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
Have questions about Tithing? We've got answers in this post about frequently asked questions about tithing and giving.
April 23, 2018
Many church leaders find it uncomfortable to talk about money. But would knowing the questions people will ask ahead of time make you more comfortable?
Even though we can’t read minds, we can provide you with the next best thing available: A list of questions people usually ask about tithing and giving.
Knowing the typical questions people ask about hot topics and how you will respond is a huge benefit in conversations.
Consider this list of frequently asked questions about tithing and giving your study guide.
From time to time, you may be asked why pastors often talk about money. This is a fair question, and the questionnaire probably doesn’t have a fight to pick.
When responding to this question, here are two thoughts to keep in mind.
First, the reason the Church talks about money is because God talks about money.
Jesus talked about money often! He devoted many of his parables to the topic of money, and he spoke about money more than he did about heaven and hell combined. In the end, roughly 25% of Jesus' words in the New Testament deal with biblical stewardship. And that’s not all.
There are more than 2,000 scriptures on tithing in the bible, money, and possessions in the Old and New Testaments. That's double the number of references to faith and prayer combined.
The amount of time devoted to money and possessions in the Bible leads us to the next point.
Second, money is frequently discussed in the Bible because there’s a direct correlation between the way we handle our money and our faith. In the words of Jesus, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).
When it comes to money, we will either worship wealth or worship with our wealth.
Read that again. There’s a big difference between the two.
From the seduction of success to the lure of lust, many things in this world will vie for your affection and devotion. But the most significant idol we face is money (Matt. 6:24).
God desires our devotion, and he knows everyone will come face-to-face with the temptation of money, which is why he speaks so often about it.
Ok, on to the next frequently asked questions about tithing.
When asking this question about tithing, people are generally curious to know what you think about tithing, and whether they’re required to make one to your church.
At first, fight the temptation to talk through the institution of the tithe in the Old Testament. The best thing to do is just to let people know that you’re talking about giving a tenth of your income.
Now, as for the second part of this question, are Christians required to tithe?
There are several responses you can provide, and you can find a reliable response in your church’s or denomination's statement of faith. Yet, there are two answers most Christians believe, which I tackled in this post: Are Christians Required to Tithe?
You ready for the next frequently asked questions about tithing?
Money can only stretch so far, and there are many worthy causes people can support. So why should they give to the Church?
Giving to a local church is less about giving per se and more about participating in the life of the church. You see, when you place your faith in Christ, you become a part of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12). As a member of the body of Christ—the Church—God invites you to take part in his work, which includes giving to support the work of the Church.
When I talk about giving in this context, I'm not only talking about donating money. I also have in mind serving the church with your time and skills as well, which are equal parts of what biblical stewardship is all about.
In this response, I hope you see that giving to the Church is more about identity and participating in God’s work and less about obligation.
The answer to this question depends upon how your church handles its finances.
To help you think through your response, here are some things you may need to address:
Do you create an annual budget that’s approved ahead of time by your church’s leadership? What process does your church follow to approve expenses?
Regardless of your responses to the questions above, identify the checks and balances your church has in place to safeguard expenditures.
The answer to this question will usually be the same between churches.
In general, your church budget probably falls within these parameters:
For tips on responding this question, consider the next question, first.
This can be a touchy question but consider, at a minimum, making your audited financial statements available upon request. Maintaining a high-level of transparency will boost confidence in the members of your church on how well you manage your finances.
The leadership of your church will be held accountable by God in the way you manage donations and gifts. Let this reality permeate through your church in the processes and procedures you create to steward your financial resources.
In general, credit and debit cards are a payment system. Instead of using coins, cash, or checks to donate, you can use a credit or debit card instead.
As for debit cards, they are attached to a bank account. So donations made with a debit card are pulled directly from someone's bank. There shouldn’t be too much of a concern about using a debit card to donate.
When it comes to using a credit card, the response is a little more nuanced.
On the one hand, some people choose to make purchases or donations on their credit card and pay off the entire balance at the end of the month. In this situation, there isn't a concern with using a credit card to donate. Yes, some people may be convicted otherwise, and that’s okay (Rom. 14:5-6). Regardless of where you fall on this particular example, strive to the honor the Lord as you sort through all the questions about tithing.
But, some people carry revolving debt they’ve racked up with their credit card. In this situation, it may not be best for someone to donate to your church with their credit card if they don't plan on paying off their balance. Accruing interest charges on debt you accumulate donating isn’t the best decision financially or spiritually.
Giving is not about determining how much money we’re going to donate. Giving is about deciding how much money we’re going to use for our purposes. It all belongs to God, right?
Here are five common questions we hear about giving:
What additional questions about tithing and giving have you answered? Let’s exchange notes 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.