Church Letters: The Breakthrough Guide (and Free Templates)

Fundraising Letters

Basic Church Fundraising Letter Questions

Why is sending letters effective?

Fundraising letters are a tried and true standard for churches looking to raise a significant amount from their congregations. They’re effective because they’re personal, meaningful, and thoughtful.

When should you send letters?

Timing your fundraising letters is key to reaping the most benefits. You generally want to send out an invitation 6 weeks prior to any fundraising event. As for other types of fundraising letters, it really depends on your needs and your individual church’s calendar.

Why Letters, not Emails?

Emails are wonderful for fundraising; they’re efficient, effective, and inexpensive. But they can also come off as impersonal, and no one saves a nice email. Letters add that little something extra, that personal touch that means a lot to congregants.

Church Letter Writing Best Practices

Start with the P.S.

Eye-motion studies have proven that people who read letters scan to look for their names first and read the P.S. line shortly thereafter. Start writing your fundraising letters with this fact in mind.

Invest in your envelopes.

Before they can even look for the P.S. line, your members are checking out your envelope. If you want congregants to invest in your church, try investing in your envelopes first.

Focus on ``You`` more than ``Me``

It can be easy to fall into the trap of talking about all the great things your church is working on. But no one wants to read a letter that’s all about someone else. They want to read about how they’re an important part of whatever is going on.

Keep the formatting easy-to-read.

Nothing’s worse than a letter that’s hard to read because the font is too small. Or it’s a funky color. Maybe the font is wacky. For the most effective fundraising letter, make sure your font is appropriate and easy-to-read.

Be conversational in your writing.

You’re writing to your church members, not your 12th grade English teacher. Feel free to write as though you’re talking directly to your audience. No need to be overly formal.

Include a stamped return envelope.

Give your letter recipients an easy way to write back or send a check in the mail. You’ll increase the chances of members donating if you provide a simple stamped and addressed envelope.

Provide a link or instructions for donating.

In case your recipients don’t want to sign, seal, and send a check, you can provide them with quick ways to give on their computers or mobile devices. Include an easy-to-follow link to your online donation page, your text-to-give number, and more.

Express gratitude throughout!

Few things encourage donations more than being thoughtful and thankful. Thank your letter recipients for their time, consideration, and for any past donations they may have made. It never hurts to thank someone multiple times.

The Most Common Types of Church Fundraising Letters

Everyday Church Fundraising Letters

Church Donation Letters

  • What do they include?

Church donation letters include information about the state of the church as it is now and how continued donations would help further those goals.

  • When should you send them?

Donation letters can be sent out throughout the year. There’s no one “perfect” time to send out a church donation letter.

Sponsorship Request Letters

  • What do they include?

Sponsorship requests should include information about the event or project that needs sponsoring. They should be incredibly specific and targeted.

  • When should you send them?

Church sponsorship letters should be sent out a couple of months prior to the start of the event or project that’s being funded.

Church Building or Repair Letters

  • What do they include?

Church building or repair letters should include details about the construction plans with specific needs addressed directly in the letter.

  • When should you send them?

Minor repair letters should be sent out a few weeks in advance. Major repairs and large construction projects necessitate letters be sent out a year ahead of time.

Thank You Letters

  • What do they include?

Thank you letters should include a “Thank you.” But they should also provide recipients with an idea of how their contributions (monetary or otherwise) made a difference.

  • When should you send them?

Send thank you letters as soon as possible. Typically, within 48 hours of a donation or an event is the best practice.

Special Event Fundraising Letters

Special Event or Project Letters

  • What do they include?

Special event or special project letters should have specific details about the time, place, and date of the event. They should also include monetary needs.

  • When should you send them?

Your special event letters should be sent out at least 6 weeks before the event. Special project letters should also be sent out fairly early.

Auction Item Request Letters

  • What do they include?

Auction item request letters should include concrete information about your upcoming auction and a direct ask regarding any items you need for it.

  • When should you send them?

You should make sure that you send out your request letters at least 3 months ahead of time.

Mission Trip Letters

  • What do they include?

Mission trip letters typically detail the plans for the trip and the needs of the community being served. They also often include info about the trip’s overall cost.

  • When should you send them?

Be sure to send out mission trip letters well in advance of the trip itself. You may want to send letters out as many as 4 or 5 months in advance to help pay for plane tickets.

Missionary Support Letters

  • What do they include?

Missionary support letters are different from mission trip letters. They’re sent from the field and include updates on the places being served as well as direct asks for support.

  • When should you send them?

These letters can be sent whenever a missionary in the field feels that they need extra help or they want to let the congregation know how their projects are progressing.

Give Your Letter Recipients Multiple Ways to Give

Text-to-Give

Incorporating your church’s text-to-give number in your fundraising letters allows recipients to give almost instantaneously. There’s no need to sign and seal a check to be put in the mail when they can simply text the amount they’d like to give straight to your church’s number.

Email Fundraising

In conjunction with your handwritten or neatly typed letters, you can also send a follow-up email as a reminder and a way to donate instantly, online. This gives them the efficiency of email communication, while keeping the personal touch of letter writing.

QR Codes

QR codes are essentially like barcodes in that they can be scanned for information purposes. Include a QR code in your letters that links up to your mobile-responsive donation page, so church members can easily give on the go when they receive your fundraising letter.

Online Donation Portals

Adding an easy-to-follow link to your donation page in your fundraising letters is yet another simple way to encourage more giving. All your recipients need to do is type in the website address and follow the quick instructions to give to your church in a matter of minutes, instead of days.

Communication Letters

The Most Common Types of Communication Letters

Letters to New Members

Church welcome letter

  • What do they include?

Church welcome letters should include a warm and welcoming greeting. They should thank the recipient for coming and encourage them to come back again soon.

  • When should you send them?

The sooner you send a welcome letter after someone has attended your service, the better. If you wait too long to reach out, they may think you’ve forgotten them!

Letter of Invitation

  • What do they include?

A letter of invitation includes an explicit invitation to join the church as a full member. The letter should also include a membership card to fill out and mail back.

  • When should you send them?

As soon as you’re ready to invite a certain new member into your church’s congregation, you can send out a letter of invitation.

Letters to Specific Members

Letters to inactive members

  • What do they include?

A letter to an inactive member should include empathy for the person who has quit attending church. It should also include a sincere request for them to return.

  • When should you send them?

You should wait a while after you notice someone’s absence before reaching out. If they haven’t attended in months, it might be time to send a thoughtful letter.

Letters of recommendation

  • What do they include?

It depends on what it’s for, but if a member has come to you for a letter of recommendation, you should make sure that it’s specific, sincere, and succinct.

  • When should you send them?

Take the lead from the recommended party. Make sure you adhere to whatever deadlines they specify. Nothing is worse than a late letter of recommendation.

Letters to the Entire Congregation

Newsletters

  • What do they include?

Newsletters usually include news about current and future events in the church, like weddings and baptisms. They also include info about past events and ongoing projects.

  • When should you send them?

Church newsletters can be sent out weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. As long as you keep your publication consistent, you can send them out as often as you’d like.

Missionary Letters

  • What do they include?

Missionary letters include info about the state of the communities missionaries are serving. Some will ask for additional support, but more often, they’re just letters of communication.

  • When should you send them?

Missionaries can send out updates as frequently as they’re able but it’s most common for them to be sent monthly.

Letters for Members Transitioning

Letters of Transfer

  • What do they include?

Letters of transfer include information about the member’s standing with the current church as well as a request of notification for when the new membership begins.

  • When should you send them?

These letters should be sent as soon as a member notifies your church that they’d like to transfer their membership to a new church.

Letters of Resignation

  • What do they include?

When pastor retires or transfers churches, they must send out a letter of resignation, which should include an explanation as well as an expression of gratitude.

  • When should you send them?

Pastors and other leadership members should send out letters of resignation when they feel comfortable enough to make the announcement to the entire congregation.

Church Newsletters: The Basics

What do you need to include in a newsletter?

Newsletters typically include weekly, monthly, and annual updates on a church and its members. The actual contents vary from congregation to congregation, but the theme remains consistent: keeping everyone informed about upcoming events.

How do you get started writing a newsletter?

Getting started with a church newsletter takes planning and a lot of forethought. Establish your format and traditions early on, and your members will come to expect a certain standard for this communication from then on.

When should you send out newsletters?

When you send out your newsletters is entirely up to your church, but it’s best to stick to the same schedule. Much like they’ll expect the same kind of content every time, your members will also expect you to publish on a consistent basis.

Example Church Newsletters

One of the easiest ways to learn is by example.

When you’re planning to send out a church newsletter, it can be helpful to look at other church’s example letters and copy their ideas (until you form your own traditions, of course!).

This site gives you the chance to view other church’s websites and download their example newsletters.

Click on the button below to access this resource.

Free Sample Letters and Templates

Special Project Fundraising Letter

  • Why we created a sample: 

We created a special project fundraising letter sample because this is one of the most versatile and important fundraising letters that a church sends out.

  • When to use this sample:

Use this sample letter when you’re trying to get a special project funded, but you’re not quite sure how to phrase your needs.

  • How to get a sample:

All you need to do to get a sample of this letter is to click on this link: https://www.atpay.com/free-sample-church-letters/

Church Welcome Letter

  • Why we created a sample: 

We created a sample of a welcome letter because this is the first communication that many churches have with their members. 

  • When to use this sample:

Use this sample letter when you want to reach out to newcomers, but the words are stuck at the tip of your tongue.

  • How to get a sample:

For access to a sample church welcome letter, just check out: https://www.atpay.com/free-sample-church-letters/

How to Make the Most of Free Sample Letters

  1. Customize the letter to fit your church’s needs.
  2. Personalize the way you address each church member that you send the letters to.
  3. Have each letter printed on nice stationery.
  4. Choose an appropriate envelope.
  5. Have each letter personally signed by your pastor (or someone in your church’s leadership).