donation letter

Donation Letter: How to Write the Perfect Donation Letter | NewFire Giving

By | Resources

No matter what your organization’s goals may be, finding ways to secure funding is imperative to the success of your campaign. One of the most effective methods of securing funds is by writing a donation letter to potential donors. Nevertheless, when performing a Google search, finding the best methods of formulating a great donation letter can be a bit tricky.

What is a Donation Letter?

A donation letter is a typed or hand-written letter sent to potential donors in order to raise funds for your organization or cause. These letters typically appeal to the emotions of potential donors by explaining how achieving the goals of your organization can help the world as well as why receiving financial donations is imperative to reaching those goals. Although you can write and send donation letters all-year round, experts assert that donation letters are most effective when you send them towards the end of the year, as many individuals and organizations are determining their pre-tax season finances. Either way, a good donation letter is short and concise, while also including specifics regarding the importance of the mission as well as the requested donation.

Types of Donation Letters

There are various types of donation letters. The type of donation letter you write should depend on the type of donor you are contacting. The types of donation letters are as follows:

Church Building Fund Requests– This type of donation letter is specifically for churches who are seeking donations from existing members and supporters. The purpose of these letters is to remind the donor of the benefits the church has and will continue to provide as well as how important it is to secure funding to continue to offer these services in the future.

  • Charity Auction Item Requests– Rather than simply requesting funds, charity auction item request letters are to help convince potential owners to donate items to charity auctions.
  • Fundraising Event Donations– This purpose of type of donation letter is to request either donations to help organize a charity event or that the person attends the event to donate or sends a donation to contribute to the event.
  • Sponsorship Request Letters– Sponsorship requests are made for the purpose of securing funding for events and other initiatives. In this case, the organization typically offers the potential donors something in exchange for their sponsorship. For instance, many organizations offer to give the sponsors things such as VIP access, free advertising at the event as well as on event-related materials, or even having the event named after them, so the community is aware of which individual or entities sponsored the event.
  • Mission Trip Funding Requests– This is similar to a sponsorship letter. However, mission trip funding requests are created to fund particular missions and excursions, rather than events.
  • Missionary Support– This type of donation letter requests support for particular missionaries who are actively working towards a goal that stands to help a particular community as well as the world at large.

Individual Vs. Corporate Appeals

In addition to knowing your purpose, before you write a donation letter, you must also consider who you will be writing to. Drafting a letter for an individual requires a different technique then when drafting a letter for a corporation or group of people:

  • Individual Appeals– Individual appeals are for individual donors and typically request small one-time or recurring monetary donations. These appeals typically appeal to the sentimentality of the individual by telling them more about the cause and how even small donations can make a major difference.
  • Corporate Appeals– These appeals are for businesses of all sizes. Unlike individual donation appeals, these appeals are typically written to request things such as sponsorship, in-kind donations (such as meals, raffle prizes, employee volunteers, or even the use of a venue for a charity event), to collect employee gift-matches, and more. These types of appeals typically focus on how the donor company stands to benefit. For instance, by providing T-shirts for the volunteers for the event, a company can receive a high level of promotion by including their name and logo on every shirt.

How to Write an Effective Donation Letter

Without proper guidance, writing a donation letter can be tricky. Given the fact that donation letters help to secure funding, finding the perfect way to word them can literally make or break the proposal. If you need help formulating your donation letter, be sure to include the following:

  • Header– Your header should include the name of your non-profit as well as your logo, if applicable.
  • Non-Profit Contact Info– Make sure you include the physical address of your organization, the company’s email address, phone number, and any social media pages.
  • Date– Decide on what date your plan to mail or email your donation letter(s).
  • Donor Salutation– The first impression can be a lasting one. Your greeting sets the tone for your entire donation letter. Decide whether you want to be more formal or personable. You can either stick to the tone of your organization or personalize these greetings based on the brand/ style of the donors.
  • Acknowledgment of Relationship to Donor/ Organization– To add a personalized touch, take the time to remind the donor of the nature of the relationship and/or how their past donations have helped your organization. For instance, when writing to an individual, you could include something along the lines of, “last year, with the help of you and an array of other awesome donors, we were able to achieve…”. On the other hand, when writing to businesses, you may write something along the lines of, “your company has become a recognized staple at our fundraisers and with your help, we will continue to achieve our organizational goals”.
  • The Story of Your Non-Profit– As a general rule, you will want to steer clear of salesy language as it can often be off-putting in this context. However, the section involving the story of your non-profit is your one chance to sell your company. This is the area to help you connect to the donors on an emotional level. In a donation letter, your story should include: the need (explain why the donations are needed), the solution (give a vivid description of what the success of your campaign will entail), and the hero (to help your donors realize how important they are to you, be sure to make your donors the hero in the story every time!).
  • Call-to-Action– Creating a call to action is one of the most important elements of your donation letter as this is the section in which you literally ask for the sale. One of the more effective ways of doing this is by including a call-to-action with time restraints. For instance, in the case of individual donors, you may want to include some special item or benefit for the first respondents (i.e. the first 50 donors will receive V.I.P. access to all events in June). On the other hand, when dealing with corporate donors, you may include something along the lines of, “first 5 companies to donate will have their company names on all merchandise distributed at the event”. In doing so, you have not only given your potential donors a number of reasons why they should donate but you have also added one that will encourage them to do so quickly.

More Tips for Creating a Great Donation Letter

After learning the specifics of what a great donation letter entails, here are a few tips and tricks to help you make your donation letter as effective as possible:

  • Keep it Short– Despite the fact that you need to include the aforementioned sections, you should still make your donation as short as possible. In this age, you should assume that most people are too busy to read a massive document just to learn about and support your organization. Keep it as succinct as possible to avoid losing your audience.
  • Don’t Forget the Self-Addressed Envelope– Self-Addressed envelopes add an extra special touch when you are attempting to raise funds. Including this envelope will be yet another way to encourage them to write a check and mail it back ASAP.
  • Include a Legitimate Hand-Written Signature (If Possible)– While printing your signature is fine, you really should try to include a legitimately hand-written signature to make it seem much more personal. Especially when dealing with donors from the past and/or donors who have the capacity to donate large amounts of funds to your cause, you will want to take the time to hand write your signature. This will help them to feel like you have reached out to them personally, rather than inserting their name into a template letter that you have sent to all potential donors.
  • Don’t Forget the P.S.- Including a P.S. is a great way to reiterate your call-to-action. Experts assert that most people read the P.S. second, after reading the salutation.

Creating a donation letter does not have to be a nightmare. For more help creating the perfect campaign for your charity, contact the experts at NewFire today. No matter if your organization needs coaching, resources, or anything in between, NewFire Giving is a great company to help you set your charity campaign trail ablaze.

 

Church Marketing

Church Marketing: 10 Tips to Create an Effective Church Marketing Plan | NewFire Giving

By | Make HOW they give easy

Is attendance at your church down? You’re not alone. The most recent statistics show a 4-point drop in near-weekly attendance — from 42% to 38% between 2008 and 2017. But that doesn’t mean a smaller congregation is inevitable. Instead, look at why people choose to attend church and the reasons they skip services. Ask what your church can do to meet their needs and overcome their objections. Base your church marketing plan on this information. And apply the following proven strategies to reach the people who are receptive to finding a place of worship to call their own.

1.     Develop Your Brand

Branding has evolved. It’s no longer just logos, graphics, jingles, and catch-phrases. Though it may incorporate all or some of those features. Your brand tells people who you are and creates a unique identity. This sets you apart from other churches. It also conveys your ideas, what you stand for, and how you interact with the world around you.

Turn to your church leaders to help determine your brand identity. Discuss the values your church represents and the audience you hope to reach and engage. Seek survey feedback from congregants to learn what they perceive to be your brand.

Once you’ve created a brand for your church, express it. Design a logo, use pictures, tell a story, and live it out every day. Add a slogan if it fits naturally with your brand.

Sample Brand: Your branding involves community outreach. So, your slogan is “Raising up our community through good deeds and God’s word.” A graphic of several people arm-in-arm in front of a townscape is your new logo. You display many photos of your community outreach projects on your website and in your marketing materials to reinforce brand meaning.

Authenticity is essential in your branding. Be sure it truly reflects what’s important to your church, your congregation, and your community.

2.     Establish a Branding Presence

Spread your branding online and offline. Make it a part of your website. Place your logo prominently at the head of all your webpages. Add your slogan, too, if you have one. Explain your values and tell your branding story on your “About Us” page. Over time, you can add photos and videos that show how your church is fulfilling your branding efforts and goals.

Display your branding at your church through signage and banners. Branded outdoor canopies or awnings are smart marketing tools. They’re elegant and understated but are present year-round. When designed well, they give your church added curb appeal and draw the eye. Have them embossed with your logo and/or slogan to help establish brand memorability.

Carry the logo, slogan, and any other branding graphics and colors over to your printed materials, too. This includes:

  • Church signs
  • Service programs
  • Newsletters
  • Business cards
  • Church letterhead
  • Envelopes
  • Pledge cards
  • Door hangers
  • Postcards
  • Bible Study guides/questionnaires

Wherever your church is present, so too should be your branding.

3.     Embrace Social Media

  • Social media marketing is a cost-effective approach that can meet multiple objectives:
  • Reinforce your branding efforts
  • Strengthen your church relationship with current congregants
  • Help you reach new parishioners
  • Support SEO strategies

These platforms offer numerous ways to teach, reach out, and interact with a wider audience. Post uplifting messages, Bible verses, and links to your blog, vlog and community events. Even spark discussions on relevant topics. But don’t limit yourself to text. Consider images, video, audio, and live streaming. Many churches live stream their services. This is very helpful for congregants whose poor health prevents them from attending in person. Invite your followers and fans to get to know your church and the people behind it better. Spotlight different individuals each week. Link to bios, photos, and media for a more engaging experience.

Facebook is an excellent platform for these various strategies. Instagram gives people those all-important visuals. And Twitter is a great option for sparking conversation and sharing graphics, quotes, and church updates. You should also buy paid social media ads that target specific demographics. This helps you focus on potential congregants who may be most receptive to your church’s values and messaging.

4.     Don’t Ignore Traditional Marketing Methods

Offline marketing may be old-school, but it still works. Some suggestions follow:

  • Buy ad time from local radio and TV stations.
  • Post ads in local newspapers and community magazines.
  • Invest in promotional items printed with your church name and logo:
  • Screen printed shirts and caps
  • Notebooks
  • Pencils and pens
  • Lanyards
  • Mugs and water bottles
  • Distribute windshield flyers and door hangers.
  • Mail out postcards.
  • Hire billboard space.

Make an effort to identify your target audience before investing in print ads and media ad space. You shouldn’t market to everyone. Religion and spirituality are very personal experiences. People choose churches to attend based on very specific needs and desires. Do your research and tailor your traditional advertising efforts to the people who are most likely to respond to your church’s values, messages, and style.

5.     Reach Out with Email Newsletters

2018 Pew Research survey questioned Americans on what motivated them to either attend church or skip it. The top reason for attendance, at 81%, was to become closer to God. This was following by teaching their children about faith, becoming better people, and finding comfort during difficult times. There are probably many people in your flock who attend your church sporadically. Give them reasons to return to your church more often.

A newsletter can reinforce the lessons, scripture, and sense of communal support church services offer. Include transcripts of your sermons. Add notes to better illustrate your meaning. Highlight Sunday School classes and other kids’ activities that may encourage parents to bring in their children. Include uplifting quotes and messages that remind them of God’s grace in times of strife. In this way, you help them strengthen the purpose they find in church. In turn, it will boost attendance rates and encourage word-of-mouth referrals.

6.     Launch Community Outreach Efforts

Churches often play vital roles in their communities. Having a positive impact in your town represents God’s words and deeds. These actions reinforce the good word and deliver a powerful message to all. They also touch community members you may otherwise not reach. If your church isn’t very involved in your city, consider some of the following suggestions to fix that.

Advocacy for the Less Fortunate

  • Help the homeless.
  • Give clothing and supplies to women’s shelters.
  • Visit with Assisted Living residents.
  • Establish a food bank.

Volunteer Work

  • Organize a neighborhood clean-up event.
  • Donate time in a food kitchen.
  • Help build homes with Habitat for Humanity.
  • Host educational seminars.
  • Support veterans’ issues.
  • Ask members of your congregation to volunteer their professional services to the underprivileged. Examples include tax help, carpentry, plumbing, financial counseling, salon services, and auto work.

Sponsorships/Partnerships

  • Youth sports teams
  • Local Humane Society or Pet Rescue organization
  • Recreation centers
  • Local Book Shops

Fun Stuff

  • Kids’ events
  • Cookouts
  • Free car washes
  • Easter Egg Hunt

Bridge Events

Show secular individuals and non-church members that God’s love is all-inclusive through action rather than scripture. Organize a bridge event demonstrating that your church welcomes and uplifts everyone.

  • School supplies giveaway
  • Block party
  • Parenting classes
  • Holiday events
  • Recycling drive
  • Concert
  • Carnival
  • Wellness program
  • Free community swim day

Hold these events at venues off church grounds and avoid religious themes.

7.     Spotlight Your Events

Hosting church activities and holding community outreach events are great works. They’ll also help with your church marketing efforts. But only if you get the word out. Get your congregation involved. Hold contests or raffles as incentives for bringing friends, relatives, co-workers, and neighbors to an event. Use those traditional marketing methods to get the word out. Advertise your event in the community paper and on radio stations. Post banners and other signage. Don’t forget to highlight upcoming events in your newsletter and on your website. And be sure to post information and updates on your social media accounts with links to your site.

8.     Apply the Personal Touch

Just getting people in the door is not enough to build a bigger congregation. You must give them a welcoming experience that encourages them to return. You need to engage your visitors and learn what they respond to. Start with a warm, personal greeting. Don’t forget to provide sign-in cards to gather contact information. This will give you the data you need to follow-up with some of your other marketing efforts.

Provide small gifts to new visitors, like the promotional items identified in the Traditional Marketing section. Books and gift cards for area businesses also make nice gifts. Include informational brochures about your church, events, and community outreach efforts. Offer snacks and beverages to encourage fellowship before and after your service.

Follow-up with your new visitors right away with a personalized thank you card. Then email them a few days later. Request feedback on the service and ask them if they have any suggestions to make them feel welcome. A week later, send an Evite to attend another service or upcoming event.

Pro Tips:

  • Use welcome and directional signage to help visitors find your church and locate adequate parking.
  • Don’t overwhelm your visitors by asking for too much information on the sign-in cards – just name, mailing address, phone number, and email.
  • Be sure your follow-up correspondence includes your website address so they can look up more information about your church.

9.     Take Advantage of Local SEO Strategies

In the 2018 Pew Research study, researchers asked what kept some respondents from attending church. Almost a quarter of those respondents said they haven’t found one they like. If people in your community are searching for a church home, will they find yours? Local SEO can increase the possibility that they will.

List your church on all the relevant online directories to help searchers find you. Some essential business listing services include Google, Facebook, Bing, and the Yellow Pages. Claim your Google My Business Listing online. Add pertinent details so searchers know where to find you, how to contact you, and when to visit. Include your branding with your logo and pictures. Once you’re up and running, invite congregants to leave reviews to make the most of this essential marketing tool.

10.     Maximize the Use of Digital Tools

Digital bulletin boards, mobile apps, podcasts, and mobile-optimized websites are examples of some of the digital tools that can support your church marketing efforts. Smartphone use has been growing rapidly. In the U.S., it’s currently at 248.68 million users. And it’s expected to grow to 270.66 million smartphone users by 2022. With those numbers, you need to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices. And if you create a church app, you make it easier for more people to interact with your organization and participate in events.

Tithing in the Digital World

Declining church attendance isn’t the only downward trend in the church sphere. Among the people who do attend services regularly, tithing has been decreasing. About 17% of Americans claim they tithe. And only 3% to 5% of congregants who donate to their churches do so through tithing. That’s the same percentage of Americans who admit their tithing amounts have lessened. Your organization relies on these donations to perform all the essential function of a church. With increased charitable receipts, you can reach more people and do more good. This is another area where digital tools can be helpful. Software simplifies the process, enhances convenience, and gives congregants more donation options.

These church marketing tips will help you extend your reach and connect with new church members. With strategies that embrace both online and face-to-face methods, you have a better chance of interacting with different generations. And by establishing your brand, you effectively express the values and mission of your church to your community. Digital tools can support you in these efforts and allow you to focus more on spreading the gospel, helping your community, and maintaining a successful ministry. Our digital donation software is an excellent resource to help you meet these goals. Learn all about NewFire Giving – the giving software that pays for itself.

Engaging Every Type of Giver: Maximizing Success of Your Church

By | Clarify the WHY

Whether you are a pastor or a leader within your church, you know that it can be challenging to raise money while focusing on meaningful missions. Although you'll likely want to focus most of your energy on missions that benefit those in your community and beyond, these meaningful objectives require financial support.

Since each member of your congregation is a unique individual with his or her own habits when it comes to charitable giving, it rarely makes sense to use a one-size-fits-all approach to reach everyone. By understanding what motivates your audience, you can speak to their individual needs for the success of your church.

In some cases, people are sporadic givers, whereas others are consistent impact givers. Regardless of who walks into your church, here's how to engage each type of giver.

Want to Engage Different Types of Givers? Here's How

In order to receive consistent financial support, you must actively communicate with those in your church. Although you most likely see the majority of givers on Sundays, you're no longer limited to this one day in terms of engagement.

In today's digital world, it's imperative that you provide those in your church with multiple options and methods to give. Although there's software that will make this a reality, you also need to be clear in terms of your message. That is why you must first understand who it is you're speaking to based on each type of giver.

As you have likely noticed, there are a number of different givers that support your ministry. These include:

  • Reluctant givers who don't give at all or give rarely
  • Casual, sporadic givers who often give based on an emotional response
  • Regular givers who support the church on a consistent basis
  • Thoughtful, impact givers who go above and beyond in terms of their generosity
    While you'll want to take a specific approach with each giver, regardless of who you're speaking to, ensure that communication remains open and that you are consistent in terms of taking ownership. As a pastor, for instance, you'll want to be open about your church's budget and core objectives so that your members better understand the financial health of your ministry.

When aiming to target those who are reluctant to give or do not give often, it's important that you make these types of givers feel secure. Let them know that their contribution, no matter how small, will be put to good use — and that they matter in terms of the church's overall vision. The key is making people feel comfortable enough that they can ask questions — transparency is key.

Also, studies have shown that asking for a donation but then encouraging payment later can increase giving among reluctant givers.

In terms of those who are key donors, meaning those who contribute on a regular basis, it's important that you nurture these individuals. Of course, you'll want to show your appreciation and gratitude. However, you'll also want to encourage open dialogue. So, let them know how their contributions impact the church in terms of positive progression. Always tie their donation to a sense of purpose, and be open about the outcome, providing key details in terms of their generosity.

So, whether you're discussing the needs of the church with a new giver or an impact giver, know who you're speaking with in terms of their own emotions, motivations, and behaviors. In doing so, you will strengthen bonds all while funding key missions that benefit all.

If you're ready to reach more people, all you need is take 30 minutes of your time. We can help you increase your giving by at least 10 percent. Contact us today to learn more!

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