When was the last time you got a handwritten letter or thank you note?
For most of us, it’s been a while. These days, even the kids and grandkids text their birthday gift thank yous instead of mailing a thank you card.
One powerful way to show your donors how much you value them is to take the time to make your acknowledgments personal.
We’re launching a series of blog features with 25 fundraising ideas for churches. Whether you wear multiple hats in a small congregation or lead a mega church, these ideas will help you engage and attract donors as you deepen those relationships.
We’re starting with the most critical concept in all of fundraising: communications and acknowledgment. But the idea here is to personalize as much of your stewardship program as possible. Here are some ways to make that happen regardless of the size of your congregation:
- Carve out time each week to write handwritten thank yous to at least five of your loyal donors.
- If your church produces a standard letter thank you to donors where the only personalization is the name/address mail merge, hold 10-15 of those out each week. Hand write a personal note on the letter or receipt.
- Set aside 15 minutes at the end of each week to make a personal call to one of your loyal tithers just to say thank you.
- Leverage your stewardship or other congregational connections committee in helping you thank your givers. Once a quarter – or even just once a year – have a thank-you card party where those church leaders help write or sign cards just thanking your givers for their support. (Donor giving levels can and should remain private – volunteers only need to know who they are thanking but not gift amounts.)
- Consider how to personalize any thank yous for special offerings or campaigns.
Making it personal is especially important for those who give over and above their annual pledge or tithe commitment for special projects. If 35 donors helped fund your church’s mission trip or new youth choir robes, develop a special thank you from those who benefitted from the gift and make it personal to the donors. This can be as simple as handwritten envelopes or a quick handwritten note from a student on a printed standard thank you.
You don’t have to implement all these ideas, but choosing one and being intentional this coming year will show your givers a new level of care. Any church or ministry we’ve worked with who has this in place sees a difference in donor growth and retention.
When donors know how much they are appreciated, they know they are partnering with you in God’s mission and are excited to see what you all do next together.