Skip to content
Home » Acknowledgments as a Foundation for Donor Relationships

Acknowledgments as a Foundation for Donor Relationships

Acknowledgments as a Foundation for Donor Relationships

Preparing for a Capital Campaign Part 1 of 4

When a campaign isn’t successful, it usually comes back to a handful of common mistakes that organizations make. Not preparing adequately is at the top of the list.

Churches, especially, often rush into and launch a campaign too quickly. Often, the pace is the natural outcome of a crisis or an urgent need for a particular space or program. It’s understandable, but there are systems and processes to ensure you don’t miss the mark or kick off a campaign with a goal you can’t achieve.

In our series of blogs over the last months, we’ve been talking about how to best prepare your church for a campaign and the key components that help ensure success. In the coming weeks in this current series, we’re specifically looking at how we treat our donors or prospects and the fundamentals of acknowledgments.

Properly thanking donors is an area where most charitable organizations fall short. And it’s an area where churches are often the largest offenders. We take our donors for granted in several key ways, and we miss opportunities not only to thank them but to keep them engaged and excited about their investment in our mission. Acknowledgment is the foundation of any relationship. Remember that personal or pastoral relationships are a model for connecting. That basic fundamental doesn’t change when the person is a donor. 

All of our interactions with donors need to begin with appreciation. We’re sometimes so excited to land the big gift or the series of commitments we need for a project or to meet our budget that we forget to circle back with a thank you. Even more, we neglect to keep the donors informed of how their gifts were used, the impact they’ve had and the fact that we could not do this without them. While this is true for major donors to our campaigns, it’s often more of an issue for those who are making sacrificial, smaller gifts over time. Imagine your church without all the consistent $25 donors. How often do we make them feel like the lifeline that they are?

In my career, I’ve often gone to thank a donor and had them tell me not to bother. They say I don’t need to keep thanking them. They tell me that giving is just something they’re happy to do and feel called to. Please ignore that when you hear it. While we know most donors are not giving for the recognition, we do them a grave disservice by not appropriately appreciating them and letting them know how vital they are in our church’s work.

Before you kick off a capital campaign, it’s absolutely critical to have a system in place for donor acknowledgments, appreciation, and reporting back. 

In the next blog of this series, we’ll talk about another fundamental in acknowledgments. Keeping the focus on the donor despite the temptation to make your interactions with them about your project. 


Preparing for a Capital Campaign

When a capital campaign isn’t successful, it usually comes back to a handful of common mistakes that organizations make. Not preparing adequately is at the top of the list.

Churches, especially, often rush into and launch a campaign too quickly. It’s understandable, but there are systems and processes to ensure you don’t miss the mark or kick off a campaign with a goal you can’t achieve.

For more information on consulting for Capital Campaigns, visit ACST’s Consulting pages.


Tim has over 30 years of experience in Church, Non-Profit Administration, Management, and Fund Development.  Serving as an Executive Pastor and Chief Development Officer in growing Churches and Non-Profit Organizations. He has provided a wide range of expertise and resources. Tim serves as the Founder and CEO of Non-Profit DNA. A boutique firm committed to helping nonprofits and churches. By building their capacity through fundraising, leadership, team building, staff recruiting, and coaching.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *