Do your church members feel that their financial gifts are valued? Penelope Burk, author of Donor-Centered Fundraising, found that 93 percent of respondents to her study said they would give again if they were thanked promptly and in a personal manner, and 64 percent said they would actually give a larger gift.
So, how do you thank your generous church members? A call, note, or email can go a long way toward building a relationship with each person who gives to your church. Here are some tips for how to effectively communicate your appreciation to givers:
**Thank first time givers within 48 hours. **Studies by McConkey Johnston International have shown that first-time donors who receive a personal thank you within 48 hours are four times more likely to give again.
**Never ask for more money in your thank you note. **While your thank-you note shouldn’t solicit more money, the donor is still likely excited about the ministry they just funded, so you can offer next steps, such as following your church on social media or signing up to volunteer.
**Be specific. **If a member donated to a particular ministry, name that ministry and tell them how their money will be used. If they didn’t specify, tell them a little about one or two of the ministries they’re helping to fund.
**Tell a story in your thank you note. **Givers want to know how their money was used and who it helped. Sharing a story, either in a note or in a video, will make them excited to give again, and let them know that their money makes a difference.
**Thank recurring givers. **People who give regularly are committed to your church, and while you may not be able to thank them every time they give, monthly or quarterly thank you notes can still make an impact. Share recent progress with them. Some organizations send an insider’s version of their newsletter targeted at givers. Others hold an annual celebration for donors and volunteers. Annually, provide givers with a summary of their gifts for tax purposes. By making an effort to thank recurring donors, you show them that you care about their contribution.
When is it best to call givers on the phone, send them a letter, or simply send them an email? Below are some tips for which form of communication to use.
**Phone calls are best for first time givers. **Thishighly personal gesture can have a big impact. A phone call not only helps you connect with a first-time giver, but it lets them know you truly care about their participation in the church. Other staff members can help make phone calls as well.
**Letters are also effective for first-time and recurring givers. **Be sure to personalize your letter. If possible, you should send a handwritten note, but at the very least, sign each one by hand. Form letters will not make the giver feel appreciated, but you may find templates useful if you have a large number of letters to write. Just be sure to individualize details. You may also want to include a small gift, such as a prayer card or bookmark.
**Creative emails can be effective for recurring givers. **It’s valuable for givers to see their money in action, so attach pictures or a video to an email to show givers who their money assists.