Three Practical Ways to Thank Your Donors

When it comes to generosity, it’s always appropriate and it’s nearly impossible to overdo appreciation.
The people who are financially supporting the mission of your church need to hear “thank you.”
There are at least two categories where appreciation should be intentionally delivered:

  1. First Time Gifts: I’d also put unusual gifts in this category and treat similarly. For example, if someone usually gives $100 every two weeks but makes a $2,000 donation one time.
  2. Consistent Gifts: These people support the ongoing ministry of the church through regular donations. Maybe it’s every two weeks or once a month, but it’s somewhat predictable.  This is your donor base.

You should be thanking first-time givers when they give for the very first time and regular givers who are supporting the ministry year-round.
Here are some practical ideas on how you can thank these donors.

#1 – Send a personal note.

When you want to thank a donor for a gift, avoid the formal email or letter.
Handwrite a thank you note, and make it personal.
Put it in an old-fashioned envelope, use an old-fashioned pen to handwrite the address, and use an old-fashioned stamp to send it in the old-fashioned mail.
Handwritten note cards work great because they stand out in the mailbox.  They don’t go in the trashcan with the other junk mail, and they don’t go on the desk with the other bills.  They are usually opened right away and sometimes kept out for days.
In other words, personal note cards are meaningful.
If you’re creating a giver follow-up process with letters, emails, or automation, consider putting a handwritten, personal thank you note right at the front.

If you’re a Church Fuel member, you’ll find these ready-to-print thank you cards that you can use to thank donors, volunteers, and those who invite.  Just head to the Resource Library and search for “thank you cards.”
The print-ready files can be sent to any printer, online or local.  And original files are included if you want to switch out the generic logo for your church logo.

#2 – Send a small gift.

You could include a small gift in the note card or you could do something like this once a year.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, but a small token of appreciation goes a long way when it comes to donor development.
Here are some ideas…

  • A good book that was meaningful to you last year. Let people know why it was special and how you think it could encourage them.
  • A custom Moleskine notebook embossed with your church logo. You can find those here.
  • You can order a pizza from Lou Malnati’s, one of the best pizzas in Chicago, and they will ship it to whatever address is provided.

You’ll find more gift ideas here.
Though written for first-time guests, many of them would work to thank donors as well.

#3 – Share information.

If people know what’s coming or know the results of what happened, they sometimes feel special.
Information is a form of appreciation.
The people funding your ministry should get a slightly different look at things than everyone else.  They should know how their contributions are making a difference.
Once a quarter, or maybe even once a month, send a donor update email.  Share a few statistics or tell a story, but make sure everyone knows how their donations are making a continual difference.
Post-Covid, it’s even more important to let your donors what your church is doing to stay fiscally responsible and on-mission.
Here is a template you can use.
This shouldn’t be a church-wide email – it’s an update specifically written to your donors.
It won’t cost you any money and it will just take a little bit of time but sharing information with your donors is a great way to say thanks.

Take a Next Step

If you’re a Church Fuel member, you’ll find budget templates, cash flow worksheets, finance team training and a lot more to help with all things related to church giving in the Resource Library.
Plus, when you sign up for membership, you’ll get immediate access to The Giving Course, our premium training to help you raise and manage money in the church.


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