Church Fundraising Letters: An Essential Guide
he body of Christ might run on the Spirit, but the congregation and church building also runs on monetary resources. The part of your church that exists in this world wants to keep the lights on and pay the pastor and other staff members so they can afford homes and food, for example. And all that takes money and a church budget.
Successful church leaders understand the role of fundraising in the daily life of the congregation. From regular tithing to donations for special projects or causes, it’s the goodwill and generosity of the congregation and community that keeps the church walls up and things within physically functioning.
One tool for raising money is the church fundraising letter. Like any tool, it usually works better when used alongside others — and most churches should pair fundraising letters with a well-equipped plan that also includes digital giving tools and resources. At the same time, it’s important to ensure you know how to use fundraising letters, because the wrong letter could diminish your fundraising capability.
Find out more about church fundraising letters and get actionable tips for writing them — including some sample templates — below.
Then, find out how DonorWerx can help you create and manage fundraising campaigns that tap into the true potential of your donor support network.
Why Send a Church Letter Asking for Financial Support?
It’s common for church leaders to avoid sending letters because they believe their members and others already know of the need. You might believe the congregation is well aware of the budget required to maintain a functioning church — especially if you offer handouts with the annual or quarterly budget. Perhaps you announced the youth were having a fundraiser for a mission trip on Sunday and in the bulletin. Maybe everyone knows you’re raising money for a new building and you have the goal posted in the lobby.
Not Everyone Understands the Needs of the Church
Unfortunately, you can’t assume that everyone does understand there’s a need. A lot happens in the church lobby, and many people have been coming to church enough that they’re immune to signs and postings. Minds can wander during Sunday morning announcements, and not everyone understands the budget lists that get passed out. These are just a few of the reasons you might want to send a letter out explaining the need and letting members know what they can do to meet it.
Church Fundraising Letters Call Individuals to Action
Even if you send out “bulk” letters and everyone in your congregation gets one, it’s still an individual communication arriving to each person’s mailbox. And that communication tells the person exactly what they can do to help with a situation.
Church leaders who have ever worked with volunteers for various ministries probably know this truth: It’s much more powerful to ask a person individually to respond to a volunteer need than to ask from the pulpit for volunteers to make themselves known. While fundraising letters aren’t necessarily singular, they can still give people a feeling of individual responsibility that makes them more likely to step up.
Letters Let People Prayerfully Consider Giving
Another reason to incorporate letters into your fundraising program is that it allows you to connect with people on terms that might work better for them. While U.S. Census numbers show that the median household income in the United States is $61,937, you know that members in your congregation can fall far below or far above that. You also realize that the average American doesn’t have a great deal squirreled away for a rainy day and is probably living on some kind of budget.
That doesn’t mean people don’t have resources for giving. What it does mean is that people may not know if they have the resources right now. Make a call from the pulpit for contributions to a special project, and many people may pass on giving extra that Sunday. They have to go home, check their bank accounts, and consult their budgets.
A letter gives them the chance to do so. It also lets them spend time praying about this need and how God is calling them to meet it, which can lead to greater faith in giving generously.
Tips for Writing Church Fundraising Letters That Perform
Though fundraising letters definitely have some great benefits, there are downsides. It’s easy to scan the message and toss it in the trash, for example. And even if people want to help, they might set the letter aside and forget it about it. Follow some of these tips for writing letters that capture recipient attention and make it more likely a person will act immediately to donate.
Tell the Right Story
In most cases, the worst thing you can do is send a letter that simply says, “We need money for this, so please consider donating.” Asking nicely is just good manners, but keeping it to the bare minimum like that doesn’t make use of the psychology of giving. It also doesn’t engage the audience in a way that makes them want to give.
Instead, use your letter to tell a story. If you need money to send the youth on a mission trip, tell the story of someone who was previously helped by such a trip or the story of one of the youth and why they feel called to this endeavor. If you’re fundraising for a building effort, use church stats and dates to show people how much the congregation has grown and why the expansion is necessary.
One of the best things you can do is to make the effort about people and not some vague concept of “the church” or even the congregation. People are more likely to reach out and help other people.
Always Stick to Core Beliefs
Never let your need for money or your fundraising efforts erode the core beliefs that your church stands on. In fact, you may have better returns on your letters if you incorporate those beliefs into your communication.
- Align your purpose with God’s. Explain what the church is being led to by God and how the money raised will help with those efforts.
- Start with a Biblical foundation. Share a Bible verse or story that supports what the church is doing.
- Keep your church mission and vision in mind. Point out how the money you’re raising will be used to further that mission.
Provide a Way Members Can Donate Immediately
Provide a way that someone can give immediately. Invite letter recipients to visit online donation pages, provide URLs to your website, or let them know how to download a donation app. Extra points for printing an app QR code directly on the letter — the more steps you can remove from the process, the less likely donors are to get distracted on their way to give.
Check out the resources offered by DonorWerx to learn more about setting up comprehensive donation processes that work for everyone.
Always Thank Donors
Thank them in general from the pulpit, but make sure church leaders or those directly impacted by the funds (such as youth or special projects teams) send thank you notes or letters. It’s more than good manners — though that’s enough of a reason to do it.
Thank you letters remind someone of how they helped and ensure they know their contribution was appreciated. That can make it more likely people will contribute again in the future.
Plus, thank you letters can also help you keep people informed. You can also create a thank you video that does this job. If you want people to give regularly, they need to feel connected to and part of the effort. Sharing how funds were used, what successes were had, and what’s next for a team, project, or congregation is a great way to do this.
Sample Church Fundraising Letters for Common Purposes
How you write a church fundraising letter — from the formatting to the story — depends in part on the type of communication you’re sending. In most cases, these letters fit into one of the broad categories below.
Tithe Campaign Letter
What is it?
Send letters to encourage members to commit to tithing a certain amount each week or month.
When to use it?
Tithe campaigns can be run when the church feels basic financial needs aren’t being met by the congregation or if many people are not giving regularly. They can also be run periodically to educate members about church stewardship and encourage everyone to take part in this important effort.
Tithe campaign letters that work best tend to be informative and educational without putting undue pressure on the recipient. Consider acknowledging known financial struggles, informing people about church needs, and letting people know that commitments of any size are welcome.
Tithe Campaign Letter Template
Dear (Member name),
We’re so excited about what’s happening at (church name), and we can’t wait to see what God is planning for us in the future.
This year alone, we’ve (list 2-3 accomplishments of the congregation). We’re also looking forward to supporting (describe a large project or event coming up, such as an expansion, youth mission trip, or planned revival).
None of this is possible without the input, talents, time, and resources of everyone in our congregation. We can’t tell you how grateful we are for everything you do. As Paul writes in Philippians 1:3, we do thank God every time we think of you.
And we’re not the only ones. Just last week/month, (insert a short anecdote of someone who received help or was blessed by the church resources; if possible, include a quote of gratitude from them).
But we can’t continue this good work without ongoing resources, which is why we’re reaching out to you today. We’re asking you to prayerfully consider a giving commitment — to consider being part of this great commission that we are carrying out together by donating from your monetary resources.
We’re not asking for you to give today. Instead, pray about what you’re able to do. Whether you can give $10 a week or $1,000 a month, we know God has the power to do amazing things with your donations.
Visit (church giving site) or download (church giving app) and set up an account. Then, create a one-time or repeating donation in any amount.
Thank you for being a part of our effort to do good work in the name of Jesus.
Sponsorship Donation Letters
What is it?
A sponsorship letter asks someone to provide a donation to cover part or all of the cost of a very specific effort or need. Usually, sponsorships are tied to people. For example, if your church is working to send youth to camp, you might ask members to agree to sponsor a child or teen and pay for the total cost of their camp.
When to use it?
Consider using sponsorship letters when you want to fund a group of people doing certain things and can tie donations to an individual. People are typically more likely to respond to a need if they can see it helping or supporting a specific person.
Sponsorship Letter Template
Dear (Member name),
You might have heard that (group or person) is planning to (brief description of project).
As a church, we fully support this effort, knowing that it will (insert some benefits of the project, paying special attention to spiritual benefits or those that align with your church’s mission. For example, if you’re sending children to camp, you might say the effort is important because it allows children to grow in their walk with Christ and creates a foundation to equip the future leaders of the church).
But these efforts require monetary resources, and not all who are being called to participate have the resources to do so. (If you can include a specific story or example, do so here).
Sarah, a single mom of three, believes in the spiritual value of camp for her kids. “Jason prayed for the first time in front of others at camp last year and has been bolder about prayer at home and for others since he went,” she says. “I know that it makes a huge difference in my kids’ spiritual lives.” But Sarah can’t afford $400 each for three kids to attend camp. “I work hard to provide for my kids, but that’s my take home every two weeks.”
(Example Story End)
To help ensure (goal, such as “every kid has the ability to attend this spiritually important camp regardless of the means of their family), we’re reaching out to you for help.
The cost for (one unit of what you need sponsored, such as one child’s camp, airfare for one missionary, or one set of tools for a work effort) is (cost).
If you can afford to cover the total cost of one or more (unit), please log into (church donation software) or send a check in the enclosed envelope. Indicate what your donation is for. We’ll make sure it goes to those most in need to sponsor their (attendance, work, or effort).
Even if you can’t afford a full sponsorship, you can be part of this important effort. Simply give what you can — many hands make light work!
Thank you for being willing to open your heart and wallet to help others.
Project Fundraising Letter
What is it?
This is similar to a sponsorship letter in that you’re asking someone to contribute funds directly to a specific effort. However, you aren’t tying it to an individual.
When to use it?
Use the project fundraising letter when you want to encourage donations in support of any specific and temporary expense related to projects of the church. You want to make sure you aren’t double-dipping by tying project requests to things that should be covered by normal church operating budgets. For example, a new air conditioner for the church might be considered a normal operating expense covered by regular tithes, but buying every child in the church a Bible for home study or funding the opening of a new church food bank might be considered projects.
Project Fundraising Letter Template
Dear (Member name),
My name is (your name) and I’m writing on behalf of (project team, committee, or church name). We’re raising money to support (describe project or effort), and I wanted to share about what we’re doing and how you can help.
(Write a short paragraph or two describing the effort, why it’s important, and how it supports Christian missions or the church. If the project is to help others, try to include some information about an individual being helped.)
I’m writing because this work takes time and resources, including money. If everyone in the congregation gave (insert amount, which is calculated as total project budget divided by number of members), our effort would be 100% funded. But we’re so appreciative of any donation you can give — even an amount of (insert small amount), which is equivalent to (insert something equivalent to the amount you pick, such as a cup of coffee or a pizza) can help.
Your donations will go toward (insert a list of expenses to be covered by donations).
Thank you in advance for any contribution you make. Your generosity makes such a huge difference in our ability to help others, and your donations equip us to bring the light of Christ throughout the community and world.
To make a donation:
- Send a check to (insert address) and write (project identifier) in the subject line
- Make an online donation at (insert website)
- Log into (church donation app) and make a donation with (project identifier) in the notes field
Again, thank you for opening your heart and helping us reach out to others.
Church Building Fundraising Letters
What is it?
Church building fundraising letters are used to encourage funds specifically for the purpose of building a new church building or expanding existing facilities.
When to use it?
Use this letter when you’re seeking funds to build or build onto a church. You can use a commitment-type letter that asks people to commit to giving a certain amount every week to the building fund. To do this, simply modify the tithe template above. You can also ask for one-time donations to cover certain expenses related to the building fund. We share a template for that type of letter below.
One-Time Church Building Fundraising Letter Template
Wow, these past few years have been exciting for (insert church name). We’ve accomplished so much and have seen God’s promises play out in so many ways.
Just this year, we (insert some positive accomplishments or exciting opportunities for the church).
As you know, we also voted as a congregation to (briefly describe building plans, such as what you’re adding on or what you’re constructing). And while we rest confidently on our faith in God and have sought his will in this effort through prayer and contemplation — individually and as a church body — we also have to keep the practicalities of building in mind.
That’s where you come in!
One of those practicalities is that building something costs money. Here are some of the expenses we’ll be dealing with:
(Create a bulleted list detailing some of the expenses of the project. Include a wide range of expenses. For example, you might note that you need 1,200 square feet of flooring tile, but provide the cost per square foot.)
We know that these expenses are necessary to help us continue to carry out our good work. Some of the benefits of the expansion will include:
(Create a short bulleted list of benefits.)
But we can’t get there without you. We’re asking you to continue praying about these efforts and to consider whether you can help in a monetary way. Look over that list of expenses. Is there one you can help meet? Whether you can cover the cost of a (small expense) or (large expense), every donation helps us reach our goal.
If you can help, visit (website) or log into (church giving software) and make a donation today. You can also send a check to (address) or drop one in the offering plate on Sunday — just make sure to mark any donation for the building fund.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers, support, and donations as we expand our ability to serve the congregation and community.
Final Words About Church Donation Letters
Always remember that God has no limit of resources, but the pockets of your church family are not so equipped. Church leaders should work together to prioritize needs and projects and reach out in cohesive ways to people for donations. If you send multiple donation letters in short periods of time, you’ll burn out your congregation’s goodwill. You might also exhaust their resources. You certainly don’t want to do this before finishing the job.
For more information and guidance on raising funds for your church, consider enrolling with DonorWerx.