‘Tis the season for giving statements!
When I was on church staff, I spent a week every January working on giving statements, from updating our mailing list to printing, folding, and stuffing as many envelopes as you can imagine (okay, it was a few hundred).
Giving statements matter for two reasons: they give your donors a record of their contributions, and they give you an opportunity to thank your donors.
This simple step is critical for strengthening the sense of partnership between you and your church members.
Here are five rules of a good donor thank-you letter, followed by an example.
1. Include your mission statement in the letter.
A donor thank-you letter is a prime opportunity to reinforce your church’s mission. You don’t have to quote your mission statement word for word, but take a few sentences to remind your donors about what’s important to your church.
2. Explain briefly how donations help accomplish the mission.
Don’t list every single ministry your church supports. Save that for an annual churchwide meeting or a special letter. Instead, hit the high points from last year, and reinforce the message that each gift helps your church make a difference in people’s lives.
3. Tell a moving story.
Hopefully, you have lots of examples of how God is at work in your congregation. Choose one that’s specific and that reflects your church’s mission and distinctives. For example, in the letter below, the church’s mission statement focuses on making disciples in the community, and the story reflects how one small group is practicing discipleship with a needy neighbor.
4. Cast the vision for what’s next for your church.
Only God knows how he’ll work through your church in the coming year, but you probably have plans. Share them! Not only does that invite people to help accomplish that vision but it also communicates you are strategic and thoughtful about stewarding God’s resources, which inspires confidence in donors to keep giving.
Are you praying for more small group leaders? For a new ministry to reach your community? Or for more people to visit your church? Be as specific as you can about your plans.
5. Include a heartfelt thank-you from a pastor.
Lastly and most importantly, remember that the point of this letter is to thank your donors. It’s a wonderful opportunity for remembering and honoring their giving, whether that’s $20 or $20,000. Think of the widow who gave from her poverty, and thank your donors as if they gave their last dollar for the kingdom.
What do you think? Are there other elements you suggest for a good donor thank-you letter? Let others know in the comments below.
Did you know you can prepare giving statements easily with Faithlife Giving? Learn how.
Example Thank-You Letter
Dear John and Jane,
Thank you for your generous contributions toward the mission of Cornerstone Church.
In part through your faithful giving, God used our church to do kingdom work this year—more lives changed by the gospel, more service in our community, and more missions overseas. In fact, here’s 2018 by the numbers:
- 20 baptisms
- 35 people sent on mission trips to Haiti, Southeast Asia, and Romania
- 10 people sent to aid disaster relief efforts after Hurricane Michael
- 100 needy students served in our school supply drive
- 3 church plants and 5 missionaries supported
Our ministry here at Cornerstone isn’t about numbers, though—it’s about glorifying God by making disciples in our community and around the world. That happens in our Sunday gatherings, our small groups, our student ministry, and all the other ministries of our church.
But it also happens in your home.
One powerful story of how God worked in 2018 comes from Josh and Courtney Gibbons, members in our church. Josh and Courtney moved across town and soon met their new neighbor. They prayed for her and got to know her, and when her abusive boyfriend left with many of her possessions, Josh and Courtney asked their small group to help this woman get back on her feet. This small group raised $1,500 to pay two months’ rent, and a couple in the group donated their old car so she could get to work. This young woman is coming regularly to Bible studies and expressing sincere interest in becoming a Christian!
I could tell many more stories just like this one, all about how God is using our church to share the gospel with people in our city, around the country, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
But for now, let me simply say thank you.
Thank you for inviting friends to church. Thank you for serving in the kids’ ministry, the hospitality team, the worship band. Thank you for giving cheerfully and sacrificially to see the gospel spread in our city and around the world.
Let’s ask God for more in 2019.
Pastor Tim Smith
P.S. Your giving statement is enclosed with this letter. You can also find your 2018 statement (or change your recurring gifts) at cornerstoneexamplechurch.com/give.