Churches require money to keep offering services to their communities. Tithes and offerings help support the cost of operation, however, church fundraising is key to keeping afloat—especially during the COVID era.
The necessity for fundraising is apparent, regardless of denomination. For churches, fundraising can be a challenging undertaking. A route that many organizations take is sending out fundraising letters to their potential supporters. Mail appeals can reach a broad audience of congregants and are typically successful in gaining support from communities. Letters can be a cost-efficient way to share your story and frame your financial ask.
At FundraisingLetters.org, we help churches like yours write and send effective fundraising letters to garner the support you need. Church fundraising is a bit unique in terms of sending nonprofit donation appeals. Sure, they inspire individuals to give, and they can raise significant funds, but there are additional items to consider for the most effective letter possible. We’ve created this guide to provide you with tips on what elements to include in your letters to best communicate with and strengthen your church community. These items include:
- Personal Salutations
- Campaign Information
- Specific Ask Amounts
- Appreciation For Their Support
Writing any church communication letter requires strategic language and personalized touches. We’ll explain the four elements that can take your fundraising letter and turn it into donations that help to push your mission forward!
1. Personal Salutations
To start your letter-writing plan, choose a church fundraising letter template that can apply to a large group of donors. After you plan your general body text, be sure to personalize each letter for every recipient. Add personal details wherever you can. Your congregants will feel valued and appreciated from being addressed personally. A few ways to add this touch are:
- Addressing the donor. Be sure to call them by their preferred name. For example, instead of writing “Dear donor,” be sure to write “Dear [name of recipient].” This may seem simple, but it goes a long way, especially in a community as close as a church.
- Asking based on history. Include suggested donation amounts based on the donor’s previous giving history. This shows the donor that you know them and have created an appeal that is specific for them.
- Drawing information from your CRM software. In your letter, draw on other engagement information to personalize the letter further. This can include the last service or church event they attended, along with a broader history of how long they’ve been involved with your congregation.
- Segmenting your donor base. Put your hard-earned data to work and use your nonprofit’s database to personalize these letters. For example, you can reach church members with the highest probability of getting involved with that particular campaign and leverage their interests to craft the message that will most resonate with them.
With these best practices in mind, your donors will feel like the valued members of your congregation that they are. Plus, you can mutually strengthen your relationship through this messaging tactic. It’s a win-win!
2. Campaign Information
As you’re drafting your church’s fundraising letter, be sure it is clear what you are asking of your donors and why. Be sure church members and supporters understand what the fundraising campaign is for, how it will affect the church’s mission, and what part their donation will play. No one likes to donate to a cause blindly. Answer these questions when drafting your letter to effectively market your fundraiser:
- Why do you need their donation?
- Why are they donating right now?
- How can you communicate your campaign to the best of your ability?
- Can you include a story to explain your need?
While answering these questions in your letter, you should position your donor as the person doing the action. For example, you could provide a scenario such as, “your gift of X dollars will help send five children to Bible Camp this year.” This detail might seem menial, but it helps the reader understand your campaign’s purpose and gives them a sense of connection to your cause. If you’re stuck on how to word your ask, check out this guide for tips on how to ask for donations.
Once your mission is clear, some people may want to help out but cannot contribute financially. In which case, be sure to provide other opportunities for getting involved with your campaign, like giving time or supplies depending on the mission. After the campaign, you’ll want to reiterate your goals and progress towards them with a well-crafted impact statement to your donors.
3. Specific Ask Amounts
Don’t leave it up to the supporter to decide how much to give. Using data collected in your CRM, you can group recipients based on giving capability. This type of personalization can help you determine specific amounts to suggest in your appeal depending on their wealth indicators and giving history. You can get an idea of your donor’s capacity to give based on demographic information like their employer, date of birth, and mailing address. If you don’t have this information in your donor database, a one-time data append service can help you fill in the gaps, or software tools you already use may also have real-time data appending functionality.
When you provide suggested donation amounts, the donor will recognize that you’re paying attention to their prior contributions. This gesture will reflect your church’s attention to detail. Specific amount options can benefit your fundraising efforts by:
- Giving the donor an idea of how they can help
- Drive them to give more
- Tailoring asks to their giving abilities
With these benefits in mind, it’s worth spending extra time targeting your potential donors based on their giving history or financial information.
4. Appreciation for Their Support
A little appreciation goes a long way. Show appreciation for your donor’s support throughout your campaign. Each time a congregant gives your campaign somehow, whether in money, time, or supplies, you must thank them for their generosity. Without them, your church would not be able to fund its efforts and achieve its goals.
It’s important to note that sending thank-you messages strengthens your relationship with your church community as a whole. Retaining donors is more cost-effective than acquiring donors, so take advantage of every opportunity to deepen these connections. Focus primarily on those who have given once. Securing their second donations help to make it a habit. To do this effectively, be sure to show appreciation for the past engagement, drawing on personal information when applicable.
Thank-you note best practices for any point of the donor journey are crucial to optimizing your appreciation efforts. Be sure to check out these templates for inspiration.
Church fundraising letters are a persuasive and effective way to empower your community to give to your cause. How you frame and ask for fundraising contributions determines if your fundraising goals will be met. The bottom line is that a little personalization and attention to detail go a long way when communicating with your potential donors. In no time, your church will be acquiring and retaining support from a compelling fundraising letter. Good luck!