Giving through the mail can be a powerful method for many churches. It’s important to have multiple methods of giving even beyond the COVID-19 season. Most every church, no matter the size or location, can benefit from utilizing this kind of giving method.
Q: Will people give regularly to the church through mail?
A: Yes. It is a very effective method of giving. Many people only write checks from home and those who give via mail-in will often remember to give when they pay their normal monthly bills.
Q: Should we provide envelopes?
A: Yes. While members may choose to mail a check in their own envelopes, printing and distributing an official church envelope holds several advantages: 1) You can brand an envelope with your logo; 2) Ensure it is mailed to the correct address by pre-printing; 3) Print a postage paid permit; 4) Promote your website and include different giving options; and, 5) You can also print any instructions for check writing on your envelope to make administration run smooth.
Q: How do I get a postage paid permit?
A: This can be obtained through your local post office. In some areas, only a specific post office can issue these. Ask for the department that handles business permits. You will need the church tax-ID, 501c3 information and possibly bank or card information to maintain a certain balance. Generally speaking you can add about $100 on your account and it will only be used when people actually mail your envelope. This helps to save costs verses offering prepaid stamps. There will be a step to collaborate in artwork (permit stamp) with the post office for the envelope. They will ask you what size envelope you would like. It never hurts to ask for a couple of different sizes. It’s certainly possible to champion mail-in giving without a postage paid permit, but it is far more effective with one. It is also a nice gesture to pay postage for those who give.
Q: What address should I use during the pandemic?
A: Have them send giving to the address where your church typically receives mail. If you are concerned about volume or accessibility during the pandemic, consider purchasing a church PO Box. Always seek appropriate approvals outlined in your bylaws or policies before making any changes.
Q: How do I get the word out about giving via mail?
A: Use every method possible. Announce this method via social media, email and your website, and consider mailing an envelope or two to each household in the church. Mention it during appropriate meetings and do not be afraid to ask a few of your leadership team members to consider giving through this method.
Q: What is the best practice for recording mail-in giving?
A: The biggest pitfall of mail-in giving is it requires great organization and accountability. If people give through the mail and the check gets lost or sits on a desk more than a few days, it will discourage givers from using this method. It may even discourage them from giving at all in the future. Should you offer this method, be prepared with an efficient system to collect, input and communicate that you have received the check. Many online church databases will email a church member both once a check has been inputted into the system and again once a check has been batched.