The end of the year has been downright hectic for parishes. Between last-minute donations being sent in, reminder emails being sent out, and everything happening between now until the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, to-do lists seem to grow longer by the minute. But, there’s one more task to add to your calendar before you forget, and that is thanking your donors.
Not only do thank you notes improve retention rates, but they can also increase your ministry’s donations by more than 40% (when sent promptly). To help you get started, here are 7 proven tips for crafting heartfelt and impactful messages to thank donors and inspire future giving.
1. Personalize the message
When strapped for time, there’s nothing wrong with finding a thank-you letter template for your ministry – as long as you personalize it. Unless you don’t know the name of the person, make sure your greeting isn’t “Dear Donor,” when it should be “Dear Janet.” Also, sign with an authentic signature whether you’re using traditional mail or email.
Also, add a small section about how their specific gift made an impact on the goals of the parish. For example, include a few sentences about the van the parish is raising money for and how it’s already scheduled to take volunteers and supplies to rebuild homes that were damaged by a natural disaster.
2. Use a special image to express gratitude
Include a group picture from a Christmas play, a photo from this year’s potluck dinner, or an image of volunteers hard at work within the email, on a postcard, or even in a social media post. The visual aid serves as a friendly reminder of the impact and importance of giving.
3. Don’t use the thank you note to ask for another donation
While thank you notes inspire giving, they shouldn’t be confused with an ask letter. You can leave links to online church giving options in your signature, but the primary focus should always be thanking the donor for their generosity and showing your appreciation.
4. Get their attention
It’s essential for retention rates that your donor sees the thank you message. Whether you send eye-catching postcards or envelopes for the letter, focus on catchy email headlines, or you send out a big thank you on social media. Get their attention so your message is not only opened but read.
5. Keep the message simple
Trust that donors are just as busy as you are. Keep the thank you message simple and direct. Studies show that roughly 20 lines are the ideal length to get your message across.
6. Use vivid and emotional stories to express gratitude
You probably have many stories about how church donations helped the community. Use your thank-you letter to share these heartfelt moments. Write about how last year’s gifts got a family back on their feet after a house fire or the reaction children at the shelter had when you dropped off toys for Christmas. When donors feel the emotional impact of their gifts, it helps them connect emotionally with giving and can appeal to their generosity.
7. Follow-up with the results
The thank you shouldn’t be the end of communications between you and the donor until the next giving campaign. As you send out messages thanking church donors for their gift, mark a future date on the calendar to follow-up. Highlight the progress of their donation and the future impact it will continue to make.
At ParishSOFT, our team is friendly, knowledgeable, and ready to help increase giving at your parish with complete online tithing solutions and resources. Call today at 866-930-4774 x6 or to learn more.