Five Steps to Claim the Power of Thank You
It is important to say thank you. Everyone enjoys having a gift given or an effort made acknowledged and remembered. An attitude of gratitude matters. The truth is that we are not always intentional about expressing our appreciation to others and this is especially true at church. It is important for our spiritual health, and studies now confirm for our physical and mental health, to give and receive thanks.
Here are five ways your church can thank people for their financial gifts:
1) The quarterly statement. Most congregations send a statement of giving at the end of each quarter (if you don’t - strongly consider doing so). Often this is just a page with numbers – year to date giving, year to date anticipated giving (pledge), and any special offerings or gifts. But don’t just send the numbers! Send that information with a cover letter that starts with “thank you”, and goes on to say what their giving is making possible. Tell your mission story. Remember to use your good letterhead and envelops as well as a first class stamp. Your donors are worth it!
2) The pledge confirmation letter. If you do an annual campaign you likely receive commitment cards, estimate of giving cards, or pledge cards from your regular contributors. After you have processed these cards, the financial secretary should send a letter of confirmation, indicating what the church understands their commitment to be for the coming year and how that money will be received (i.e.: $5,200 per year @ $100 per week). That letter verifies their pledge, but it can also say “thank you” and specifically name a ministry that you anticipate will take place in the coming year that their gifts will support.
3) A hand written note. It is no secret, I will open a hand addressed envelope with a first class stamp ahead of every other piece of mail. The note can be written in response to a special gift given and be sent by someone who represents how that gift was used. For example: The youth group received a special offering for their mission trip. If you donated to that, wouldn’t it mean a great deal to receive a thank you note from a young person who went on the trip? It does not need to indicate an amount – just gratitude for the support that gave them a life changing experience.
4) An email for general appreciation. This can come from the pastor. The email itself does not need to give amounts or speak beyond generalities – but simply to indicate that “I know you support the church financially and I just want to thank you”. It should go on to list a ministry or activity that benefits from financial giving. You can also use this format to thank people for their time or participation in an event or on-going program – it does not just have to be about money.
5) The social media shout out! Write a Facebook post that tells about a great thing that your church has done and list the people who made it possible. Or, post on each person’s Facebook page or their twitter account a thank you for participating in the project. You can also just use the twitter handle or messenger feature to say thanks. It expresses appreciation and lets you promote the good work you do!
Bonus. Offer a “self-selected” party or gathering for all who contribute. Invite everyone to come. Simply indicate it is a thank you party for the people who support the work of the church. People who give of their time, talent or treasure will show (self-select) and you are not offending anyone as people made the choice to participate. Do this as simple or as elaborate as you like – from punch and cookies to a special concert or even a night at a local party center or neighborhood pub. Do what feels right for your context. (You might even seek to underwrite the event through one of your generous donors, so there is no cost to the church from its regular budget.)
Everyone loves to hear the words thank you. It makes them feel valued and affirms their place in community. And it only takes a moment.
Thanks for reading!
Interested in more about gratitude and generosity? Here is an interesting video "Changing the World, One Thank You at a Time"