How to Help Your Church Go Digital

With the health crisis brought about by COVID-19, pastors across the United States are facing some significant questions right now. Questions like:

  • How do navigate our church through this season of crisis?
  • How should we respond?
  • How can we keep people connected?
  • How do we focus on the mission and keep momentum going? 

And perhaps the biggest question for many pastors:

How do I take my church online?

Many large churches already have robust online platforms in place. But if you’re the pastor of a small or growing church, your church may not have a strong digital presence. 

The good news: You don’t have to know technology well to have an online platform. 

What you do need is a well-thought out action plan. Here are a few steps you can take to help your church community go digital:

TAKE YOUR CHURCH SERVICE ONLINE

Begin with your weekly large group gathering. Think through the important elements of that gathering. How you can provide those same elements digitally? Are there creative ways to accomplish the same objectives?

Here are six service components to consider:

Worship

Will you have a worship leader lead worship solo or can you bring a small worship team together? Will this be pre-recorded, or recorded live?

Prayer

Will you include a time of prayer and reflection as part of your online service? Could you offer a weekly prayer guide for members?

Sermon 

Similar to your worship, will you pre-record a sermon or will you preach a sermon and stream it live? Could you offer digital sermon notes for people to download? Are there other resources you could provide to help them digest the sermon?

Giving 

What percentage of your congregation currently gives online vs. in the plate on Sunday morning? What steps could you take to help more people to give online?

Make sure your congregation knows how to set up online giving or text-to-give. If possible, have an easy-to-click link to your giving page close to wherever you are encouraging people to to to watch your service online. 

If you haven’t already done so, offer a guide or tutorial that explains how to give online and encourages people to set up reoccurring donations. 

It is also crucial during this time that you explain to your members the how and why of giving. As more people become financially strapped, having an understanding of WHY we give and HOW those funds will be used becomes even more important.

For more ideas on how to do this, download our free guide to Building a Culture of Generosity at Your Church. 

Families 

Let’s be honest, most churches usually offer separate activities for children during the main services. For many families, worshiping together at home can be a new (and somewhat distracting) experience. Think through how your service can become more family-friendly or how you can provide additional resources to engage families. 

Guests 

You may not physically be welcoming guests to a building, but that doesn’t mean you can’t connect with guests. Consider having a digital connection card for people to complete that watch your service online. 

This moment in time is unlike any of us have experienced in our lifetime. Now, more than ever, anxiety is high, and people are searching for something that will bring them peace. 

Encourage your members to invite their friends and family to watch your online service. And if someone does tune in for the first time, encourage them to complete the digital connect card. Then follow up with a text message or email thanking them for attending. Consider sending a letter or small welcome gift in the mail as well. 

For more specific suggestions on the nuts and bolts of setting up a digital church service, check out this video.

KEEP YOUR COMMUNITY CONNECTED

Connection 

As Hebrews 10:25 reminds us, “Do not neglect meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.”

So how do we keep connection? How do we “meet together” digitally?

Consider additional ways you can foster community and discussion online via your church website or perhaps a church Facebook group. 

If your small groups are not currently meeting in person, encourage those smaller groups to stay connected via email, Facebook or apps like GroupMe or WhatsApp.

Another benefit of having digital connect cards is that they can offer an opportunity for members to submit prayer requests and needs. Perhaps you can publish an anonymous list of requests and needs. Encourage your members to be praying over these requests and give members the opportunity to help meet one another’s needs. 

Communication 

Now more than ever, it’s important that your congregation knows how they will get information from you. Will you post updates to your church website? Will you communicate via email? Will you post via Facebook or Instagram?  Whichever methods you choose to use, be consistent and communicate updates regularly. 

BE A VOICE OF CALM IN A STORM

Almost every person that I’ve spoken with in the last several days has expressed feelings of heightened anxiety and uncertainty. As church leaders, we can either add to the noise and chaos or we can speak truth and joy into the void.

Be aware of how you interact with those you speak to. Do your words bring clarity or confusion? Do they add to people’s anxiety levels or do your words convey peace and hope? 

In addition to official church communication, use your personal social feed (if you have one) to remind people of the source of our hope, peace, courage and joy. As leaders, people are watching and taking cues from how we respond to this situation. 

This is an opportunity for the Church to be the Church in a moment of crisis. As a leader of your local church, you can help set the tone for this and role model the way. 

THE OPPORTUNITY

This is a moment in history where churches have the opportunity to lean into the uncertainty and develop creative solutions to meet both the current and future needs of those in our congregations and our communities

Regardless of the size of your church, this is an opportunity for your church to shine a light and spread life in the cloud of uncertainty and darkness. Now, more than ever, people are searching for comfort, for peace, for hope, for rest. All of these things are found in Jesus! 

Will you step into this opportunity?

CONCLUSION

As we navigate the days, weeks and months ahead, it is our intent to provide you with as much relevant resources, tips and encouragement as we can.

In our next post, we’ll share more about the impact of going digital on the operational side of your church and what you need to consider from an administrative and financial perspective. 

In the meantime, please reach out to us with any questions. We are here to be a resource to your church, and to help you navigate this unprecedented time in our history.  We are praying for you. And we are here to help in whatever way we can.  

What #GivingTuesday Can Teach Us About Generosity

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Over the last seven years, Giving Tuesday has exploded to become a global giving movement.

If you didn’t know, Giving Tuesday is a day that celebrates the collective power of generosity. 

Launched in 2012 as a response to the consumerism of Black Friday, Giving Tuesday occurs annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving in the United States.

In 2018 alone, people from more than 150 countries participated and over 400+ million dollars was raised online!

So what can the Giving Tuesday movement teach us about generosity?

  • Generosity is alive and well

Much has been made of the decline of churches in America and church giving statistics can paint a dreary picture. But generosity is not dead

In the last 12 months, more than six in ten (62%) Americans gave money, either by donating to a charity, by giving to a church/religious organization, or by sponsoring someone. This is also significantly higher than the level in 2017 (55%). 

  • Causes are key

The Charities Aid Foundation found that of those that gave, caring about the cause was the most important reason for giving

This is even more important when it comes to encouraging millennials to give. According to the Millennial Impact Report, millennials engage with causes, far more than institutions

This is why, as I’ve mentioned before, sharing where funds are going and stories of impact is vitally important to encourage generosity at your church. 

  • Generosity requires consistent communication

Over the last seven years, the Giving Tuesday movement has exploded. But it has done so through intentional and concerted effort and communication

The Giving Tuesday website provides a complete free resource toolkit, including six-month and six-week communication timelines for nonprofits looking to participate in Giving Tuesday. Many of these communication best practices can and should be utilized by churches to talk about generosity.

  • Encourage recurring giving

According to the State of Modern Philanthropy (2019), one-time donors who become recurring donors on average started their recurring giving plan roughly 214 days (7 months) after their first donation. What does this mean? 

While it’s wonderful when someone chooses to give for the first time, we can help walk people towards becoming a recurring donor. The study goes on to recommend that nonprofits encourage one-time donors to become recurring immediately or soon after the first donation.

  • Celebrate generosity

Giving Tuesday is about celebrating giving – through donations, advocacy, volunteering and acts of kindness. These forms of giving are the lifestyle we have been called to as followers of Christ. Unfortunately, churches often hesitate to call people to take action and give. 

Rather than avoid the conversation, we should regularly and proactively encourage and call our church communities to give and live generously. We should make it a part of our regular conversation. In fact, we should be the ones leading the generosity charge!

Consider how you can use the Giving Tuesday movement to highlight the importance of generosity. 

Talk about it. Encourage those in your church to participate!

It is a valuable opportunity where culture and Christ can intersect. Use it to encourage generosity, engage culture and start a conversation about how and why we give. 

5 Keys To Encourage Generosity In Your Church

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Let’s face it, income for a church can be tough.  If you’re like most pastors, there’s often a shortage of money at the end of the month. 

We can also agree that income for your church is one of those things you have very little control over. Your church is completely dependent on the generosity of the donors and people that call your church home. 

So, are we supposed to just throw up our hands in despair? 
 
Absolutely not. Here are five ways to encourage generosity in your church: 

1. Make giving and generosity part of your DNA  

Churches have a bad rep when it comes to giving.  Unfortunately, too many pastors have taken advantage of people and preyed upon the donations of their congregations. We still have churches that preach a false narrative of the prosperity gospel, health and wealth, or “name it and claim it” (none of which can be backed by scripture). 

As a pastor, in some cases, you have to overcome past experiences, perceptions or generalizations; but you also need to share that generosity is part of spiritual development. 

To encourage generosity in your ministry, you need to make giving part of your DNA. Preach about it regularly, talk about it openly and candidly, let people know that to be part of the church is to be part of a movement of generosity. 

When people see that the church is genuine, that it is a good steward, and that things are happening as a result of people being generous with their giving, a snowball effect will occur, and people will be more likely to get onboard. 

2. Share stories about what can be done when the church is funded to do ministry  

One way to get that snowball moving is to tell stories about what the church has been able to do because people were generous.  Use real stories, from real people.   

My Giving = Ministry Happening

Now, you don’t have to share specific numbers or tell people how much people were giving, but explain how ministry was able to get done because of the generosity of others. 

Share stories about tangible life change that occurred that was only possible because the church had the resources available. Share about how many salvations, baptisms, marriages saved, etc. that were possible from your church. People need to equate that My Giving = Ministry Happening!  

This may also include sharing a story of how someone’s finances were impacted when they started to give.  Now, you must be careful here because you don’t want to give the impression to someone that their results will be the same just because of giving, but God has made it clear that he will bless faithfulness. 

3. Make the giving process simple and easy 

This step is more practical. If you’re not accepting electronic giving, you need to get that set up today.   

Many studies show that giving increases when online giving options are available and, let’s face it, most people don’t carry cash or their check book regularly. 

Did you know that we have a church online giving system called SimplifyGive?  The name explains it all – a simple way to give to your church. We support online giving via Debit, Credit and ACH, along with giving through web forms and text messages. 

Studies show that giving in churches that have online options increases by more than 30%. 

If you’re reaching a younger demographic (40 and under), you need to have electronic options available for people to be generous. 

Bonus Tip: when you have your offering time in your service, make sure to communicate that you have online giving available, and put the links up on the screen or make them available in the bulletin or worship guide. There will be people that pass the plate without putting anything in and that will be seen by others. If you call it out and say, “You’ll see some people not putting anything in the plate. That’s because they probably gave online, and we welcome you to do the same” 

That simple, non-invasive statement will go a long way to encourage giving. 

4. Show your gratefulness for the generosity of you donors  

It’s one thing to be thankful, and another to demonstrate it.  Of course you can say you’re thankful. But until you actually show someone your thankful for their generosity, it doesn’t matter. 

When was the last time you sent a thank you letter to a first-time donor? 

A simple letter or even email of gratitude to a first-time donor will go a long way.   

When you send out your donor statements, include a pastor’s letter with it to share your thankfulness, and also use that as an opportunity to share what was able to be done in that time period, because of generosity. 

Bonus Tip: Consider sending out semi-annual donor statements or even quarterly statements with a pastor’s letter.  With the SimplifyChurch Bookkeeping Portal, this process is simple and only takes a few minutes. 

When it comes to generosity, you can’t talk enough or make people aware enough about how thankful you are AND what their generosity does for the ministry. 

5. Cast a big vision and show your confidence in how you’ll get there 

Until you share the vision, people won’t know where you’re going. 

People will follow confident leadership and will “buy in” to a vision they can believe in. Everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves, and you can use that opportunity to bring people along. 

Sometimes that vision will seem out of reach.  And to be honest it should be. 

 Your job as pastor and leader is to cast a big vision, but then through leadership and direction, show people how that vision can be accomplished, and what part each person needs to play.   
 
What does this mean, practically? Let’s say you have a church that averages 100 people in attendance and a budget of $200,000 per year. Going into the next year, you know God is going to do some big things, and you want to project a budget of $230,000 for the next year.  That’s a 15% increase, which in church world is a pretty big jump. 

When you share the vision for the upcoming budget year, share the number. Acknowledge that it’s a bold step of faith and will take God’s provision to accomplish. Then break it down to show what that number means for each person in the church. 

A $30,000 increase in budget, is about $2,500/month. You may then mention that average churches only have about 20% of their active attendees as givers, which equates to an increase of $125/month for each giving unit. $2,500/(100 * 20%) 

From there, use this as an opportunity to share how each person can get involved. Maybe project out and encourage people that aren’t current givers to consider giving $125/month.   

Show them what this would like like if the number of givers increased by 10%.  Let’s say instead of 20 people, there were now 30 people giving, and all of them committed to start at or increase to $125. Do you realize that would mean your annual budget would actually increase to be closer to $250,000!  That’s even more than you projected, and it really wasn’t that difficult. $125 * 30 ppl = $3,750/month! That’s $15,000 more per year than you set as your dream goal. 

These five keys will greatly increase generosity in your church. While it may sound simple, these five keys are just the start. Encouraging generosity isn’t something you complete overnight, especially if the first key of making generosity part of your DNA isn’t happening. That shift needs to start and happen over a consistent time period. Once people see you’re committed to making it happen, they’ll jump onboard as well. 

Have you set up online giving for your church yet?

Even if you have a current online giving provider, you need to check out SimplifyGive.com. Our transaction rates are the most competitive and we give you everything for no monthly fee. No strings attached, no contracts, no hassle. We’re just here to serve.

P.S. We even give you text-to-give at no additional charge! Get Started With Online Giving Today!

Send a Single Email to Increase Your Year End Giving

Church Tithing

For most churches, December makes up a large portion of budget giving. Studies have shown that in 2017, 23% of online giving for churches happened in December.

I don’t know about you, but making the most of year end giving can be the difference between making your budget or missing it.

One email can make all the difference in year end giving.

To make the most of your year end giving appeal, take these steps below:

1. Send an email to your entire database using the template below. If you’re using our Church Bookkeeping Software Portal, this email can be prepared to your active donors along with their donor statement showing what they’ve given to date.

2. Send this email Friday December 28 or Saturday December 29. Plan to send it around lunchtime or shortly before dinner time. This will hopefully catch people when they are checking their personal email and has less chance of getting lost in business emails.

What should that email contain?

1. Make it personal

Most databases have the option to enter the donor name automatically from the record. Take advantage and put the donor’s name in the email.

Dear John.

Hint: In most databases, this will be done by adding something like {first.name}

2. Re-Share The Vision

People give to things they believe in. Remind them about the vision and mission of your church.

2018 has been another great year of ministry for our church. Because of you, we’ve continued to reach our community for Christ and be a light in the dark world.

3. Share the Successes

I’ve written previously about sharing with your donors the tangible results of their giving. When people see that their efforts are working, they are more likely to continue. Same thing why diets fail, it’s hard to continue when we don’t see tangible results of our efforts.

Because of your faithful generosity and everyone else that calls our church home, we were able to baptize 25 people and see more than 40 come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
We sent mission teams to Honduras, Florida and East St. Louis and were able to support sending a missionary family to Albania.

We also saw a rise in our average worship attendance and now average 100 kiddos in our children’s ministry.

This is all possible because of generous givers like you.

4. Be Thankful

Kind of obvious, but remember to say THANKS!

5. Have a Call to Action – Make the Ask

The old adage, you have not because you ask not is true here. Be sure to remind people that our mission is not over. We’ve been successful, but there is still more work to be done.

While we’ve experienced great success in 2018, there is still work to do. Would you consider making one final generous gift to our church in December? Your faithfulness allows us to continue ministry and finishing out 2018 strong will have a great kick-start for 2019. Click here to setup a gift online.

6. Personal Close

Close with your name and a personal comment of thanks. This is an opportunity to show vulnerability and praise for your donors.

I am personally grateful for your partnership in ministry. Because of you, I can continue to serve our church and I’m always encouraged to know there are faithful and generous partners on this team together.


Your Pastor,
Steve

7. Remember a PS

Many marketing studies have been done and show that the PS statement is often the most important CTA (Call to Action) of an email. More people click the PS CTA instead of the link in the actual body of the email. Remember to add it.

Remember, gifts must be received in the church office by 11:59 on Dec. 31 to be credited in 2018. You may also opt to give via our online giving option here!

Make Generosity a Culture

Generosity is such an important part of a person’s spiritual development and you as their pastor have a great opportunity to have an impact on that. This one email can really determine the success or failure of your year end giving appeal.

If you’d like to know more about how we can help manage your finances to make generosity a culture in your church and let our Church Bookkeeping System manage your donor records click here to setup a time for a Free, Live Demo.

5 Stages of Generosity in Your Church

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I remember in my first pastoral position as I moved up the ranks in the church and first started reviewing the budget I was shocked when I received my first income report. I was shocked because it showed that less than 20% of our weekly attendance average had given anything in the monthly report.

Of course this had to be wrong so I ran back to the bookkeeper’s office and said there was something wrong with the report and something had to be missing or overlooked.

I’ll never forget the look on her face when she asked me to sit down in her office. (A bit of a backstory, the lady who was serving as the bookkeeper also used to work with the youth group when I was a rambunxious 17 year old so she held a motherly status for me)

She proceeded to tell me that the report wasn’t wrong and that was the reality of the church giving.

I was shocked.

I grew up in a Christian home where my dad from as soon as I received an allowance told me that tithing was part of church life. I’ll admit there probably could have been a more encouraging way to put that, but it worked for me.

Now, I’ll also admit that I can join the ranks of most church goers, I’d contend, that most struggle with this area of discipleship. The devil knows where he can grab a foot hold with me and tithing is definitely one of those areas where I can struggle.

So as pastors, how do we effectively share and encourage giving in churches. I’ve already written in a few areas where giving seems to be one of those taboo subjects most pastors want to scoot past quicker than messages on sex.

Here’s a quick idea on how to move people to take baby steps towards generosity.

I don’t remember who first introduced these steps so I cannot take credit for the originality, but they are also not earth shattering either. It’s a pretty simple idea and the stages are merely generalities and names I came up with.

The fact is the same, however, our goal as pastors should be to encourage people to move to the next step of giving. Here’s a quick explanation of each step.5 stages of Church Generosity image

Stage 1 – Tipper

This unfortunately is where a large number of people fall. If you’ve ever been the person walking up the aisles to pass the plate, these are the folks that grab a last minute amount of cash out of their wallet, fold it over 4 times and place it in the plate as incognito as possible.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that except for the fact that it’s the epitome of poor theology and understanding of church.

For many of these people, their background or understanding of church giving puts it in the same boat as a charitable donation to a local community organization or the people that tie up traffic asking for money at the local four way stop in your home town.

Stage 2 – Giver

The next step shows a person moving up the chart when it comes to giving and discipleship. They now understand the purpose of giving back to God, but are not quite ready to fully commit. Generally speaking these will be younger Christians or people newer to church.

This will also be the people that have been around church a long time and still don’t quite fully understand or have never a true and accurate message about tithing. Further, they may have heard (possibly several times) and just haven’t quite brought themselves to the point where they are ready or trusting enough to jump in completely.

Their donation is consistent, but not a tithe (10% of income) that God has commanded. Perhaps it’s a budget issue, lack of funds, misplaced priorities or whatever, but either way, this group has the biggest potential to move to the next step.

Stage 3 – Tither

This group gets it. They are giving a true 10% tithe faithfully and consistently.

Now, before we continue pushing towards sainthood, let’s keep in mind that for many people, this act is still done begrudgingly. They give because they feel obligated. They’ve been shamed by previous churches, pastors or parents that you HAVE to give 10% back to God through the local church. While this group represents a big portion of your monthly income, keep in mind that many come to this step through legalism so there is still room for growth here.

Before we move on though, we must also mention that this group does contain some very faithful, sweet givers that faithfully are giving what they can, their tithe is given cheerfully and may represent a sacrifice on their part. Don’t let the few that tie themselves to legalism overshadow those faithful givers in this area that are truly experiencing the blessing of generosity.

Stage 4 – Generous Tither

The fourth group is the upper echelon of your tither group. These are the people that are going above and beyond their tithe to give. While this group will be small, it will also represent your most faithful church members, strongest supporters and most active participants.

Note: You will still have some here that are plagued by legalism, and these may also be some of the harshest critics in your church. Don’t let the few over-shadow the remainder that are a blessing to your ministry.

A Generous Tither understands that it’s all God’s to begin with and we are merely stewards of what He provides to us. They know that while God commands a tithe be brought to the storehouse, they are willing to go above and beyond to be generous to the ministry.

Their generosity in many ways will represent a sacrifice on their part in order to be generous, but they also experience the true blessing that comes with that sacrifice.

Stage 5 – Sacrificial Generosity

The final stage represents the smallest portion of givers. In fact, it is so small that you could possibly serve an entire ministry career without knowing one person that gets here.

Sacrificial Generosity completely flips the giving model upside down where the person no longer seeks God for how much to give, but rather, their question is asking how much they should keep.

These givers have come to a point of faithful dependence where they know that God will provide for all their needs and living out of complete faithfulness means that God will provide for them monetarily.

Here’s a challenge for you. Share these steps with your congregation and ask each person to self-identify what stage they are at.

Once they see where they know which stage they are at, challenge them to move to the next stage. Use this as part of your assimilation process as people become discipled through your ministry. As a pastor, encouraging people through faithful stewardship is part of the gig in discipleship.

What stages are you at yourself pastor?

Let me know your experiences with giving and these levels. Any words of encouragement you can share with other pastors that may be struggling with this topic in their church? Comment below.

Offer a 90 Day Giving Challenge

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As summer approaches days get longer and ministry gets slower.

Pastor, if you haven’t already you’ll start to see attendance numbers drop over the next few weeks. Days at the lake and vacations will soon consume the lives of your church folk. With the drop in attendance you may also see a drop in weekly giving totals as well.

Now if you’re offering an online tool where people can setup an automatic payment that’s one way to help, but what are some other options you can use?

Here’s a quick suggestion that my pastor has used and had some success.

Now I’ll admit, this suggestion isn’t for everyone. I can see how some pastors may have animate objections to this idea so just take it for what its worth before you comment.

The idea is to offer a 90 Day Giving Challenge.

The premise is to encourage non-givers to give it a shot. God has already shown us that giving is the one area we can test him.

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” – Malachi 3:10

If you’ve been around church long enough you know what the frustration that talking about giving can be. You’ve heard the negative comments when you preach about generosity. It’s no doubt that this area is one of the most difficult parts in our spiritual development.

So how do you present the challenge?

It’s basically this. Preach a sermon about generosity. As part of that message, make an offer to the congregation and the offer is simply this.

If you’re not a tither currently, start today and let me (you the pastor) know you’re taking the challenge. If at the end of 90 days you have not seen the blessings that God can provide or you’ve not been taken care of by taking an amount of your income and giving it back to God, I’ll give you a full refund of the amount you gave.

Now pastor, this challenge will take some fortitude on your part. You have to stand by your word and give the money back if they ask. (But I’ll add, in all the times we’ve done the challenge no one has ever come back and proved it wrong)

Secondly, we’re not talking about prosperity Gospel, health and wealth or any of that crap. If you’re planning to use this for that then just stop reading here and open your Bible.

Ok, rant over!

Seriously though, we’re not talking about God’s blessing monetarily like some cosmic bank deposit where suddenly a mass of money as a blessing from God is going to show up for the person taking the challenge.

What we’re talking about is the reality that God takes care of those who are faithful. Does that mean he’s going to magically provide a new car because we’ve suddenly started tithing? No way.

We do know, however that God is going to meet our needs. It’s amazing how God takes what we have and multiplies it to fit our needs when we’re faithful. As a businessman, it makes no sense to logically look at the facts of living of 90% of our income when up until now, we use every dollar that comes in.

But the truth is, it works. God provides and we’re on track taking that next step in our spiritual development.

OK, back to the challenge and experiences we’ve seen.

In most cases, the people that took the challenge not only didn’t ask for their money back, they also have turned into faithful givers. We even had skeptics take the challenge to prove us wrong.

Now I’ll admit, there’s a level of subjectivity here and that has to be taken into account. I’ll also concede that some will not agree with this method and call it a gimmick or heresy. You’re right, it’s not for everyone and every ministry.

I present the idea as just that, an idea to help encourage giving in your church and during the summer when giving gets tight, it’s a good time to remind people of the importance and blessing that giving back to God can be.

This is also not a hard fast, proven system. It’s open for refinement and customization for your congregation and ministry.

Ministry is hard and as a pastor you may feel sometimes like you live in a silo. While there are somethings we’re unable to help with for you we hope that we can speak into the financial management of your church and help you be better at wearing that hat.

If you try the challenge with your church, let us know. Comment below and tell us you’re going to try it and then follow-up and let us know the results. When we work together to build better ministries, the Kingdom is blessed in the strength of our numbers.

Are Churches Required to Provide a Contribution Statement Every Year?

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Church Answers

Are churches legally obligated to provide contributions statements or donor receipts every year?

The quick and easy answer is no.

There is no obligation on the church or ministry to provide a statement of giving to donors who have made a donation to the church in the previous year. There is no deadline to provide it and there are no penalties if a letter is not provided.

Many churches are still operating under the assumption that to maintain their not for profit status, something has to be provided, but that is not the case.

For many, this goes back to a situation very similar to those statements and phrases that people mistakenly think are actually scripture. Those things that sound good enough to be biblical but have actually just evolved over tradition.

That is the case here. The IRS has made it very clear in their guidelines for contributions that the organization is not responsible to provide any documentation of the gifts. In fact, they go on to say that it is the donor’s responsibility to request a statement if they want to itemize those donations on their tax return.

Now, let’s get into the practical fact of the matter.

It’s always a good idea to provide a contribution letter to your donors. Most churches, if not all, are completely reliant on the faithfulness of their givers to pay the bills and keep the power on. Without faithful givers, ministry doesn’t happen.

Giving is already hard enough in church and most churches struggle when it comes to cash flow. A sincere thankfulness for their generosity starts with a contribution letter.

What does that do?

A contribution letter is an opportunity for you to speak to your church. You have an open door to thank them for their generosity, but also share how those donations impacted the ministry of your church.

A contribution letter is an opportunity for you to speak to your church. You have an open door to thank them for their generosity, but also share how those donations impacted the ministry of your church. Let them know how many people were saved in the previous time period, how many baptisms and the other tangible things the ministry was able to do only because the donor was faithful and generous. As always, a simple thank you can go a long way.

We have many more articles around the site speaking to encouraging generosity so you can look around for those but for now, just know, that your church is NOT required to provide a donation letter, but it’s still probably a good idea to do anyways.