Direct Mail for Churches: 4 Best Practices for Engagement

Direct Mail for Churches: 4 Best Practices for Engagement

Community engagement is something that should be of utmost importance in your organization—especially if you are a church. When you have a large following, their engagement should be a high priority because, without it, they likely have no interest in your organization or your mission. 

BIt’s important to recognize that engagement is a two-way street. If your organization is not sending newsletters or communicating with your members, it is very likely that your supporters will not be as interested in your organization. The more effort you put into communicating with your members, the more likely they are to respond well to donation requests or volunteer opportunities. Think of it this way: the more you put in, the more you get out. 

With that being said, direct mail is a fantastic way to increase communication with churchgoers and keep everyone on the same page. Then, the more effort you put into your appeals, the more likely you are to get a higher ROI and better member engagement. And when used correctly, church communication letters not only boost engagement but also are a powerful tool for driving your church’s overall mission forward. 

In this article, we’ll discuss ways to gain and retain your members’ engagement for longer periods of time. Whether your church is stuck with stagnant donors, or you want to reach out to new supporters, this collection of tips and tricks will help you fulfill your goals. 

Here are four tips for boosting your member’s engagement:

  1. Send regular newsletters
  2. Incorporate specific requests for donations
  3. Make it easy to give
  4. Promote other fundraising ideas

Ready to learn how to reach more donors and engage existing ones? Read on!

1. Send regular newsletters

The first step to boosting your overall engagement is by constantly showing interest in your donors. In doing this, remember that every direct mailing doesn’t have to be a fundraising ask. It is important to maintain communication with your donors without always asking for money. One way to do this is by sending out newsletters on a consistent basis alongside your donation ask. This not only keeps your church at the top of your congregation’s minds but also provides you with bountiful opportunities to communicate with your congregation. 

In addition to boosting engagement with newsletters, they also help build personal relationships with your congregation and foster a stronger sense of community within the church. This encourages your congregants to stay connected with one another and with church leaders. 

Church newsletters tend to be publications that inform congregates about current events in and around the church. They also tend to include things like news, calendar events, photos, and contact information for church leaders.  Some churches pass out these newsletters, while others mail them, and others yet send them in a digital format over email. Our suggestion? Mailing your newsletters tends to be one of the best ways to get the right information into the hands of your congregation. 

2. Incorporate specific requests for donations

Although regular newsletters can be a fantastic way to communicate with your congregation, they’re certainly not the only type of direct mailing you should send. Fundraising letters are also crucial because they provide the funding for your church and allow your congregation to better pursue your mission. In order to have a successful church fundraising letter, you have to make sure to nail your fundraising ask and incorporate specific donation requests. 

Essentially, you want to make sure you go beyond just asking your donors to donate. When you word your fundraising appeals, you want to make sure that you call your donor to action and specify what their donation will do. For example, you might state that  “a dollar a day provides a child with a Bible in their own native language”. Then, you’ll want to take it a step further by asking for gifts of a specific size, such as $25, $50, or even $100. The more the reader feels that they are the one actively achieving your goals through specific donation requests, the more likely they are to give their support. 

Another way to specify your ask is by aligning it with a specific story. If you effectively communicate where their donation goes, it will lead to your donor feeling more satisfied with their gift. Furthermore, it creates a tangible attachment for the donor, possibly leading to more donations in the future. Essentially, you want to make sure to avoid simply asking for a sum of money, instead come up with creative ways to incorporate specific asks. 

3. Make it easy to give

When making your fundraising asks, be sure that the actual giving part is as easy as possible. For example, it’s always a good idea to include a prepaid, pre-addressed return envelope with any fundraising letters you send. This way, you can proactively diminish some of the most common deterrents from donating. 

On the other hand, if you know that a particular recipient prefers to make their donations online, be sure to include the URL (or even a QR code) leading donors to your online donation form with ease.

Another way to cater to a more digital approach is by utilizing a text-to-tithe method. When you incorporate text-to-tithe, it eases the process and allows donors to commit to it on a more regular basis. 

UX, or user experience, also plays a huge role in how your website and giving software functions, and how your supporters react. Improving things like mobile performance and ease of use can greatly impact your conversion rates and your donors’ overall experience.

By offering a plethora of possibilities for giving, you increase the likelihood that the recipients of your fundraising appeals will take the next step. Otherwise, if the process is too lengthy or otherwise complicated, you essentially are creating a deterrent for your donors in not allowing them to easily donate. 

4. Promote other fundraising ideas

The final step to improving your engagement is incorporating multiple channels within your campaign. Luckily for you, direct mail fundraising pairs very well with tons of additional fundraising ideas, effectively laying the foundation for a comprehensive, multi-channel fundraising strategy.

That said, incorporating a multichannel approach will likely lead to higher levels of engagement among donors. We recommend utilizing direct mail along with text, email, social media, and telemarketing strategies to maximize your fundraising efforts. 

Other ways to diversify your church’s fundraising efforts include incorporating more in-person events into your marketing strategy. Things like silent auctions, t-shirt fundraisers, or even shoe-drives all are great ways to increase donor engagement and provide them with memorable events that they can attach to their donation. Plus, it’s an opportunity for churchgoers to get to know one another, and your church, on a more personal level.

All in all, direct mail is a useful tool to implement within your marketing strategy that can also significantly boost your engagement. When you utilize this powerful channel to create and send your church’s donation requests along with the tips and tricks mentioned in this article, you get to reap benefits such as increased donations, greater engagement overall, and increased donor retention. Best of luck!

This was a guest post contributed by Grant of GivingMail.

Grant Cobb is a fundraising specialist with over 6 years of experience in the nonprofit space. Currently the head of marketing and analytics at GivingMail, he is a huge proponent of data-driven decision making and the push to bring high-level analytics and fundraising to all.

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