Church Contribution Statements
Sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference when it comes to inspiring a culture of generosity in your church. One of the most undervalued giving tools a church can deploy is the contribution statement. While it certainly fulfills a legal obligation in its basest form, the contribution statement can also be transformed into a vehicle that will communicate impact and inspire growth in giving.It’s rarely just one strategy or best practice that makes all the difference. However, you’ll be hard pressed to find another tool you can utilize between Sundays that will offer more opportunities to reinforce the principles of giving and provide a pathway to increase giving than when you reimagine the contribution statement as a ministry aid rather than an accounting function.
10 Ways to Turn Church Contribution Statements into More Money for Ministry
1. Send them out quarterly.
It’s very difficult for people to think about life 12 months at a time. Most people are just focused on the day in front of them. The more frequently you send them out, the more opportunities you give people to increase their current giving levels.
2. Include a cover letter that describes ministry impact and life change.
This letter should be from the pastor. Life change is the currency of charitable giving. No one gives simply to satisfy budgetary requirements. Instead, they want to be part of a solution to a problem they see around them.
3. Include pastoral contact information and detail in the cover letter.
Money is an external reality of an inward state. Don’t just include the finance leader’s information as a way to mitigate details. When people are confronted with their money habits, it should lead to a spiritual conversation. You want to take advantage of the disciple-making opportunity that might arise.
4. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope.
You’re not making an ask through the contribution statement, but if you describe the life change and ministry impact your church is experiencing as a result of a growing culture of generosity, some might want to make an additional gift on the stop. Make it easy for them to do so.
5. Personalize, personalize, and personalize.
It’s too easy today to include someone’s name on the outer envelope and in the letter itself. Personalization makes all the difference. When someone gives to your church, it’s personal. Honor that by using their name.
6. Send the contribution statement by mail with an actual stamp on it.
If you don’t, it will look like a bill or invoice rather than an update from the church. You don’t want anyone opening this mail piece with the same posture they do their water bill.
7. Remind your church of the different ways they can give.
The only person who knows and can discuss all the different ways people can give to your church is you. Use icons if possible since people are visual. This allows givers to adopt new giving channels or even shift their giving to ACH/Bank Transfer rather than check.
8. Only provide summary details but make a detailed statement available.
If full detailed, line by line, transaction by transaction detail is needed, let them know they can call the church office and request that. This will save you reams of paper and be cheaper to mail. Only a small percentage of your congregation wants full details on a contribution summary report.
9. Include previous year giving levels to date and current giving levels to date on the contribution summary statement.
It’s rare to have someone who can quickly assemble a year-over-year comparison between last year’s giving activity and the current year’s giving activity. The variance—whether up or down—will provide context. If giving has dropped, then they may not even be aware of the change. If it’s up, you give them the opportunity to celebrate God’s blessings in their life.
10. Send a contribution statement to all members, not just those who give.
This reinforces the value that giving is part of the Christian life and the life of a member of your church. It is a non-confrontational way to remind people of the difference their church is making because of the generosity of others. It will, at a minimum, help non-givers see the potential for impact they could have if they started giving to your church.
Experiment and Adapt
Don’t feel like you need to implement all ten ideas immediately. The quarters will come and go faster than you might imagine. So, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try new things. Consider trying one or two of the best practices outlined above and watch the impact it has on the giving in your church over the next 90 days.
Trying new things can be hard, but doing the same things and expecting different results can be equally frustrating. Rethinking your approach to contribution statements could be the very thing that encourages non-givers to give, current givers to give more, and perhaps even surface ministry opportunities you didn’t know existed. At a minimum, telling God’s story through life change and impact in your church never gets old because transformation is what making disciples and funding ministry is all about.
Do you want access to more practical tools to help you cultivate a culture of generosity in your church in 2020? Visit our Giving365 resource center.
Click here to request a free 20-minute consultation with a Horizons Ministry Strategist about how your church can increase ministry funding and improve discipleship through a process we call Next Level Generosity.