by Kimberly Reynolds
Raising money for your church is an important task that
deserves the best approach. This article examines campaigns
based around donor recognition that aim to strengthen
community ties with your church.
What does advertising do to help make a business successful?
They build brand awareness. Your fundraising needs to build
your church's "brand" by reinforcing the message of who you
are and what your "value proposition" is for your congregation.
No, I am not saying that you need golden arches out front with
a neon sign that says "Over 1 Million Saved." What I am saying
is that you want your supporters to have a strong emotional tie
to your church.
Your fundraising campaign should be structured to strengthen
those emotional ties through establishing concrete links to
your congregation that are visible to the community.
What types of fundraising campaigns provide that visibility?
Donor recognition programs serve that purpose. They are easy
to conduct and are available in a wide range of price points
that offer ways for your entire congregation to show their
A donor campaign seeks a pledge of a certain contribution
amount that could be a one-time donation, a weekly offering, a
monthly automatic withdrawal, or an annual tithe.
Donation of a certain amount is rewarded with some type of
donor recognition. Inexpensive items can be given to donors
for smaller contributions in the $25 and up range while larger
donations are usually recognized at your church.
What are some inexpensive examples?
An example of an entry-level price point offering for a donor
recognition campaign is a custom pewter medallion or ornament
which is hand crafted to display your church's exterior view.
Two message lines can be added to reinforce your "brand."
Another example would be creating a unique coffee mug with your
church's picture and message. The idea here is that each donor
gets a coffee mug as a thank you for their support. The mug
and your message help maintain awareness of their "belonging."
What recognition can you give to spur more donations?
Engraved or personalized bricks are an excellent way to provide
or incent capital campaign contributions with recognition. Use
of brick pavers with laser engraved messages in a special entry
way or sidewalk is one attractive method.
Another way to display these donor recognition bricks that will
strengthen the tie your church is to design and construct an
attractive landscaping display. Many churches build a prayer
garden and incorporate these engraved bricks in the sidewalks,
planters, and rest/reflection areas.
Ask yourself if your church grounds could benefit from some
additional landscaping. Then consider that each personalized
brick could bring a donation of as much as $150 while also
strengthening the bond between donor and church.
What about high dollar capital campaign contributions?
For recognition purposes, nothing beats an attractive wall
display in a high-traffic area such as a foyer or entryway.
Let's face it. People like to see their good deeds recognized
and they like to see them recognized where their friends and
neighbors can also see.
The higher the campaign amounts sought for your church's
capital campaign, the more tasteful your recognition program
should be. One simple method features engraved brass plaques
on a polished wood backdrop. Donors select the message they
want displayed on their respective plaques.
Another method, which is somewhat fancier, involves a gift
tree. A three dimensional sculpture of a tree with burnished
metal leaves is fixed upon a wooden backdrop for wall
mounting. Each leaf is engraved with the donor's message and
the end result is high-quality artwork in the church's foyer
For very personalized recognition, consider offering a cast
bronze plaque that highlights individual contributions to a
specific project. You can also offer smaller individual photo
plaques that provide more room for customization of the
There are many more ways to increase your church fundraising,
but they'll have to wait for another article.
Good Luck and God Bless!
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