It’s an age-old question: fundraising letters or emails? If you’re responsible for your church’s annual stewardship drive, you’re probably wondering whether this is the year you should move from regular mail and checks to email and online giving.

Our team’s recommendation, based on deep research and professional experience, is that yes, you should definitely start moving your appeal online. For now, that probably means supplementing your existing process to include email and digital giving options rather than moving the entire process online.

What are the benefits of an email appeal?

  • You can track who opens the emails
  • You can track who opens emails, and resend to those who didn’t open it
  • This information lets you send follow-up emails only to those who didn’t open the first appeal
  • Parishioners can easily forward the appeal on to friends and family. Some of these people may be attendees but not registered at your parish.
  • You can customize what happens when they click the big “donate” button. This might include having them update their contact information (cleaning up your database), or defaulting to a recurring monthly gift
  • You can greatly reduce printing costs by starting with email, and then sending printed mail only to those who haven’t yet responded

Is it our team’s recommendation to cease all traditional mailings today? Absolutely not. However, it is time to start laying plans today for a more modern fundraising approach tomorrow. Fundraising letters or emails? The answer is both – for now. But have a plan to gradually phase out physical letters in favor of a fresh, modern, digital approach.