4 essentials to nurture your donors

Donor engagement essentials to create thriving communities

By Troy Pollock

Every season has its rhythms, and the year-end holidays are no different.

As we embark on a season filled with family, traditions, vacations and generosity, it’s easy to get wrapped up in our to-do list. We have sermons to prep, parties to attend, school outings, and everything in between. That’s one of the biggest stressors of the holidays — the pace at which they come and go.

While it can be a blur, we also know how important it is for you and your church to close out the year financially strong.

Donors are the core of your organization, and you depend on their generosity to continue programs that transform lives and add value to the communities you serve. Collectively, you are making a difference.

Amidst a season of reflection and appreciation, we challenge you to put together a plan to engage with your donors in a way you haven’t before. See them, appreciate them, understand where they are, and show them how their generosity is directly impacting the lives of others. You might just be surprised by the outcome.

Here are four critical steps to nurture and engage your donors:

Have a holistic view of donor activity.

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At Pushpay, we partner with churches like yours every day, and we frequently hear that you need and want visibility to data and insights about the generosity of your community. This data is critical to helping you take action.

Do you know who your first-time givers are this week? How much their gifts were? Who are your top donors?

Resources such as the new Pushpay donor dashboard now provide churches with valuable insights and metrics about donor activity in real-time.

Identify where individuals are in their journey.

You can now use giving data to surface insights about someone’s individual journey. Get visibility into the different stages of donor activity along with recommended actions based on where people currently are. Is someone a first-time donor? Longtime member? Have their financial contributions stopped? Do they need help? More importantly, what are the best next steps to help move them forward?

As Alex Calder, director of donor development at Kensington Church in Troy, Mich., states: “As a church, we’re constantly asking the question: ‘What are we as an organization going to do for the world?’ We have a lot planned. But we can’t do anything without first knowing who we’re trying to reach, building trust, and meeting them where they’re at with very intentional next steps.” 

Awareness and visibility to life changes will allow you to connect with your congregation in more personal and meaningful ways, and ultimately create deeper connections to encourage their spiritual growth.

Thank them.

As leaders in the Church, it’s important to model the generosity you want to grow. While a personal note is a great touch, there are many other ways you can recognize and appreciate the contributions of your community.

No matter the size of your church, delivering a timely thank you can be relatively easy using digital tools. With a custom church app, you can send personalized thank you messages to donors based on the specific fund they donated to — all within a few minutes. This is instrumental in helping nurture engagement and growth.

Show how their gift is making an impact.

People want to feel connected to something greater than themselves and to know they are making a difference. In fact, according to research, one of the top three reasons people give is “seeing that my contribution makes a real difference and the organization has real impact.”

Do you have a plan to show impact and engage with people beyond their act of generosity? Do you know of the app features your church can access that can provide visibility to how gifts are transforming lives? For example, digital connect cards, impact cards, related content, and dynamic home screens can be used to communicate what the church is doing, why it matters, and how people can get plugged in.

As we reflect on the blessings and goodness of God this season, it’s a perfect time to also connect with your donors and thank them for their contributions. In the end, it’s that kind of connection that creates community — in your ministry and in His Kingdom.


Troy Pollock is the chief ambassador at Pushpay, a software company based in Redmond, Wash. As the first U.S. employee, he has been an integral part of the development, strategic planning, and growth at Pushpay for the last seven years.

In addition, Pollock leads donor development at a multisite church in Washington. Prior to joining the Pushpay team, he was the executive pastor at a church in southern California.

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