Now THAT’S How a Church Says Thank You!

Communication // February 15, 2016

In a blog post last month we talked about the importance of celebrating your church’s generosity. Just a few days later, I received a thank you note after giving to a church for the first time.

After receiving that, I wanted to share a few ideas with you to help illustrate the power behind your church saying thank you. Those two simple words can stir emotion and encourage future behavior at the same time. Here’s how it worked for me:

Thank you cardI immediately felt valued.
When I saw the card in the mail and soon read its message, I immediately felt valued. I knew someone there took the time to say thank you for the gift I gave that day. I felt I mattered to the church and its leaders.

The address on the envelope was handwritten – someone took the extra, personalized step and made an investment of time, as I’ve mentioned before. Instead of allowing their automated post-online-giving email message to suffice, they took the time to send me a card, so I knew I was valued in their eyes.

I learned the gift was appreciated.
In the handwritten note inside, the pastor made mention of their church’s initiative to which I gave. Through this letter I can sense his excitement about what they can accomplish through this initiative, so I know my gift was genuinely appreciated.

It reinforced my investment choice as a wise one.
Receiving this note reinforced my decision to invest. The pastor personally thanked me for my gift, further confirming my decision to give as a wise one.

I know I’m helping make a difference.
As I mentioned earlier, this gift was made to a church’s generosity initiative. The pastor mentioned in his note, “we look forward to the years ahead.” I know this church has a God-sized vision. I did a small part in helping to fund that vision. I am encouraged that my gift will make a difference for them and for the people they are striving to reach for Christ.

I was impressed that the letter inside was handwritten.
This was what really impressed me, and I’ve mentioned it before. As I opened the tent-fold card inside the envelope, I saw handwriting. Who does that anymore?! This was wildly encouraging to me. This pastor took a few minutes to write to me what was on his heart and to let me know he was thankful for my gift. The Associate Pastor also jotted a brief thank you. Pastors, if you want to make a difference in the heart of someone who just gave to your ministry for the first time, write them a thank you note.

Increase the odds of future gifts.
Let’s be honest. If a handwritten thank you message makes the giver feel valued, shows the gift was appreciated, reinforces the choice of the giver to give, and helps the giver see how their generosity is making a difference, the odds go way up for the giver to make a repeat gift!

Saying thank you encourages future gifts. In fact, one of the most popular reasons people don’t continue to give to churches is that no one said thank you. And what a simple thing to fix.

Saying thank you encourages future gifts Click To Tweet

You may or may not choose to personally handwrite thank you cards, but please choose to say thank you to your people. Encourage them on their journey of generosity.

What is your strategy for saying thank you to your people when they make their first gift? If you have something in place, let this message be encouragement to keep up the good work. If you don’t already have a process to thank your people, I encourage you today to put something simple in place so this powerful ministry moment isn’t lost.


About Rusty Lewis

As a church leader, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the funding to do what God’s calling you to do. But when you think about trying to address that problem, you feel overwhelmed, you dread the potential pushback from your congregation, and you’re not sure where to turn for help. Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped more than 120 churches close the gap between their current financial reality and what they need to move forward in ministry.

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