It’s no secret that the benefits of gratitude are many. These benefits range from improved physical and psychological health, better sleep, and self-esteem. But, according to Forbes magazine, it also can open the door to increased relationships. To unleash this powerful tool in your church, try these three simple expressions to build relationships, trust, and a financial partnership to help fund your church’s budget.
Send a Letter to First-Time Givers
I love Thursdays. Not because it’s sort of my Friday (the office is closed on Friday), but because that is the day I designate to send first-given letters. For the last ten years, every Thursday, I have run a report from our database showing me who took a step of faith and donated to our church for the first time. I pull out my thank you cards and start writing. Yes, a handwritten note is still my preference. If I don’t have their physical address, I’ll send an email, but it just doesn’t feel the same to me. The donation amount doesn’t matter; it’s the heart of the person giving that matters. I keep it short and let them know how much we appreciate their generosity. It usually is some variation of this:
Hi [insert their first name here],
I was informed of your first-time financial investment in what God is doing in and through [insert your church name here]. We consider every gift as very generous and know that God will use it to impact the lives of many.
Thank you for partnering with our church as together we fulfill our mission to [insert your mission statement here].
I often wondered if anyone read or cared about these cards. But, over the years, several people have told me how much it meant to them that someone acknowledged their step of financial commitment.
Send Extraordinary Gift Letters
I still remember my first December as the overseer of the finances at our church. I could not believe that people in our church not only had such large sums of financial resources but were so generous with it. I was overwhelmed but was new and didn’t know what to do. I thought that recognizing donations was too carnal, and to my shame, I did nothing. Experience tells me that people with spiritual gifts don’t use them to receive praise. Those who use their spiritual gifts use it to worship God and build up the body of believers. That’s what people who can give generously are doing. We acknowledge the Pastor after a great message without a second thought. Churches should get into the habit of recognizing those who fund the ministry with extraordinary gifts of generosity. It can be as simple as a handwritten letter. The letter will hold more weight if it comes from the Lead Pastor. A letter provides an opportunity for the Lead Pastor to thank the giver for their donation, show appreciation for supporting the mission, cast a vision for the future, and connect on a personal level. What a great way to show appreciation to someone participating with your church to fulfill the mission.
Send Periodical Messages to Givers
When people invest in something, it’s only natural for them to want to see the return on their investment. If a church starts a building project and asks the congregation to give above and beyond their regular offering to fund the project, providing regular updates is a great way to build trust. The good news is you don’t need to wait for a building project to provide updates on how the donations are making a difference. Sending annual, bi-annual, or even quarterly emails to the financial supporters of the church outlining highlights of ministry “wins” is a great way to celebrate the importance that consistent, faithful, and generous giving makes in the church. When you work in a church, you are blessed to see and hear so many great stories, but there isn’t always a great way to share them. A periodic message allows the church to pass along these amazing stories showing how their financial contribution makes them partners in what God is doing.
Simple acts of gratefulness like acknowledging those who give for the first time, recognizing those who give in extraordinary ways, and sharing the impact of faithful, consistent, and generous giving will unleash the power of gratitude in your church and help fund the budget along the way.