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
Text-to-give is a fast, secure, and essential giving option you should provide your church.
October 26, 2018
This greeting was the first text message sent in 1992. Since this inaugural text was sent more than 20 years ago, there are now more than 18.7 billion texts sent every day.
Text messaging is no respecter of persons, either. From 18 to 55 and older, the vast majority of people living in the United States send text messages. From what we can see in the data, the number of texts sent is only going to increase.
Grasping the significance of text messaging is essential for your church. By leveraging this form of communication, you can make it easier for your church to give if you offer a text-to-give option.
To help you get started, we’re going to share the following in this post:
Let’s get started!
To make sure we’re on the same page, let’s talk about what we mean when we refer to text giving.
Here’s what you need to know:
Text giving is the ability to make a church donation with a text message.
If someone knows how to send a text message, they can securely give any amount to your church in seconds.
Know what else?
With Tithe.ly, you can add flair to your text giving experience by allowing donors to use emojis to give. For example, after someone sets up their account, they can text the below emojis to set up emoji giving:
Sending emojis to donate may not be what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he talked about cheerful givers (2 Cor. 9:6-7), but this seems like an appropriate application.
The way people give is a personal preference.
In your church, you may offer a variety of ways someone can give, including:
For your church, it’s a good idea to provide multiple ways people can donate. By providing text-to-give for your church, you’re encouraging people who prefer text giving the ability to do so.
If you don’t provide this option now, you’ll need to consider it in the future.
Based on fundraising statistics, every year, more and more people are expressing a preference to donate online or with their mobile device.
Not only is this case, but as I pointed out earlier, many people prefer texting and text-to-give is also an easy way you can take up one-time offerings.
We’ve already hinted at a few reasons why your church needs to offer text-to-give. But let’s dig into why your church should provide a text-to-give option.
Per a study by the Pew Research Center, the vast majority of Americans own a mobile phone—95 percent.
Know what else?
It’s highly likely that people—including yourself—always have their phone with them. On the other hand, carrying cash or a checkbook isn’t nearly as common as it used to be.
Since people are more likely to have their phone with them, it makes sense to provide a giving option that allows them to use their phone.
Well-known non-profit organizations, such as the Red Cross, prominently display text giving pleas during natural disasters. As a result, many people are familiar with the concept of text giving and are more likely to trust it as a secure way to give.
Here’s how easy it is to use text giving.
Let’s say John gets paid every other Friday and wants to tithe right away to keep from spending his money. Text giving is an easy answer for him.
Susan might travel often for work and therefore isn’t always at service to put her tithe in the offering plate. Text giving is something she can use from wherever work takes her.
In fact, text giving is an option you can include on your church’s website and in live-streaming sessions so viewers can quickly give as they watch the message.
Also, with text giving there’s no need for givers to download an app or even visit the church website. They can quickly text the gift amount to your church’s dedicated number, enter their card information, and receive an email receipt within a few minutes.
First-time visitors might not be ready to download an app, but if they want to give they can do so via a text-to-give option.
Pastor Antonio Vincent of Dream Chaser Church shared, “Once we walked people through it, giving via text message is now like second nature to them. People are even starting to use text-to-give outside of Sunday services.”
When you receive cash and check donations (or even credit card information written down in an offering envelope), that means your accounting team has to count, prepare the deposit, charge the credit/debit cards, and record the donations. When you enable people to donate via text message, that reduces the workload for your accounting staff.
Donors receive an email receipt right away, their card is charged immediately, and the funds are deposited into the church’s checking account within a few business days.
A good text giving provider—ahem, Tithe.ly—also offers an online portal for your accounting staff to view transactions and even upload the data into the church accounting software.
“Text giving has made counting at the end of service much faster since people are giving electronically,” remarked Paula Torres of Oasis Family Life Church. She added, "It helps individuals control their giving (updating expired cards, etc.), cuts down on back-office work, and provides donors with the ability to check their own giving statements.”
What happens to an offering envelope that includes someone’s name, address, phone number, and credit card number (along with the expiration date and security number)?
Hopefully, it’s kept in a secure location within the church office until the donation is processed and then it’s shredded.
When people give, they’re expecting you to handle their financial information carefully and in a secure manner. With strict security protocols in-place, text giving provides greater security for donor information.
According to Barna Research Group, “Nearly one out of every 10 of all Millennials say they text to donate at least once a month, which doubles among practicing Christian Millennials to two out of 10.”
Millennials and those coming up after them don’t know a world without the Internet or mobile phones. They rarely, if ever, write checks and tend to pull out their debit card before any cash.
By offering a text giving option, you’re meeting them where they’re at when it comes to how they prefer to give.
When you meet people where they’re at by using a tool they carry with them 24/7, you make it easier for them to consider giving throughout the week.
For example, Joe might see your church’s Facebook post about an upcoming outreach to lower-income families and decide he wants to help. He can quickly text a gift amount to your church’s designated number to make a donation.
By providing text-to-give, you’re capturing people's attention and providing them with a convenient way to give in the moment. It makes being a generous giver part of everyday life instead of something they only consider on Sunday morning
Text giving is very convenient for your congregation.
They can give when they’re in service on Sunday morning, but they also have the flexibility to give at any time from anywhere.
In fact, Tithe.ly’s research indicates that 67% of giving happens Monday-Saturday.
Consider this: You may dread the summer months of lower attendance since that also means a reduction in giving. However, after reviewing the giving data from over 2,000 churches, we’ve found that churches that offer a variety of giving options experience steady (and sometimes even increased) giving during the summer months.
Text to give enables people to give even while out of town. Plus, if they’ve set up recurring giving, those tithes continue to occur whether they’re watching a service from a hotel or are in their usual seat at church.
Not only is text to give a simple concept to grasp, but it’s also easy to get your church using it right away.
Here’s how it works.
For the text giving provider you choose, be on the lookout for someone who offers you the features you need and provides a secure giving platform.
After you sign up for text to give, you’ll receive a 10-digit text giving number (it looks like a regular telephone number). Here’s one example:
The first time someone gives via text, they’ll be asked to one-time to share their giving information. After this step is complete, they’ll be able to give at any time by texting.
Here’s a short video that breaks this down a bit more:
Finally, all you need to do is let people know they can give via text. Don’t worry about being flashy—just be informative.
For promoting text giving in your church, there are multiple ways you can spread the word, including:
For additional ideas, check out 9 Proven Strategies to Increase Online Giving in Your Church.
Text giving is one way to give you should provide your church.
In the words of Pastor James Crocker, “We need to create avenues for people to do what God calls them to do in the realm of generosity.”
Text giving is one such avenue.
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.