Churches need to raise money for any number of reasons. The roof is leaking. The youth group wants to send a few members to Uganda to help build a school. There aren’t enough books in the Sunday school library.
Whatever the case may be, your church needs to raise money, and a well thought-out fundraising letter is the way to go.
If you’re looking for information on any particular type of letter, feel free to click on one of these links to skip to that section:
#8. Thank you letter
And if you’re looking for information on church newsletters specifically, check out our guide on the subject.
You’ve got a big event coming up. Maybe you’re hosting a 4th of July fireworks extravaganza. Or maybe it’s the annual Christmas pageant. In any case, you need to get the word out ahead of time to get people involved.
Big events don’t necessarily mean big budgets, so when you’re sending out letters, be sure to stress that your congregation can help out without donating money. That being said, it’s okay to communicate that every little bit counts.
Special event letters and special project letters go pretty much hand-in-hand. They both require a little extra specificity.
In special event and project letters, people generally look for:
- The date of the event or the deadline of the project.
- Specific time of the event.
- The place or places the project or event is being held.
- Whom to contact with questions.
- How to offer concrete help (donations or lending a hand).
As far as project letters are concerned, you should keep in mind that the key to generating interest in your projects is by appealing to your donors’ hearts.
Make sure you target your letters to the people who have a vested interest in the special projects your church is doing.
For instance, if you’re looking to start hosting a women’s Bible study group, it’s more than okay (and, in fact, recommended) to focus your efforts on the church’s women’s ministry first and foremost.
The same goes for sending out information about VBS (Vacation Bible School) only to congregation members with children. It just makes sense.
Takeaway: Special event and project letters can help your church reach its goals while informing the congregation about upcoming events.
#2. Mission trip letter
A good, intentional mission trip letter can mean the difference between staying stateside and funding an incredible, sustainable ministry overseas.
If you’re thinking about writing and sending out letters to fundraise for your mission trip, the first thing you need to consider is: “Whom should I send letters to?”
You don’t want to send out letters to just anyone.You need to cherry-pick the people who would be most likely to respond to your call for support.
Support is another key word.
In addition to asking for specific donation amounts, you should remember to ask for prayers and support in any way.
When considering when to send out your mission trip letter, try to schedule the letters to arrive about 3 or 4 months in advance of your trip.
You don’t want to send them out so far in advance that people forget…or so late in the game that they don’t have time to help you out.
Bonus tip: Adding pictures of the community or of the missionaries who are already in the field creates a nice visual element to complement your letter’s narrative. Who knows? Your picture might end up on their fridge!
#3. Church donation letter
A standard letter that every church should have in its arsenal, a generic church donation letter can serve many purposes:
- It can be a part of the monthly or weekly newsletter, prompting regular churchgoers to tithe.
- A church donation letter can also be a special annual ask, which would warrant a longer, more detailed letter.
General donation letters can be sent out to anyone and everyone, but they can also get very specific and target a smaller audience, for instance the men’s ministry.
Whatever its purpose may be, a solid church donation letter has two jobs:
- To inform the reader of the church’s status and plans.
- To ask for donations, specific or otherwise.
Whether you send out your church donation appeals annually or more frequently, timing is important. Make sure that you plan ahead, so you can time your appeals just right!
Additionally, you should always include information about how to give online or over mobile, if those are giving channels your church offers.
If your church only sends out donation letters once a year, it’s best to send out your letters right around the holidays or the end of the year. It’s the season of giving–and who better to give to than the local church?
As with mission trip letters, you want to make sure that your general church donation letters arrive with enough time for your donors to take action, but not so far in advance that your members ultimately forget about your asking well before the deadline.
#4. Church building or repair letter
These letters can either mean that something has gone terrifically well…or disastrously wrong.
In either case, a church building or repair letter means that major construction and supplies need to be paid for.
If your church is expanding its horizons, congratulations!
Now is the time to give thanks for this tremendous opportunity–but also to get started planning and executing the realities of building a new church facility.
One of the best ways to pay for the brick and mortar of your new building is by reaching out to your current members.
Send them a simple letter letting them know your plans and how they can be a part of this big change.
A fun way to spice up your asking is by allowing church members to pick certain items they want to pay for with their donations. For instance, a family can choose to donate $100 with the intent of funding a new bathroom sink.
If, for some reason, your church finds itself in need of repair, now is the time to get started with a more urgent letter writing campaign. Be sure to discuss the specific needs when you’re writing your letters.
Takeaway: Whether you’re repairing damage or building a new structure, sending a letter asking for support can help tremendously.
#5. Auction item request letter
Fundraising letters aren’t always about asking for monetary donations.
Sometimes you’re in need of what are called “in-kind” donations. In-kind donations can be anything from goods (picnic baskets, new chairs, sound equipment, etc.) to services (tax filing, counseling, expertise, etc.).
When your church is planning an auction, whether it’s silent or traditional, you’re going to need items to offer up. You might even want to offer up specialized services!
In any case, you’ll need to reach out to your congregation in a meaningful way.
The best way to reach out and ask for an in-kind donation is by sending a letter.
Auction item request letters should:
- Begin with a personalized greeting.
- Keep it short and sweet.
- Be specific about your needs.
- Invite them to the event/auction.
- Thank them for their consideration.
Takeaway: To get the most out of an auction, make sure you send out auction item request letters to your church’s members.
#6. Sponsorship request letter
If you’re looking for someone to sponsor your church’s event, sending out a sponsorship request letter is the best way to go.
When you’re crafting your sponsorship request letter, make sure that you highlight the benefits of sponsorship.
You must convince your potential sponsor that it’s worth contributing to your cause.
Whether it’s starting your church’s softball team, or funding your youth group’s service trip, your cause is worthy of sponsorship. Be sure to communicate that message loud and clear.
Whom should you send sponsorship letters to?
- Look into local businesses first. They will be the most likely candidates to help you out.
- Focus on smaller businesses as well as larger establishments.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to chain businesses in your town.
Once you’ve received your sponsorships, be sure to send thank you’s and acknowledgments. In your follow-up letters, include information about how their contributions are being put to work.
Provide your sponsors with proof of any incentives you may have offered.
Takeaway: Sending out sponsorship letters to local businesses can take your church’s special project from zero to sixty in no time at all.
#7. Missionary support letter
How are missionary support letters different from mission trip letters?
- Typically, mission trip letters are sent out before a mission trip.
- Missionary support letters are usually sent by missionaries who are already in the field.
More often than not, missionaries live in the communities they serve. Mission trippers often only stay for a week or a month at a time.This time discrepancy means that mission trippers often don’t have time to send follow-up letters while they’re still in their communities.
These differences mean that there must be major differences in the way that missionary support letters are written.
Missionary support letters need:
- To show how the community is benefitting from the initial contributions.
- To update the church on the missionary’s status.
- To thank contributors.
- To ask for new gifts.
#8. Thank you letter
Last, but certainly not least. Thank you letters are the bread and butter of your church letter writing campaign.
Just as you would always say, “Amen” after a prayer, so should you always send out a thank you letter to your faithful church members.
Donations and thank you letters are like PB&J: a match made in heaven.
Your thank you letter can be as tailored and specific as you’d like.
The most important point to get across is that you really appreciate their stewardship and hope that they continue to remain supportive of all of your endeavors.
In addition to being an uplifting moment, thank you letters are also a great opportunity to encourage recurring donations. Offer donors the chance to make their gift a monthly or quarterly tithing. You’d be surprised how generous people can be when they feel truly appreciated.
Another important piece you can attach to any of your thank you letters is a tax write-off form. That’s right! All donations made to churches and other nonprofits are fully tax-deductible.
You and your congregation can rejoice in this glorious fact. Just don’t forget to mail out the receipt from the donation along with the form and the letter of gratitude.
Takeaway: Above all else, “thank” and “you” are two of the sweetest words you can say, so say them often and mean them wholeheartedly.
Now that you’ve read through all 8 church fundraising letters, you have a template for virtually any situation your church may need. Use these letters to start interacting with congregants and asking for gifts.
For more information on how you can raise money for your church, check out these additional resources:
- Church Fundraising Ideas. Writing fundraising letters is just one way you can raise money for your cause. If you’re looking for more fundraising ideas, we have a list of over 100 ideas to get you started!
- 10 Practical Online Giving Lessons. Just like nonprofits, churches can use online giving has a way to accept tithes and additional gifts when you need extra support. Learn about 10 ways you can improve your church’s online giving.
- Church Newsletters. Newsletters—when used correctly—can be a vital component to your church’s fundraising efforts because they help keep your parishioners informed about current events and new tithing methods. Our guide is full of 15+ strategies you can use to produce a quality newsletter for your congregation.
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