Why are so many ministries really poor at thanking their supporters, beyond the sending of a gift receipt? What would happen if your development team improved its appreciation methods?

One of the sad realities for otherwise wonderful ministries scattered across the country is the sad reality that many of them are really bad at thanking donors. I don’t mean bad at appreciating donations…I mean bad at saying thank you in a way that brings the supporter a deeper, more personal connection to the ministry. Here’s the most common pattern I see.

The Smiths send in a gift. They’re a bit older so they still mail a check directly to the ministry. The gift processing team enters the donation and the system spits out a receipt letter covering the basics – thank you for your gift in the amount of XX. We really appreciate your support. There may be some variation depending on the time of year, but most often, the thank you receipt skims across the surface of the relationship in a way that matters very little to either party.

Or, let’s consider the Franklin family. They’re younger and don’t even have a checkbook. Their gifts are made online, and that process all too often kicks back an instant, generic, “your gift has been received” message that carries all the warmth and personal connection of an order receipt from Amazon.

Friends, this has to change. If your ministry doesn’t get better at thanking donors, those donors will only invest in the ministry from a “transactional/convenient” mindset.

They will give what makes them feel good…instead of giving as if your ministry was a vital part of their life. Moving supporters from transactional giving to “relational giving,” is what keeps them in your support family for decades…not just a few months.

I could talk about this concept for a very long time but in my effort to keep these videos brief, please allow me to make 3 quick points and then extend an invitation to your ministry team.

1 – If your receipt communication to donors is stale, generic, and impersonal, you’re doing it the wrong way.

2 – Your donors WILL respond to more effective, intentional gestures of gratitude…and I can prove it to you.

3 – If your ministry is always asking but lousy at thanking, donors will always be wary of the relationship. They deserve a fostering of the relationship that extends beyond always being asked.

That all leads to an invitation…to a conversation. I’d love to jump on a Zoom call with you ministry leadership and development team to talk through the practical steps you can take to improve they ways in which you thank donors…starting with the simple and perhaps even growing to the place where the role of “thanking” actually can become a staff position.

That’s exactly what my wife does for a vibrant rescue mission in our market, and the results have been fantastic. If you’d like to have that conversation – and there’s no cost or obligation – I sure hope to hear from you via email at thegivingseries@gmail.com

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