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Blog » 25 Fundraising Ideas for Churches: What Your Donors Are Trying to Tell You

25 Fundraising Ideas for Churches: What Your Donors Are Trying to Tell You

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I’m often asked by churches and ministries if I can help find them a major donor. They’re surprised when I tell them they likely already know that person. He or she is already sitting in your pews, singing in your choir, volunteering for your senior ministry.

In this series of 25 fundraising ideas for churches, we’re sharing tips and best practices to increase giving. Today, we’re talking about your donor patterns and data…and why it’s the quickest path to increasing giving in your congregation.

Too many ministries and churches have their stewardship on autopilot. They might look at giving records and patterns once or twice a year at best – typically during their annual pledge campaign or when they’re preparing giving receipts for tax purposes for donors. 

Make a regular habit of reviewing your givers’ behavior. Look at how they give, when they give, the projects they support, and their giving history. 

A note to say that every few years – and especially in advance of a major capital campaign – it’s worth doing a deep dive on your donor data and having a professional do that analysis. But even without a professional’s assessment and recommendations, you can learn a lot by reviewing your giving records regularly for these flags:

Lapsed Donors

Do you see a long-time giver whose regular, consistent gift has suddenly stopped without explanation? If you’ve done a good job thanking those donors, your call to check on if something has changed in their intent to support the church will be well-received. Looking for these lapsed gifts is especially important if your givers are using a recurring giving platform. Sometimes donors don’t realize when their credit card has expired, or many forget to update their new card information.

Significant Changes in Giving Levels

A donor who moves from a $25 a week gift to a $200 a week gift deserves a personal thank you and a check in. The same may be true in the reverse. Keeping open communication with givers about major changes in their tithe or pledge support helps them make an impact and helps you meet your budget.


Have a plan for pledge fulfillment and a way to track if you are on target. Your members are busy and they may be counting on you to inform and remind them if they’re behind on their commitments. Some organizations have a specific communication part way through their budget year to inform the congregation of the stewardship pledge fulfillment rate and how important it is to the ministries.

Consistent and Increasing Giving Patterns.

I mentioned major donors at the beginning of this post. The best way to identify potential future large donors is to assess who is a consistent donor at a low or mid-level contribution. You’d be amazed how many major donors to churches are the very people who have been faithfully giving a lower amount for years. These are also often the people best positioned to make a huge impact with an estate or planned gift.

While it certainly helps to occasionally invest in a comprehensive donor performance report from a professional, keeping your eye on those four items will help you sustain and grow your members’ giving to the church. Help them help you by tracking, thanking and following up on the behaviors and patterns you see in your members’ giving.

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