Thursday, November 26, 2020 01:18

Send a Thank-You to First-Time Givers–Idea #6

iStock_000007088099X Giving Bible & Wallet

How do you feel when you receive a personal, hand-written thank-you note?  Nowadays, that experience is so rare, I feel honored and shocked at the same time!  (But it’s a pleasant shock like finding a $20-bill in a pocket.)

You can honor and surprise your first-time givers by sending them a little personal note AND a longer, more official letter at the same time.  Here’s how.

Most churches I work with tell me they have strict confidentiality standards.  Usually this means, the pastor does not know how much anyone gives.  Typically, only a very few people ever have access to individual giving records.  In most cases, this means the Financial Secretary, their assistant, and maybe one Elder or staff person on a need-to-know basis.  So assuming such a standard, how can the pastor send a personal thank-you note to first-time givers?

Really, it’s simple.  Just get a box of nice thank-you notes—better yet, print up something with the church name and logo on them.  And write a personal note to “Dear Friend.”  You can say something like “Even though I don’t know your name, I want to say thank you for your gift to the Lord through ___ Church last Sunday.  Your giving means your heart is here with us (Mt. 6:21), and we praise God for you.  Together we can all grow closer to Jesus and even more effective in reaching our God-given vision of . . . .  Please let me know if I can serve you in any way.  God bless you!”  And, of course, you will personally sign it.

Along with your note, have the Financial Secretary enclose a personalized letter that they have also personally signed.  That letter should also thank the donor for giving and spell out relevant financial procedures so that the new giver knows what to expect.  In the letter you can:

  1. Share a testimony of a changed life, so the giver knows how their gifts to your church are making a difference for Christ.
  2. Explain any financial policies that they may want to know about. For example mention the confidentiality standard that has prevented the pastor from being able to address them by name.  Also, do you send out financial statements once a year or quarterly?
  3. Tell them how to give through your church website.
  4. Inform them of upcoming stewardship classes or seminars such as EXCEL's Dollars & $ense.
  5. Provide them with a name and contact information to use if they ever have any questions about giving.
  6. Give them a small gift, such as a book, that has potential to impact their stewardship development.  (Send a note through the "contact us" page and I'll send you my top three picks.)

With a little time and attention, you can make your first-time donors feel truly appreciated.  This little extra effort is so extremely rare, your donors will feel pleasantly surprised and specially honored.  And what effect might that have on their faithfulness in giving? 

(c) Linden D. Kirby. Excel Ministries, Inc. 2012.  All rights reserved.

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