Keeping your community, congregation and donors informed

26 March 2021

Communication is a foundation stone in fundraising. Communicating the right message, in the right way, to the right person will pave the way to a donation now or in the future.

Below are some key steps to follow for strong fundraising communications. 

1. Who are your communities?

Identify specific sections of your church and community and what might interest them about your plans or projects. Consider the following groups:
  • Members of the congregation 
  • Local people
  • Those with family connections to the church
  • Those with an interest in the church building or heritage interest 
  • Those with a shared community concern 
  • Past individual donors 
  • Trust and foundation grant managers 

2. What messages will you tell your communities?

Having identified specific audiences within your community who might be interested in supporting your project, the next step is to develop a clear message to communicate with them:
  • Why are you fundraising?
Be clear on the outcomes of your project, and who will benefit. If you are fundraising for everyday costs, such as a heating bill, be clear about the wider impact of this. So instead of ‘we need to pay the heating bill’, your message could be ‘we want the church be a safe, welcoming and comfortable space, which will help encourage more people in the building’.
  • How can someone add their support and become involved?
  • What impact can their donation make?
How does the project positively impact their areas of interest? By telling a story of the difference a donation can make, you are enabling them to feel emotionally and spiritually invested in a project.

3. Get your fundraising message out!

Having identified your communities and the messages to communicate to them, now you need to spread the word. You could use the following methods to help with this:
  • Posters on the church building 
  • Emails and newsletters
  • News page on your website
  • Social media groups such as Facebook groups. Benefact Trust has some great advice on making the most out of social media. 
  • A personal letter or phone call
  • Using supporters, ambassadors and volunteers. Make sure you have a clear message that you can share with your supporters and volunteers, which in turn they can pass on to their varied social groups.
  • Local press, TV and radio. Benefact Trust has some helpful tips on how you can get your story in the media. 

4. Keep track of your communications

To help you organise your time and efforts, think about tracking your communications. This allows you to see your progress in securing donations, judge the success of a particular kind of approach, and schedule when to make further asks. It will also help you keep track of any GDPR considerations. 
We have developed a simple template you can use to keep tabs and organise your communications.
There are some examples below as to how you could use and fill in the template.
Example of a contact table
PC screen showing church fundraising