Church Fundraising: 8 Ways to Turn Contribution Statements Into More Donor Dollars

Ben Stroup

Ben Stroup

It’s time to send out quarterly contribution statements. You have a decision to make. Will you choose to simply print a line-item record of people’s gifts, or will you use it as an opportunity to communicate the impact those contributions are having?

Here are eight ways you can turn contribution statements into dollars.

1. Personalize the address.
Any piece addressed to “Member” doesn’t work. Printing technology has advanced to the point that variable data printing is cost-effective even for small churches. People want to read something with their names on it.

2. Give me a reason to open the envelope.
Direct-mail fundraising still produces the highest return on investment. The same rules apply to contribution statements. If you don’t give me a reason to open the envelope, then I’ll never see what’s inside. You could be creative or boring. Any copy on the outer envelope will achieve higher “open” rates than blank ones. Even adding “Please verify our records are correct for tax purposes” is better than a plain outer or carrier envelope.

3. Design matters.
Make sure the mail piece AND the contribution statement are appealing to the eye. If it looks like a tax return, I won’t read it. If I’ve opened the envelope, then you’ve overcome the most difficult obstacle. Don’t fumble the ball when you are on a touchdown run with no opponents chasing you.

4. Tell me a story.
Very few people are motivated by financial reports. I’ve met those people before. There is a glimmer in their eye when they are flooded with data and numbers. Guess what? Those people are weird and not normal. The person opening the envelope wants to hear a story. Do more with this mail piece than just offer a standard, record-based printout.

5. Leverage the letter.
Use a cover letter as an opportunity for the pastor to retell the story of the church over the previous quarter, especially highlighting measurable moments of ministry impact. Then, close the letter with your dream of what God is going to do over the next 90 or 180 days. Most people never see the “big picture” like the pastor and staff do. Help them see and feel what you see and feel on a daily basis. (Note: The letter isn’t restricted to one page in length. As long as you provide great content, people will read it.)

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