How to Write a Thank You Letter for Church Financial Support

Posted by Vanco on Dec 10, 2020 2:32:16 PM

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Though it may be old-fashioned, crafting a thank you letter or message to church members for support is the best way to express gratitude.

This thank you note to the church congregation helps reach many goals. Primarily, it ensures that recurring donors feel honored and valued. It helps them understand how much of a difference their contributions make.

A thank you letter to the church congregation also supports the mission of continued giving, and may inspire new donors to begin contributing.

If you're wondering how to write the best thank you letter for church financial support, we've broken down the process to make it easy.

Follow the steps we outline below to craft your own thank you letter for church financial support. And, once you've read the guidelines, you can use one of the 35 templates we include as a basis for your own thank you letters and giving appeals. Let's get started!

Table of Contents:

Why Write a Thank You Letter for Church Financial Support

According to Time, there is a plethora of research showing that gratitude is good for health and mood.  Gratitude can help bring lasting happiness, ease depression, reduce overeating, improve sleep, strengthen relationships and more.

According to research published in Psychological Science, which Time references, people also underestimate the impact shows of gratitude have. The study outlined in Psychological Science involved individuals sending gratitude letters and predicting the emotions their communications would have on those receiving them. In most cases, the writers of the gratitude letters overestimated how awkward recipients would feel and underestimated the levels of surprise those receiving the letters actually felt.

In other words, it's likely you're underestimating the value and impact your shows of gratitude have on those sending financial support to your church.

Expressing gratitude with a thank you note for financial support is one of the easiest ways to promote this overall well-being. This energy is thus transferred to those who receive the message. Plus, all church members should feel welcomed and appreciated at all times.

But when it comes to financial support, there is a greater standard of appreciation due to the congregation. Churchgoers work hard for their money. As such, the act of giving a portion of their livelihood to support the parish should not go forgotten.

It is important to take the time to craft a thoughtful and meaningful thank you letter to congregation members.

This is true at the year’s end after the final fundraising figures are calculated. However, it's also important after large or notable fundraising drives like capital campaigns, as well.

Expressing thanks isn't just a one off activity or an annual obligation. It is something that should be sustained throughout the year.

Crafting a Thank You Message to Church Members for Support

One of the most basic needs we have as social beings is to feel like we have contributed in some way. Recognizing the contributions of your church congregation can be done with one simple note.

While it is clear a church member thank you letter is important, not all thank you notes are created equal. It’s important the letter is meaningful and thoughtful. It should not sound like a generic letter copied and pasted from Google.

That's why we've created the following instructions before linking to our letter templates. Using a template is great as a foundation, but you should personalize your note a little to show that your thank you to church members comes from the heart.

To ensure you sound genuine and sincere, follow these key elements in your thank you note to church members:

Be Grateful

While it may seem like a no-brainer, the gratitude aspect of a thank you note is often glossed over. Don't forget why you are sending this note in the first place.

Simply receiving recognition and appreciation is enough to make a noticeable difference in the lives of your parishioners. Take it from a resident of Duxbury, Massachusetts who recently received a hand-written thank you note from a child dressed as an elf.

The letter expressed gratitude for spreading Christmas joy through the woman's light display. The recipient was overwhelmed with joy and positivity. This is something that will only inspire further displays of kindness and Christmas cheer. 

This same theme applies to a thank you letter to church members.

Keep in mind that the purpose of the note is to thank your donors—not to ask them for any more money. Focus on the cause at hand, and how their generous contribution played a role in this. Do not try to solicit any further donations or even address any upcoming events in which fundraising will be required.

Focus the purpose of this letter on simply expressing gratitude. There will be plenty of other opportunities for soliciting other donations.

Furthermore, the letter should be kept separate from any receipts. While these are important and required for tax purposes, they should not be included with the letter. This can distract from the intent behind the thank you note, and thus should be forwarded on its own.

Be Genuine

One of the most important aspects of a successful church member thank you letter is the authenticity of your message.

It’s important to take your time with this. Sit down, and carefully mull over your words. Think back on the year, and how much these donations have played a role in the livelihood of the church. Use this to inspire you and build on that gratitude. 

You want to come across as heartfelt and thoughtful, but not cheesy. You do not want to sound like you simply pulled from inspirational quotes to develop your letter.

Speak from your heart, and keep your words as true to that as possible. Don’t be afraid to throw emotion into it. 

Upon reading your message, the congregation will know it came from a genuine place and cherish it.

Be Specific

Along the same lines as authenticity, it is important to be specific in your thank you letter for church financial support. This lets your parishioners know that the letter came from your heart. It was not downloaded and printed from an online source.

Though you may use a thank you letter template to build off of, the actual wording should be specific enough to resonate with your congregation.

If you are writing to an individual donor, be sure to address them directly. Let them know how much their contribution is appreciated.

If they requested their donation go to a specific cause, touch on this. Include details on how their money will help this cause in particular. 

Be Personal

Each thank you letter to church members should make them feel valued.

Overarching summaries can be okay for the introductory or concluding sections of the letter. But to really connect with your parishioners on an individual level, you must include personal elements.

To achieve this, include information that is specific to your church population.

Reflect on the value your congregation adds to the community. Reference specific elements of their support that you are most thankful for. Quotes or stories may also be helpful here to really convey the personal nature of the letter.

If you are writing to the church as a whole, it can be good to include personal elements about the audience or the greater community.

This is something commonly seen by professional athletes after they are traded by their long-time team. Even though they are addressing a city with a huge population, they usually still manage to make it personal and heartfelt.

If writing to an individual donor or group of donors, address them by name. This should be in the same manner you customarily address them.

Remind Your Donors of How Their Generosity Will Directly Benefit the Church

Besides highlighting the actual efforts of your churchgoers, you should also identify what specific impact these donations made.

Give concrete examples of how their donations of hard-earned money made a positive difference in the church. This will validate their actions and inspire more donations moving forward.

Write in Your Church's Voice

While it is important to take these aspects into account, above all, your letter should sound natural.

Templates provide a solid base for your church member thank you letter. However, they should serve as just that—a foundation.

It’s up to you to make the letter your own. It's best to keep it consistent with the language and tone of voice that your congregation is used to hearing from you.

In addition, this letter should speak at the same level of formality as any other communication. This way, they know it feels familiar—and again, genuine.

After completing the letter, be sure to reread it out loud. In addition to checking for spelling or grammar errors, use this opportunity to check your tone.

Keep It Short

Though there is a lot to address in your thank you letter, be sure to avoid making it too lengthy. The purpose of the thank you note is to express gratitude. This can be accomplished in a few well-thought-out paragraphs. 

When a letter becomes too long, it can be hard to follow. It can lose the sincerity and meaning behind it. 

Reading the letter should not seem like a chore to your donor. Keep it short and sweet to have the best effect.

Examples of a Thank You Note to the Church Congregation

Below you will find two thank you letter template options for thanking church members.

One template is designed for use at year’s end or after a notable fundraising campaign. The other is designed for use when thanking an individual donor or group of donors for their sizable contribution.

There are endless options for customizing these letters. Furthermore, if you are writing for some other cause, these may serve as base models to mold your own letter from.

Thank You Letter to Congregation at Year's End Or Post-Campaign Template

Dear [name of church] family,

On behalf of the entire congregation, I would like to sincerely thank you for your time, effort and monetary donations this year. We are so lucky to have your support.

This past year, our total fundraising efforts amounted to [sum]. This is something we can all be proud of. Through your donations, we can continue to fund [church program], and accomplish [goal]. We are extremely grateful for any and all donations received this year.

[Something specific about how their generosity will directly benefit the church]. If you have any questions regarding how your gifts are being used, please feel free to contact [name] through [contact information]. We look forward to a great year to come. Our sincerest gratitude once again for your generous contributions.

Yours in Christ,
[Name]

Thank You Letter to Individual Donor or Group of Donors

Dear [donor],

On behalf of the entire congregation, I would like to sincerely thank you for your generous gift to [church, or specific program if applicable]. We are so lucky to have your support.

Through your donation, we can continue to work towards [goal] and secure the future of [program]. We are extremely grateful to receive your gift for this purpose.

[If applicable, mention something specific about how their continued generosity over the years has directly benefitted the church. If they are a first-time or infrequent donor, mention how thrilled you are to have them as part of the church family.] If you have any questions regarding how your gift is being used, please feel free to contact [name] through [contact information]. Our sincerest gratitude once again for your generous contribution.

Yours in Christ,
[name]

Steps for Writing Your Own Thank You Letter

Each exact thank you note will have its own shape and structure. But regardless of the letter, here are the general steps you should follow to maximize the efficiency and efficacy of the process.

1. Prepare Information

The first step is the pre-writing stage. This is where you should gather information about the cause for which donations were received. This may include any relevant applicable facts, figures and statistics.

Gather information to make sure you demonstrate the value of their donation. This will ensure your thank you is sincere.

As previously mentioned, people like to feel like they have contributed to something. So if you can show them with actual figures how their donation has done something, they will feel good. Plus, they will be more likely to donate again.

Once this information is in order, it can be helpful to jot down a brief outline of how you would like to structure the letter. This can help you stick to the script later on.

2. Draft the Letter

Now that you have all of your ducks in a row, it's time to begin writing.

Fill in all the remaining wording, keeping in mind all of the elements we have previously covered. The content should sound genuine, personal, and specific.

To write the letter, it will likely be helpful to build off of templates. Just be sure to customize these as much as possible so that your recipients feel it is authentic. 

3. Proofread the Letter

After you have finished writing the letter, go back and re-read it. Be sure to read it out loud to yourself or a partner to catch any tricky errors. This will help to identify any mistakes or issues needing adjustment before you go final. 

4. Make Your Edits

When editing your letter, make the corrections purposeful. It should be clear to the reader that you spent ample time on this. The letter should not sound as if it was lazily thrown together or simply copied and pasted.

Take the time to carefully edit your letter to be your best possible work.

How to Deliver Your Thank You Letter to Church Members

The delivery of the thank you letter is arguably just as important as the content itself. You want to be sure to publish the letter as soon as possible.

For the year’s end, it should be available shortly after the final numbers are tabulated. For specific campaigns or after large individual donations, it should be in the mail within a few days.

While it may feel awkward to reach out to donors directly after their contribution, it is necessary. This swift action shows the donor how valuable their contribution is. Plus, it shows that you have a finger on the pulse of the church’s activity.

Digital Delivery

More often than not, we seek out the help of the internet for updates on financial statuses. It should be no different from the church.

Plus, 46.15% of churches say that social media is their most effective method for outreach. The power of the internet cannot be understated.

This must be factored in when delivering fundraising initiatives and the resulting thank you note to the church congregation.

Of course, most congregation members are used to receiving their weekly church bulletin at mass. Inside the bulletin, among other things, is data on the church’s financial status. It’s very common to see exact figures on giving statistics from the previous week, month or year-to-date.

But the struggle here is that without proper context, the figures may lack meaning and be misleading. But at the same time, it is unrealistic and perhaps inappropriate to take up a whole page of the bulletin for a financial report.

As such, it may be more appropriate to use your church's website for this information. This platform provides a greater opportunity for transparency and context for your giving numbers.

This should be no different from the other side of the donation operation—the thank you letter.

Of course, it is lovely to add as an insert to the weekly bulletin. This ensures all congregation members—especially older members who may not have access to the internet—can receive this heartfelt message.

But, by including the thank you message to church members for support alongside the giving numbers, you illustrate how the church’s success is really due to their support. It can have a greater effect, and in turn, inspire more donations. 

Mail Delivery

When addressing individual donors or a group of donors, mail delivery may be the better option. This way, the donor(s) feel seen and appreciated. Plus, direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than email.

A large, mass mailing is possible to reach all congregation members if so desired. It is a more personal touch, although it may not be the most efficient means for large parishes.

Email may be another option for delivering a smaller group of thank you letters. However, it is hard to compare with the personal touch that is associated with a snail-mail letter.

If it can be hand-written, it can have an even more profound effect. If you cannot handwrite it, you must at a minimum include a real signature.

The church member thank you letter should be completed as soon as possible and sent out shortly thereafter. Keep in mind mailing times when dropping the letter in the mail. Plus, factor in any applicable gift processing time. 

Writing Your Own Church Financial Support Thank You Letter

In writing your own thank you message to church members for support, the content will vary. It depends on your own congregation, the parish and fundraising.

Your thank you note to the church congregation should be a reflection on the positive momentum following these donations.

Regardless of the structure of your letter, keep in mind the intent. Don't lose focus on the essence of gratitude, and how important it is to let your congregation know they are valued.

Looking for Letter Templates to Get Started?

Without a framework, or an example, crafting an appeal or a thank-you message can be cumbersome. That's why we built a complete guide that not only offers 35 letter samples and templates for nearly any situation, but also offers specific guidelines to help.

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