Communicating Gratefulness

A question was asked recently by a pastor about how to appreciate donors.  This is a very important question in today’s tight economy where giving is becoming much more strategic and donors want to know that their gifts are appreciated. They are cutting giving to organizations that are not in their specific passions or those that have been used to receiving your gifts as a regular course of affairs.  They want to pare down to what’s most important. Therefore, you as a leader must let them know that your recognize their gifts and are using it for strategic Kingdom purposes.

Dear Pastor:

Your question about how to show gratefulness to donors and showing appreciation in appropriate ways to those who give is a wonderful mindset, but it is not a “one-size-fits-all” answer. Each giver has different motivations as well as differing ways they like to be appreciated.

One of the most common that seems to fit all of them is a hand written note (email is OK, but it needs to be followed up with a hand written note) that is genuine and expresses your heart personally as a friend … not as a pastor or as a formality for tax purposes.

The second is to to remember their times of celebration. I have my assistant gather their anniversaries and birthdays, and I send them cards and gifts. Then at Christmas, I send them all a nice gift to let them know I am thinking about them. They really do become friends and partners, so do not forget them after the initial “Thank you.”

Then it becomes more specific to the individual. Once I did a big dinner to wine and dine the donors, and I got a couple of letters saying to the effect that they don;t give in order to be heralded. They did not attend…

So begin with the first two and then study your large donors. One may just want a golf game with me, another a private BBQ, and another a chance to help in ministry by going on a rip with me. This step requires you studying your donors and appropriately serving them.

Remember, we must show ourselves worthy of their gifts, and we must show that we are cognizant of their giving. They are not just expected givers. They are very appreciated and appropriately recognized friends and partners.

-Wayne Cordeiro

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