Feel Good! Read a Great Thank You Letter
“Thank ya, thank ya very much.” For you old fogies (or you young whipper snappers), never truer words were spoken than by Elvis himself. If you don’t know who Elvis is (the horror!), your tutorial starts right here. He was one of a kind. And, perhaps most importantly, he thanked people.
Many of you out there also know just how to thank people. Thanks to those of you who sent in sample thank you letters (and please, keep them coming). In future posts, I’ll give you links to some outstanding letters to inspire and give you that desire (kinda like a hunka hunka burnin’ love) to write more letters to people who deserve and need to hear from you.
One letter I received stood above the rest.
It came from Rev. Jeremy Hajdu-Paulen of Tigard UMC (OR). Jeremy wrote,
“I don’t know if this is particularly a good thank you letter or not [Cesie here: it is], but the reason I sent it to you is that [the man who got it] pulled me aside a couple of days after receiving it to say that he was blown away by this thank you letter. He said it was one of the nicest he had ever received. I remember thinking, ‘Well, that’s sad. It’s a decent thank you, but not spectacular. He must not been thanked very genuinely in the past.’” Thank goodness for you, Jeremy. It was time this generous person received the kind of letter he deserved.
Click here to read the full letter.
Here’s what helps makes this letter stand out. It’s:
1. Heartfelt: The letter oozes genuine gratitude. It’s not overkill and feels very authentic. I counted numerous ways “thank you” was said in a 184-word letter. “THANK YOU,” “Because of people like you,” “I am grateful…,” “Because of kind and generous people like you,” “Thanks.”
2. Simple: It gets straight to the point as to how the money will be used. Even though there are no budget numbers (yahoo!), it does address very specifically where the money is going. ESL classes, kids at Indoor Play Park, Jubilatte coffee shop, a men’s fellowship group. “And it’s only Tuesday…!!” I’d feel pretty darned good that my donation was being used wisely.
3. Creative: Who doesn’t like a rainbow? Especially one drawn by a child…with a heart and a smiley face?! And here’s how simple it can be to do something like that: Jeremy had kids in Sunday School draw thank you pictures (bonus: getting children to develop gratitude early), he scanned the pictures to his computer, and then inserted them into thank you letters. Super easy and puts a smile on everyone’s face.
As Jeremy so wonderfully said at the end of his email to me, “Even an ordinary thank you letter can have an impact…especially if someone has not been thanked in the past.” Brothers and sisters, Jeremy speaks the truth!
So today or (if you’re super busy) tomorrow, take a look at your current thank you letter – or write one if you don’t have one – and make it Heartfelt, Simple, and Creative. I can almost bet that you will have a donor come along and say, “Thank ya. Thank ya very much.”
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. She wants to wish her own “hunka, hunka burnin’ love” a happy 25th wedding anniversary. 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 or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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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.