Promoting Your Endowment: One Church’s Story

Thanks to The Stewardship Center of Luther Seminary for sharing this story by Pastor Kurt Jacobson at Trinity Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, WI:

The Board of the Trinity Endowment Trust Fund set out a few years ago to develop a new marketing strategy to create a vision and raise awareness of their endowment. We knew we needed to educate, communicate and show how the endowment makes a difference in the mission of the church.

We determined our plan should have three major areas of emphasis:

  1. Communication—develop a clear mission and “brand”
  2. Education—help people understand ways they can give to the Fund
  3. Celebration—give donors reason to find joy in giving to the Fund.

Communication. We develop a new logo and tag line for our fund and created web pages to share the purpose of the endowment, how it makes a difference for donors and those who receive grants from it as well as give an easy way to make gifts to it. Included online are two videos using our own people to tell the story of the endowment and what it does for others.

Each Christmas, “Faith Lights” gives donors an opportunity to give $5 to buy a blue or white light (in memory of or honor of someone) for trees in the entry to the church. Donors are recognized and our donor list expand which allows the board to directly market the endowment to them.

Education. We know few people make provisions for their church in their estate plans. So, we contracted with a local estate planning company to provide our members free estate planning services. We have hosted events for financial planners, tax preparers and attorneys who are members of the congregation to tell them about the endowment and encourage them to share it with clients.

Finally, we developed options for acorn, named and donor-advised funds. This has resulted in three named funds being formed. We have told the stories of these three funds and included them on our website and in direct mailings.

Celebration. We are continually telling how the endowment is making a difference in people’s lives. From the joy of the donor who sees his/her gift going to work, to the gratitude of recipients who have received grants awarded by the Board, we let people know that the endowment is growing and does good things in the mission of Christ through our church. We tell the stories of grant recipients and ask them to publicly thank the congregation and show how the funds made a difference.