In All the Hullabaloo, Don't Forget Gratitude
Ruff, thank you.
Yesterday I heard one of my favorite speakers (heck, one of my favorite people) talk about “Building Donor Loyalty.” How can you not love a person who craves Doritos and believes in unicorns? Shanon Doolittle is that person. And, the timing of her presentation couldn’t have been better.
Because…after last week’s blog, you have written your year-end “ask” letter (at least a draft, right?). Once that letter is out and the good folks of your congregation begin to respond with joyful gifts (because we want them to feel great about giving, right?), what’s next? Well, glad you asked! I am confident most of you are now screaming in delight at your computer or big fancy phone saying, “Cesie, you crazy girl, what’s next is the THANK YOU letter!!!” Right you are, dear friends, right you are.
According to Shanon, donors want three things:
1. A prompt thank you.
2. Confirmation that their gift will be used as intended.
3. A report on what was accomplished with their contribution.
And here’s the big tip: the “thank you” can do all three of the above – thank, confirm, and report.
Now we all know that people in our congregations give because their faith compels them to do so, which is how it should be. But, there are also people who rightly would like to know that someone realized that they gave a little something above and beyond their usual tithe. And that’s your job. The “thank you” should be a fun exercise in gratitude. Here are a few ways Shanon (and Miss Manners) say you can thank people:
- A hand-written letter. Remember how good you feel when you get one? Channel that when you write.
- A wonderfully heart-felt form letter, with an opening line that will make them feel great, personally signed by you with an extra “thank you” on the side.
- A phone call – and yes, you can leave a message. Just imagine the shock, nay, delight people will experience hearing your voice!
There are other things you can do (email, text, Facebook) but let’s make it simple and commit to doing one of the three things listed above.
Expressing gratitude in the midst of a season where you are feeling overwhelmed (and I so appreciate all our clergy brethren and sisteren during Advent) can help you refocus on why you went into ministry in the first place. Maybe, just maybe, after writing a few notes or making a couple of calls, you’ll actually want to do the Hullabaloo. Be sure to send videos.
The offer is still good! As my annual gift to you, I am happy to review your year-end letter and give you feedback. Send it to me at email@example.com.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Forget dancing, maybe she’ll make the Hullabaloo a new exercise craze in 2016. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation; she is available to consult with churches in Oregon and Idaho. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.