Year-End Giving Letter

Communication // November 9, 2009

I received another one last week – a letter from a charitable organization asking me to remember them in my year-end giving strategy.

It’s not the first letter I’ve received this fall; it likely will not be the last. Charities send these appeals because they know that their largest contributions come during November and December.

Have you prepared your year-end giving letter? Write it! Include an 11-month giving statement, and send it no later than December 4.

The purpose: to encourage and thank members of your church family. This letter will have a positive effect on year-end giving. Let me assist you with this outline of suggested content. Use appropriate language for your ministry setting:

Paragraph One

  • Acknowledge these are incredibly challenging times in the life of our country (Afghan war, economy, unemployment, stock market)—I would not use the word “difficult” in this paragraph
  • Thank you for your faithfulness in attendance, serving, and giving this year
  • God will honor your faith and faithfulness and grow His kingdom
  • God’s blessings have not been in recession!

Paragraph Two

  • The nightly news seems to contain nothing but the bad and negative.  Let me give you some incredibly good news about your investment in God’s work through our church.
  • This paragraph ought to give an update on the positive things that have occurred this last year in your church.
  • Include some statistics that reflect changed lives—baptisms, new members, missions, etc.
  • Include stories of individual lives affected by the ministry of the church
  • Talk about ministries that have been especially effective

Paragraph #3

  • This should be a paragraph about vision and what is ahead expressed in light of the ministries of the church
  • If you are building, paying off debt, purchasing property, etc. a brief update is appropriate
  • Give a vision of where the ministry is going in the future

Paragraph #4

  • This paragraph could be used to encourage the congregation to pray about a year-end gift.
  • It could be used to encourage new people to give to the capital campaign
  • Consider a reminder about the value of donating appreciated securities (I know, this one makes you laugh, but remember, while still off that 14,000 level in late 2007, the market has gained over 50% since March 2009)
  • You may want to remind people to catch up their giving pledges
  • This paragraph may be used to merely say thank you again
  • This paragraph may be used for a personal note

A scripture one pastor used was 2 Corinthians 9:12.

This letter needs to be no more than two pages, as there is more listed above than can be done in a single page. Choose what is appropriate for your congregation.

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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