Thursday, May 21, 2015

New giver thank you note

In a follow up to this post, here is a sample note, in case you need a starting place. This is for someone new to the church who has recently started giving financially.

Dear ___________,
I am so glad you are here at [church name]. It has been a delight getting to know you.  I pray God uses this church family to bless and support you.  I want to thank you for the gifts and offerings you have given.  They are a blessing to the life in ministry that we share together.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. 
                                                                                                     In Christ,
                                                                                                      [sign here]

Thank you notes

THANK YOUWhen I was young, I was taught to write thank you notes for any gift I received.  From about the time I could write, my parents would make sure I sat to write my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and others for their gifts. 

In ministry, writing thank you notes has been huge.  I try to take time to write thank yous for meals, special gifts, thoughtful touches, and the time and energy people put into the life and ministry of the church. 

However, aside from giving statements for individuals or collective acknowledgements for special offerings, I was not taught to thank givers of the church.  It sounds ridiculous even as I type it, but money has been "one of those things" and I just assumed people gave for the reasons they gave and their thanks came from God. 

This year, we hired a coach and he has been working with me on all kinds of things that pertain to ministry, stewardship being only one of them.  I regularly send emails with questions and he responds from his wisdom and experience. 

I will say I was not prepared for the schooling he gave me/us. 

here is one exchange:

1) Do we call or send thank you cards on pledged special gifts? 

[The coach] replies:  You should have finance person alert you anytime:
1. A person INCREASES their pledge unsolicited.
2. A person decreases their pledged giving
3. An additional donation is made OF ANY AMOUNT
4. The first time anyone identifies themselves as giving financially to the church (vs. anonymously).

When you are alerted about #1,#, or #4,  send a hand written thank you note.  In the case of # 2, meet personally with this person and begin conversation something like this, “Its come to my attention that your giving has decreased.  As your pastor is there something that’s happened that I need to know about?"

2) If so, what is the threshold amount? $1000, $2500, $5000? 

[The coach] replies: ANY TIME.  Size does not matter.

3) A gift may be "large" to one giver but not to other words, for one person, giving $500 might be "huge" whereas another doesn't hit "huge" until $5000 or even $ do we honor both the gift and the giver understanding that it's not just the size of the gift that counts?

[The coach] replies: You thank them.

Now, it makes perfect sense to thank someone, I just didn't realize it should happen so personally and so often for tithing.  For extra gifts, above a pledge, I have started making thank you calls and sending notes.  For our capital campaign (which is drawing to a close) I am sending individual, hand written thank you notes to those who have given a one time gift and those who have completed their pledge. All who give will receive a personal note from me at the end, regardless of whether or not a pledge was completed.  

I have written notes and called for special asks that I have made for special projects and now am sending notes to those who have begun (seemingly) a tithing pattern to the church.  

I am grateful. We couldn't do ministry without the faithful giving of those who support these ministries.  I am now regretful and embarrassed that I didn't know to do this sooner. I always left it to the finance secretary except in the case of special gifts.  So, here is my learning, in case it is of help to you and your ministry.