Health and Growth

7 Ways to Promote Your Next Church Event: Strategies from Event Professionals

Use 7 strategies from the event industry to promote your next church event, boost attendance, and foster a deeper sense of community among your members and visitors alike.

7 Ways to Promote Your Next Church Event: Strategies from Event Professionals
by

Paul Maxwell

The church isn’t an exclusive social club like the Elk Lodge. It isn’t a fraternity like Skull & Bones that requires rigorous hazing to join. It’s not even like a high school or college social culture, in which the enormity of the population serves as a foundation to enshrine the special few of the inner circle. 

The church is different from every other social group in the world. It wants to grow—not to serve the special interests of the elders, or to retain the regality of its reputation, or even to be an escape from the world of responsibility. The purpose of the church’s existence can be summed up in one sentence: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and ... love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-38). 

Part of loving well is including others in that love. In the context of a community of people, sharing that love looks like growth. And growth doesn’t just occur in overall attendance, but in the quality of engagement. 

One of the ways that churches measure engagement is by how many people show up to church events outside of Sunday service. If nobody is coming, why aren’t they coming? 

Every church wants attendees at their event, because they love the people in their community. Church events offer new visitors a low-pressure environment to get a feel for the church's culture culture, and it gives existing members an opportunity to connect with each other without the pressure of a formal agenda. 

Here are 7 strategies from the event industry that churches can implement in their communications strategy to boost engagement, and foster a deeper sense of community among their members and visitors alike.

1. Create special marketing materials just for the event (no matter how small)

Even if it’s just a prayer night, create special marketing materials for each event.

If you have a brand guide for your church, this is simple. Just apply that brand guide—your logo, color palette, and church fonts—to a stock design or photo, and use it across digital and print platforms.

With a service like VistaPrint, you can get 100 really nice 5x9 cardstock prints that you can hand out to your church attendees, share on social media, use in your email marketing. Ideally, you should ask your members to share these cards with friends and family who don’t attend your church to increase your reach for potential engagement—whether that is sharing the VistaPrint card, forwarding the email, or sharing on social media.

2. Showcase the community element

In your marketing copy, explain how your church event is going to be interactive.

If your church is hosting a concert, don’t just say “Come to the concert!” Get a food truck to come before the concert so that people can have a chance to connect before the event.

Even if you’re hosting something as simple as a prayer night, put on the marketing materials that there will be a 30-minute time of fellowship and food afterward. 

3. Promise a special kind of food

If I was a communications director at a church, and I had to choose between a $10,000 event marketing package and a high-res, up-close picture of a juicy cheeseburger … I’d go with the cheeseburger pic 9 times out of 10.

In fact, I would recommend using the food as the hero of the event design, as long as it doesn’t diminish the seriousness of the event. For example, if your church event is a prayer night, you don’t want to print a 5x9 card of a cheeseburger. But it would be wise to print the cheeseburger on the back (or in the corner). 

This may feel like a hokey tactic. It’s not. It’s a basic understanding of human psychology. If people have to choose between [blank] and [blank] + food, they will choose [blank] + food every time. They will choose this especially if you appeal to them visually through a picture. Use that to your advantage—especially if you are trying to grow turnout for your next church event.

4. Provide child care

If you don’t have childcare, you will lose 90% of your adults with children. Or, you force only one parent to attend the event. Make sure that you bring your A-game with childcare—all of your fully vetted volunteers whom your members know, like, and trust. When people feel that your church takes security seriously, they will trust you with their kids. And if parents trust you with their kids, they will trust you with their time and money by coming to your church events.

5. Make event registration as easy as possible

Make sure to use an event registration software like Tithe.ly Events. The benefit of using a software like this is that it allows you to track who’s officially registered for the event and syncs with each registrant’s Google calendar to remind them of the event.

With Tithe.ly Events, you can turn any browser into an event registration kiosk. This means that you can simply set up computers, iPhones, or iPads in your lobby area—or even pass them through the aisle in church—to have people register for events.

6. Start promoting the event in church at least 4 weeks out

Make this church event a fixture in your members’ minds. They should think every time they come to church: “I’m so glad he reminded me again.” It’s okay to annoy people with reminders about this event, because they often need these reminders.

7. Send push-notifications through the church app

Often, people are unresponsive to prompts to register for events. This rarely indicates that they aren’t interested in attending the event. Usually, it’s because they’re super busy. It feels like just another task to complete in a sea of a million other tasks.

Use the Tithe.ly Church App to organize events in your church so that you can send push notifications to your users to remind them not only to register, but to go after they’ve registered.

Over to you

This is a simple protocol to boost attendance at your next church event. Make sure you have marketing materials in place—even if they’re simple and small. Tell people why the event will connect them to other people there. Showcase the food. Provide your A-grade childcare volunteers. Make registration as easy as possible with Tithe.ly Events. Start promoting at least 4 weeks out. And finally, use your Tithe.ly Church App to send push notifications to your members. 

Sharing God's love with your community through making it as easy as possible for people to participate in your church events sometimes comes down to implementing these simple strategies. Use them to increase God's kingdom in your own community.

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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7 Ways to Promote Your Next Church Event: Strategies from Event Professionals