[Product Update] Your Giving Tools Are Getting a Massive Upgrade
Check out these 5 stunning updates to Tithe.ly Giving.
November 12, 2019
Check out the latest newsfeed addition and Instagram integration with our church app.
December 10, 2018
Getting the attention of your church during the week isn’t easy.
Like everyone (including yourself), they’re pulled in a thousand directions:
Trying to engage with your church during the week can feel like hitting a moving target.
Regardless of the distractions everyone faces, there’s one important thing to keep in mind:
77 percent of Americans own a smartphone.
Know what else?
More than 91 percent of people between the ages of 18-49 own a smartphone.
I understand smartphones can be a source of distraction.
But here’s the deal:
People who own smartphones use their phones to connect with people—including their church. They’re logging into Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms to share their life and see what their social network is getting into.
In short, they’re accessing your community’s watercooler (social media) with their phone.
Don’t believe me?
Check out these stats from the Pew Research Center:
The use of social media isn't confined to teens and young adults, either.
The vast majority of people in your community use social media:
For you, this means that social media is the new watercooler in town. It’s where people in your church and the people you want to reach with the gospel are spending time.
To engage your church and community online, not only do you need a social media presence —you need to adapt to the way people use social media.
Don’t be discouraged if this feels like a daunting task.
We just rolled out some sweet updates to our church app that will skyrocket your church’s engagement.
Let’s just say you’ll give us a big thumbs up after you see what I’m talking about.
Connecting with people online is easier said than done.
They’re bombarded with a slew of messages, images, and videos every day on social media.
To work through this deluge of content, people—especially younger generations—scroll their newsfeeds with their … thumbs. Not only are people fast-scrolling with their thumbs, but they’re also using their thumbs to text, email, and for entertainment instead of their fingers on a keyboard.
This isn’t some sort of silly trend to overlook.
As more and more people continue to use smartphones to access the Internet and social media, this trend will continue to influence how we interact online.
Think about it.
According to ComScore, 87% of smartphone owners use mobile apps to access the Internet. From social media, entertainment, and finances, smartphone users overwhelmingly prefer to use an app to access the Internet.
Here’s why this is important for you:
People prefer to use their thumb to scroll the Internet on their smartphone.
If you adapt your church app to meet this scrolling preference, then you can significantly boost your church’s engagement.
This is something Life.Church and Newspring Church understood when they built their apps.
Let me show.
The single best way to boost your church app’s engagement is to tap into the power of the scroll to make it natural for people to engage with what you’re sharing.
To do this, Life.Church has their church app open up automatically to their newsfeed:
By opening their app to the newsfeed, Life.Church makes it simple and easy for people to see what’s going on and engage with their latest updates.
Newspring Church uses a similar approach, but with a twist:
In both of these examples, Life.Church and Newspring Church boost their church’s app engagement by creating an experience people normally have online with their mobile phone.
We want to help your church create a similar user experience with your app.
We would love for nothing more than to see people engage with your church app and better connect with the life of your church.
To do this, we wanted to make this church app format available to every church—regardless if you have the budget to create a custom app or not.
Not sure if you want to consider this an early Christmas gift, but check out these slick new updates the team made to our church app to give you this option.
To help people engage with your church app, we made it super easy to share whatever content you want in a single location.
Check it out:
In your newsfeed, you can add:
That’s not all.
You can now integrate Instagram with your church app!
We’re pumped about this addition, and we want you to know this:
Our team is dedicated to consistently making improvements to save you time, reach more people, and build community with your church.
By sharing content from all of these platforms in a single location, you’ll make it easy for your church to interact with you on their social media platform of choice. In fact, they won’t even need a social media account to see what your church is sharing because they can see it all in your app.
Think about this:
Your church members won’t have to visit every social media site to engage with yours. They can access your church app newsfeed in one location, and connect with you wherever they like.
This update will naturally increase the amount of time people spend in your app since they don’t have to go to a ton of different places to see what’s going on.
Here’s another cool feature:
Most of the items in your app newsfeed give your church a unique way to interact.
For example, blog posts and audio sermons can be shared with a click of a button on the newsfeed (take another look at the gif above).
Your church can also easily add events to their calendar:
We like that these updates will create a new, slick look for your church.
But we’re most excited about helping you to boost engagement on your app, which means people will become more connected to your church.
If you already have an app with Tithe.ly, then send an email to our implementation team who will walk you through setting it up.
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.