the shape of leadership

Thanks for Giving

Expressing gratitude and inspiring generosity

Chris Colvin on June 20, 2017

Everyone likes receiving gifts. But the next best thing is receiving a “thank you” for a gift you’ve given. Each week, people in your church give you gifts. We can call it a tithe, an offering or some other term that specifies where it goes. Regardless, they are giving from their earned income to the church’s purpose. These are gifts.

When it comes to church giving, though, we often fall short in saying, “Thank you.” Maybe it stems from a fear of talking about money. We don’t want to offend, so we avoid mentioning anything about it, including our gratitude. Maybe it’s because we don’t want to single out one group, the givers, while overlooking another group, the non-givers. How would they feel if they knew the pastor sent out a thank-you note and they didn’t get one?

If you want to see increased giving, watch occasional givers become consistent givers and instill a sense of purpose in your offerings, a “thank you” is one of the best instruments you can employ. Here are some things to keep in mind as you start to thank people for their giving.


Whom to Thank

It may seem simple enough: Thank people who give to your church. But there should be a system and a plan.

Start by expressing thanks from the platform each week for everyone who gives. It’s a simple act that can go a long way. It immediately reminds those in the seats that what they are giving is a gift. It’s not an obligation or an expectation. It’s an act of sacrifice and love, both to the church and to God.

Get creative with how you thank your givers.

Also, think about sending a special thank-you note to first-time givers. This lets them know you noticed and appreciated their giving and instills in them a desire to give again and. It also allows you to tell them how the church will use their gift, giving them insights into the church’s mission in the community and world.

Finally, think about saying a special “thank you” to those who make a giving pledge and have started giving toward it. This may be for a building fund, a missions drive or some other initiative in your church. Responding with gratitude can increase the likelihood that people will stick with their commitment to give.

One note on this: Some might think that singling out large donors is wrong and that you should treat all givers equally, no matter how much they give. However, when someone gives a large portion of their income to the work of God, it is worth acknowledging and honoring. Jesus did the same thing when the widow gave all she had (Mark 12:41–44). The offering may be small, but the percentage — and recognition — was huge!


When to Thank

When should you say thanks? As often as you can! Again, expressing gratitude during offerings and pledge drives is a good place to start. There are other occasions that provide good opportunities as well.

At the end of the year when mailing giving statements for tax purposes, include a note of thanks along with the tax form. This will help people connect the work of God to their tax refund, a blessing that can become another blessing and may even return to the church.

Give thanks during milestones. Perhaps you can send out a note of thanks at your church’s anniversary, your anniversary as pastor or the giver’s own giving anniversary. Tying these moments to giving attaches significance and helps people think about future giving.


How to Thank

The easiest way to thank someone is by saying it. But your thanks should go beyond that. For first-time givers, consider a handwritten note, either from you as senior pastor or the treasurer. The personal touch tells this giver, who may be also be a first-time guest, that you are serious about gratitude.

Get creative with how you thank your givers. Make a video and send it out to a select group of people. Or make a personal phone call to someone who has just made a large donation. Take them out to lunch to show appreciation, or invite your top givers to a special dinner. That meal can also be a time to share more of the vision of your church, showing them how the church put the money to use while also showing how giving can accomplish Kingdom work in the future.

The point is not to single some out while ignoring others. The point is to give honor where honor is due, and show gratitude to those who give sacrificially. Think about how you would want to be treated when you give a gift. Then go and do the same. It could make all the difference when it comes to raising funds for the vision and mission of your church.

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