Your church plant fundraising commitment card is an important tool in the fundraising process. But it’s actually pretty easy to use it wrong and shoot yourself in the foot.
I’ve seen planters use a church plant fundraising commitment card well. And I’ve seen some wonder why they’re getting such a low response. Here are 4 relatively easy things you can do to maximize your commitment card.
Don’t Lead with It
Don’t mail out a commitment card.
That’s right. Fundraising is about relationships first, not transactions. Whenever possible, make the ask in person. If you start with the commitment card, it potentially sends all kinds of negative messages:
- I’m too afraid to ask you myself
- I don’t believe in the vision enough to be bothered
- I’m more interested in your money
- There’s just too many of you to ask (you’re just a number)
This also means don’t go into a meeting and hand out a commitment card first thing. They’ll be reading the card instead of listening to you. And again, it could send the wrong message.
The church plant fundraising commitment card should be a conversation piece in the middle of the, well, conversation. Its main purpose is to lay out dollar amount tiers and goals. As in, “We need:
- 20 supporters at $50/mo for 2 years
- 5 supporters at $100/mo for 2 years
- 1 supporter at $500/mo for 2 years
- 1 up-front gift of $10,000
Consider putting it in graph or chart form.
Including tiers keeps you from having to guess how much the person in front on you can afford. They can pick a level that inspires them. Shooting too high could make them feel inadequate; shooting too low could insult them.
Lots of my planters could tell you stories about the little on lady on a fixed income that wrote a 4- or even 5-figure check out of the excess no one knew they had. Who knows what God will prompt your friends and family to give?
Encourage them to commit before the conversation is over. If they absolutely can’t or won’t, then you can leave the commitment card with them. Encourage them to pray over it, and set an expectation of when you’ll follow up with them.
Don’t Wait for a Logo
Chances are good you need to start raising support well before you have a brand and a logo established. You might even need to start before your church has a name.
If you wait until all that’s ready, you’ll miss months of opportunity. And by the time those things are ready, the pace of planting is reaching fever pitch. You’ll have less time two ways:
- A shorter time span (weeks instead of months)
- Less time in your workweek to devote attention (minutes instead of hours)
Use a placeholder name if you need to, like “the Cheboygan Project”. If you have a name but no brand, just make a classy font logo and run with it until your brand is established. If you’re still raising funds at that point, then your designer can update your materials going forward.
Design It Well
I’ve seen lots of commitment cards over the years. Here are few things you need to know.
Include the following to increase your commitment card’s effectiveness:
- Commitment language stated in the first person; something like, “As God provides, I commit to:” or “For the next 2 years I will:“
- White space – leave at least 33% or your card as ‘white space’ and it will be much easier to read
- Spaces to fill in their contact info
- Your phone number and email address so that they can contact you (duh!)
- A short website address (vanity URL) where they can go to give online
Here are some common mistakes and poor design that decrease effectiveness:
- Include a prayer commitment option (really? YES! – more below)
- Use the phrase “One-Time Gift” instead of “Up Front Gift” (I hope for obvious reasons)
- Give them a crazy short fill-in line for their email address – it won’t fit (yes, a personal peeve)
- Give them a crazy long website address for online giving (like www.mychurch.onlinegivingprovider.com/246810/church/secure-portal.htm)
- Fill up every square inch with text
- Make it hard or confusing to get the commitment back to you
Don’t Give Them an Easy Out
Including a prayer commitment checkbox on your church plant fundraising commitment card allows potential supporters to take the path of least resistance. They can still feel like they’ve committed to you without making a financial pledge. Sounds rough, but make them tell you no.
Building a Prayer Team is incredibly important. Just use a different vehicle to build that team.
These tips won’t take that much time and don’t cost anything. Use them today to boost your effectiveness at raising funds for your church plant.