Write a Love Letter: Your Annual Report

Write a Love Letter: Your Annual Report
I want a baby sloth
I love a good celebration. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and evokes a lot of joy. Kind of like seeing all those Internet photos of puppies and baby sloths. How can you not feel happy? I bet you got a smile on your face just thinking about that sloth.
It’s time to celebrate the achievements you made during the past year. It’s never too late to relive and applaud your accomplishments – especially if you tell your story in a compelling way that makes your donors feel great.
One way you can celebrate your story is through an Annual Report Love Letter.
I recently had the chance to look at a couple of good examples, thanks to Westside United Methodist (Beaverton, OR) and Salem First United Methodist (OR). Click on them to see the letters in their entirety.

Here’s what these letters did right:
1.  They told their 2017 story highlighting achievements inside and outside the walls of their respective churches.
2.  The emphasis was on the person who gave from their heart. Note the “because of you” refrain in one of the letters. It was, what we call in the biz, “donor-centered.”
3.  One used bolding and bullets, while the other used pictures to help tell their story. Both can draw you in and make you want to read more.
4.  There was good news to report. Sometimes, getting mired in the day-to-day operations, it’s hard to step back and remember what you’ve accomplished. Or you get refocused on the next thing on your list. There’s value in taking stock of where you’ve been. And, because you haven’t done it just on your own, you need to share the good news with those who did make it possible.
Need I tell you that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner? Maybe it’s time to sit down and write that “love letter” to your congregation or organization, reminding your people of all that they have done with their time, talent, and financial treasure to make the world a better place.
Slip it in the bulletin.
Mail it.
Give it out as they leave worship.
Heck, put it in an envelope with hearts and perfume (and a piece of chocolate, please).
However you get the word out, get the word out. It’ll make you feel good. And, undoubtedly, your faithful stewards will feel great. Oh, and by the way, to really wow them, throw in a photo of a baby sloth for good measure. I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.
P.S. It’s not too late to register for the “Inspiring Generosity in Your Congregation” workshop on February 10 with Chick Lane and Grace Diddy Pomroy! For more information, click here. I’d love to see you there.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. You can send her pictures of puppies, sloths, and koalas any time. No baby rats. She was 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. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
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.