunch, so I said yes.
During our time together, he said something really powerful that stuck with me throughout the years.
He said, “Dean, there are business people who get involved with churches, and they want to contribute. All they need is open communication to stay faithful.”
Here’s the deal:
To nurture key donors, you must maintain transparency in your communication about your church’s finances—especially how donations are being used to further the Kingdom of God.
Don’t move to the next tip just yet.
There’s one caveat I’d like to share.
Nurturing key donors is not the same as showing key donors favor.
Your goal isn’t to suck up to them or get more money out of their pockets.
The primary thing you need to do is say “thank you.”
Let them know you appreciate their financial contribution, and that you’re praying for them and believing God for the best for their family and business.
Most people who donate money want to know their money is going to good use.
To help people feel secure in what they donate, let them see under the hood of your church’s finances.
This point goes back to my first point above.
Be transparent about the money you’re church receives and spends.
Share your budget information every quarter or year.
Let people know how your managing the church’s money.
Keep your door open, and let people feel comfortable to ask questions.
By being transparent, you’ll make people feel more confident.
As a church leader, you have a front row seat to God’s work in your church.
However, many of your church members may have no idea about everything going on. This is why it’s essential to share how God is changing lives.
What you celebrate doesn’t have to be huge.
If you set a goal to buy new chairs, sound system, or projector for your worship team, and you reach your goal, that’s a win you can celebrate.
Take this opportunity to get before your church, and say:
“Hey, church. Over the last nine weeks, we set a goal to raise $10,000 for a new sound system, and we hit it. You did it!.”
As you celebrate wins, both big and small, you’re going to boost your church’s confidence.
Think about it like this.
As a church leader, when you stand before your church, set a goal, and then celebrate accomplishing that goal later, you’re going to earn respect and confidence from your church.
So, the next time you set a financial goal, your church will be even more inclined to sacrifice financially.
As you put these tips into action, you’ll observe an increase in giving and giver retention.
In other words, people will give more and people will give more often.
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.