Thank You Letter for Donation to Church in Memory of Deceased

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When a member of your church community passes away, family members and friends of the deceased will often donate to the church as a memorial, so it is important to have thank you letters for donations to a church in memory of the deceased that you can send promptly.

These donors can come in many forms, such individual family members, friends, church members, non-church members and groups. Also, church donations can be tax deductible, so you need a letter to acknowledge and document these gifts.

It helps to have a variety of church thank you letters for memorial donations that you can rely on when you need them. Keep reading for information on how to send a thank you letter for a donation in memory of the deceased, things to do and things to avoid, and several samples you can use when you need them.

 

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Establish the Person's Connection to Your Church Before Sending a Donation Thank You Card

Each year, more than 10 million people donate to churches across America . Donating to churches is a great way to give thanks for the support that religion brings to their lives. And when families lose loved ones, it is also a way to celebrate causes that meant a lot to them.

If your church receives a memorial donation in someone's name, it is important to send a thank you letter to their loved ones promptly. However, before sending a thank you letter for a donation to the church in memory of the deceased, you should establish their connection to your church.

This helps you write a thank you letter that sounds personal and genuine. A thank you letter can mean a lot to the loved ones of the deceased and anyone else who donated in their name.

Ways to Learn More About the Deceased

If you aren't sure about someone's connection to your church, you can find out more about them by:

  • Checking your church records
  • Looking up their family name(s) in your church records
  • Speaking to staff and volunteers at your church
  • Looking up their obituary online

This will tell you a lot about the deceased so you can send a thank you letter that feels personal.

 

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How to Send a Thank You Letter for a Donation to the Church in Memory of the Deceased

You should always send a thank you letter by mail rather than electronically. It feels much more personal than an email attachment.

If you do not have an address for the donor, reach out to them by email. Simply say that you want to send a thank you card and ask which address you should send it to.

You should always send a letter to the person responsible for making the donation. This can avoid any confusion at their end and ensures that your letter reaches the right person.

 

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Do’s and Don'ts of Sending Donation Thank You Letters

You must handle church thank you letters for church memorial donations sensitively. After all, you are writing to loved ones who are grieving a huge loss. Because of this, there are certain things you should do and others you should avoid.

What You Should Do When Sending a Church Thank You Letter for a Memorial Donation

Here are key things you should do when thanking loved ones for memorial donations. You should always:

  • Send your letter from the pastor rather than the church office, as this will feel more personal.
  • Send a thank you letter promptly.
  • Make sure you contact the person who made the donation.
  • Be sensitive to their grief.
  • Acknowledge the deceased's involvement in your community.
  • Offer support for the deceased's loved ones.

Including these items ensures that grieving loved ones receive heartfelt thanks from the church community. It can also give you a chance to support them during this difficult time.

What You Should Avoid

When writing a thank you letter for a memorial donation, you should not:

  • Send letters informing the wider community about memorial donations without permission.
  • Sign your letter from the church office, as this can feel quite impersonal.
  • Write about your own emotional response to the death of the deceased.
  • Appeal for future donations.

In some cases, family members will be happy for you to announce donations in your church newsletter. However, you should not do this without their express permission. Be sure you ask before publishing a public thank you for their donation.

 

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Notifying the Family of Church Memorial Donations

In some cases, you may receive a memorial donation from a friend or loved one in the deceased's name. In that case, you should send them a letter thanking them for their donation.

You can also send a letter to the deceased's loved ones informing them of the donation. This is a nice way to let them know that people are thinking about them and the person they lost.

Before doing this, reach out to the donor to get their permission. They may not want to share their name with the family. If so, you can omit their information from the templates in this guide.

 

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What To Do After You Receive a Memorial Gift

Sending a thank you letter for a donation to a church in memory of the deceased is not the only thing you need to do after receiving a donation. Here are a few things you should do to make sure your memorial records are up-to-date.

Keep a Record of Church Memorial Donations

When you receive a memorial donation, you should record:

  • The amount
  • The date it was received
  • How the money was sent
  • Who it was donated in memory of
  • Who donated the money
  • How it was used (you can update this over time)

If you receive multiple donations in someone's name, keep an individual record of each one. That way your accounts will always be up-to-date and detailed.

Ideally, set up a file under the deceased's name in your memorial gift records. That way you can easily add donations made on anniversaries.

Keep Donors in a Special Appeal Pool

You should avoid sending out regular appeal letters to memorial donors, especially shortly after their loved one's death. This can feel insensitive and may be unsuccessful, especially if they aren't also church members themselves.

However, you can reach out to them for specific appeals that might interest them. For example, if you are raising money for a cause that was important to their loved one, this would be a good time to reach out to them.

Follow Up With the Family and Loved Ones

Receiving a memorial donation is a special honor, so let your donors know how grateful you are by following up with them. There are several ways you can do this sensitively. For example, you could reach out to:

Let them know what their donation was used for (especially if it was used for a cause their loved one was passionate about).

Explain the impact their donation has had on people's lives.

Share memorial messages you have received from the congregation.

Send messages of support, especially around the anniversary of their loved one's death.

Let them know about memorial services and events at your church.

This will show that you are keeping them in your thoughts and prayers. It can also provide some comfort to know that their donation made a difference in people's lives.

 

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Templates for Thank You Letter for a Donation to a Church in Memory of the Deceased

Writing a church thank you letter for memorial donation can take time.

As we already mentioned, there are several important things to include and avoid. Fortunately, using a letter template will make this easier. Here are some thank you templates you can use.

Simple Memorial Gift Thank You Letter Version 1

This thank you letter template acknowledges a donation and provides some details about the deceased and their connection to the church. Customize the letter with appropriate details.

Dear [Donor’s Name],

Thank you so much for choosing to make a donation to [Church’s Name] in memory of [Deceased’s Name]. [Deceased’s Name] was a valuable member of our community for [number years/months] and it was a blessing to have them in our congregation.

Your donation is an incredibly thoughtful way of remembering your loved one and supporting the work they felt so passionate about. We will always be grateful for the support they showed for [specific events or causes] over the years. They truly touched so many lives and your donation ensures that they will continue to do so.

We appreciate that this must be a devastating time for you and your loved ones. If you need support, please feel free to reach out to me and other members of the church community.

Thank you, again. May the Lord bless you and keep you. (Numbers 6:24-26)

With all my best wishes,

[Handwritten Signature]

[Name and Position in the Church]

Simple Memorial Gift Thank You Letter Version 2

This template is a very simple thank you note. Use it as is or add or delete details you feel are appropriate.

Dear [Donor’s Name],

It was a blessing to us that [Deceased’s First Name] could attend services at our church before their passing.

They gave generously to our church and shared many other gifts with us. As a person, they [share stories about the deceased, e.g., were always happy to pitch in and help].

Your generosity celebrates the life and work of [Deceased’s First Name] and ensures that their witness for Christ will endure. We appreciate that you've honored them in this thoughtful way.

Sincerely,

[Pastor’s Name or Church Secretary's Name]

Simple Appreciation Note to Family and Friends for a Group Donation

This letter of thanks is an example of a letter sent to a group of family members and friends who collected and donated as a group. Send the letter to the person who sent the donation on behalf of the group.

Dear [Mr./Ms./Mrs.] [First and Last Names]

I am writing to thank you and your group of donors who contributed to our church in memory of [Deceased’s Name]. In addition to the generous donation, our church family is grateful for the encouragement and help you have given us.

We believe that your contribution to our church will positively impact many people. We appreciate your thoughtful gesture, which will keep [Deceased’s Name] memory alive in the hearts of those who will benefit from the donation.

Once again, we would like to express our gratitude to you and your team of donors for all you have done during this difficult time.

Yours sincerely,

[Pastor’s Name or Church Secretary’s Name]

Thank You Acknowledgement Letter to Individual Donors

Dear [Donor’s Name]

On behalf of the whole congregation, I'd like to thank you for your kind donation to [church or a specific project, if applicable]. We're so fortunate to have your help.

With your help, we can keep working toward [relevant church project] and ensure it is completed for the church's future. We are very thankful for your gift to help us accomplish this. [If it's relevant, say something about how their ongoing kindness over the years has helped the church in a direct way. If it's their first time giving or they don't give very often, let them know how happy you are to include them as part of the church community.]

If you have any questions about how your donation is being used, please contact [Pastor’s Name or Church Secretary’s Name] at [contact information]. Once again, our sincere gratitude for your generous contribution.

Sincerely, Yours in Christ,

[Pastor’s Name or Church Secretary’s Name]

Thank You Letter to a Close Church Member

The recipient of this thank you letter is a close and trusted churchgoer, so this letter can have a more casual tone and personal approach.

Dear [Churchgoer’s Name]

We appreciate you being here with us at this time of great sorrow. Our congregation will miss [Deceased’s Name] very much.

We were informed of your donation in [Deceased’s Name]’s memory and we appreciate your thoughtfulness and generosity in their honor. [Deceased's Name] would be overjoyed to learn that you gave so generously to the church they loved.

I just wanted to let you know how fortunate our church is to have someone like you in our congregation. No words can describe how lucky we feel to have you in our lives.

Thank you once again.

Go in peace and love always,

[Pastor’s Name or Church Secretary’s Name]

Thank You Letter to a Friend of the Deceased Not Known to the Church

You can send this letter to a non-congregational friend of the deceased who made a memorial gift in the deceased's name.

Dear [Donor’s Name],

Although we have never met face-to-face, I feel like I know you very well thanks to [Deceased’s Name]. The late [Deceased’s Name] would tell us story after story about all the exciting things you did together in the past.

We are writing to express our deep gratitude for your memorial gift to our church in [Deceased’s Name]'s name. We are both aware of their deep commitment to the church and their willingness to help anyone in need.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this challenging period. Even though you couldn't be here in person, we were comforted knowing that you were praying and thinking with us of [Deceased’s Name].

Our hope is to meet you soon and put a face to the great stories.

Thank you once again.

Sincerely,

[Pastor’s Name or Church Secretary’s Name]

Thank You Letter to Be Used as a Receipt for Tax Purposes

You can use this brief thank you letter to confirm the amount of a donation to a church and it can be used by the donor as documentation to claim a tax deduction. Donors can qualify for a 100% tax deduction when they donate $250 or more to a religious institution.

As stated in IRS Publication 1771, acknowledgments must be made "in writing, when the money is received, and in a fashion that will come to the donor's attention."

[Date]

Dear [Donor’s Name],

We at [Church’s Name] want to give thanks for your generous donation of $[amount of donation] made on [date of donation].

Our church thrives because of your generosity. God bless you for your donation. You didn't get anything in return for your donation besides religious gratification.

[Church’s Name] appreciates your generosity.

Sincerely,

[Pastor’s Name or Church Secretary’s Name]

Sending personal and heartfelt thank you letters for donations to your church in memory of a deceased church member can be a great way to acknowledge these important gifts and provide comfort to the deceased’s loved ones. Use these templates to help you send these letters promptly and easily.

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