6 Tips to Thank Your Congregation for Their Annual Giving
January is the time when churches send out annual giving statements to their congregation. The government requires churches to confirm all gifts of $250 or more annually with a statement to givers. However, sending out a giving statement shouldn’t be seen as simply an administrative task, something you have to do.
To the contrary, this is a great opportunity to reach out to your givers and let them know how profoundly grateful you are for their part in providing the financial resources to make ministry happen.
The goal is meaningful communication and connection with your giver, telling them the great things that happened through your church in 2020 because of their giving.
A simple “thank you” is to a giver as fertilizer is to a plant. It helps long-term growth occur. And never more than in this pandemic season. Letting them know how much you appreciate their giving is a great way to reinforce the culture of generosity at your church.
Here are six tips for how to thank your congregation for their generosity:
1. Celebrate Your Congregation's Spiritual Formation Through Giving
Givers want to hear more about what went into their decision to support the church in the first place. Whether they acknowledge it or not, givers want to know that their giving is an indicator of their personal spiritual growth. Growing in giving is one of the marks of a healthy, growing disciple of Jesus.
2. Share the Win
We are living in an age where gratitude can be the unexpected surprise to delight givers. It can give us an opportunity to communicate and reinforce our mission. There are stories to share when your church is seeing a great impact thanks to the generosity of your members. You can say to givers, “When we are successful, it’s because you gave. We’re thankful for that.”
It’s a lot like putting fertilizer on a plant that’s already doing well. You help the plant grow and flourish at a faster pace than if you did nothing at all. Saying thank you helps grow future giving at a faster, stronger pace.
3. Offer a Personal Note of Thanks
Thanking givers also provides the perfect chance to celebrate victories, especially in a more private, personal way. Often, churches say thank you in the weekend worship setting and that is a good practice to follow. A corporate thank you, however, is not nearly as impactful as a more personal one. You can thank people intermittently throughout the year, such as when people give a larger than usual gift or increase their regular giving pattern or when people give for the first time.
4. Thank First-Time Givers
Thanking first-time givers is especially important to recognize. You can send a note to express thanks and acknowledge their first gift. In addition to thanking them, you also want to include suggestions of ways they can get better connected to the church. Churches often overlook the fact that a first gift can be a good opportunity to increase engagement, such as finding a small group, identifying serving or leadership opportunities, and more.
5. Show the Impact of Their Gifts
When people give to your church, they want to know:
- what the church has achieved with their money
- that the church is deeply appreciative for the gift they made
- that the church remembers who they are and what they’ve done
- that the church knows how they want to communicate
More and more, givers want to know that their financial support made a real impact. Be sure your annual giving statements and thank you letters convey the specific ways your congregation’s offerings have made a difference in the past year.
6. Engage Other Ministry Leaders in Saying 'Thank You'
As you think through the strategy for expressing gratitude in your church, think of all of the ministry areas in your church that could say “thank you” to givers.
- A children’s pastor expressing thanks for the resourcing to execute their ministry strategy
- A worship pastor expressing gratitude by saying, “Every time we take the stage to lead our church in worship, we are grateful for people like you who provide the resourcing to allow that to happen.”
- A board member saying thank you for helping us to implement the vision God has given for our church without financial limitations
- An executive pastor expressing thanks for providing the financial resources to assemble the great staff we have here so we can carry out God’s vision for our church
Don’t let gratitude get siloed around the senior pastor. Bring in other voices.
For more ideas on how to thank your congregation for their generous giving, download the free PDF resource from Generis—“A Time to Be Profoundly Grateful: Annual Giving Statements 2020 Edition.”
Have questions about your Annual Giving Statement? Need help developing your 2021 budget? Looking for guidance on giving and generosity in your church? Schedule a Complimentary Generosity Support Call with Brad Leeper today.
About Brad Leeper
Brad is President and Principal at Generis. Generis exists to accelerate giving toward God-inspired vision. For 20+ years, Brad and Generis have been on the leading edge of helping churches and organizations develop financial strength through giving. Brad is married to Lisa and lives in the Atlanta area. you can reach Brad at email@example.com.