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Stewardship Matters: Don't shoot yourself in the foot

Stewardship Matters: Don't shoot yourself in the foot
Cynthia McChesney

Perhaps you or others on your leadership team have been tempted to make your Annual Pledge Campaign more "efficient" by making it less expensive.

Perhaps someone has said, it's ridiculous to send a physical letter in an envelope, and we pay for the postage too. Why are we spending money on sending physical mail when we can just send out an email?

After all, especially today, when we're all used to everything being online. Why not just use email alone?

Simple answer. Because you want your communication to be received, to be read, and to be acted upon.

It's simply a waste of time to go to the trouble of writing a powerful stewardship communication and to not go to the added effort of printing it out as a letter, signing it, putting it in an envelope, adding a stamp, and popping it int the mail.

If you're still faced with someone banging the "cost savings" drum, figure out how money you might you really be saving if you forego the mail. Let's do the math. Say you have 100 households to whom you're mailing. You write and print out a letter, include a printed pledge card.

Maybe, maybe, the total cost of materials (without the stamp) is a couple of dollars apiece (probably less). Then you add the cost of a first class stamp on top. You're looking at maybe $2.50, or $3.50 per person you mail to. At 100 households, that's what? Maybe $350.

Total materials cost of $350, and that's too much to spend when we're expecting people receiving our communication to pledge a percentage of their income? Do we want it to appear that the church doesn't care enough to go to the trouble to prepare, print, and mail a pledge letter? Why take the risk?

Wait, you might be thinking. I thought we were supposed to be putting stuff online. Signing up with Vanco, offering online pledge forms. Yes, you should be doing all of that, and yes you should be using email too. Just not as the primary (only) way you ask for a pledge.

You want your communication to stand out, be noticed, be read and acted on. Email is a great reminder - a good complement to your hard copy letter.

Don't believe me? Check out how many personal letters you received in the US mail today. And how many emails in your inbox? I don't know the statistics for personal email accounts but the average office worker receives around 121 emails every day! How many letters did you get?

Take care,

P.S Want to do even more to get your letter read? Hand address the envelope and use a live stamp!

Contact Cynthia McChesney, Missioner for Stewardship and Legacy Giving, with any questions