Inspiring Generosity


Opening Lines: More Important than You Think

                   Get that first line right! Cottonbro from Pexels

It was a dark and stormy night.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.
Opening lines are important.
They set the mood.
They set the tone.

So, what’s the opening line of your thank you letter?
Oh! Wait! Wait! I know this one! I’ve read the same opening line dozens of times:
“On behalf of our Awesome Church, thank you for your gift of $5,000,000.”
I may have made that last number up, but you get the idea. That sentence is a big whoop-dee-do of boring.
How about using one of these opening lines?
You are making a difference in the world!
What a gift you are to us.
You are being the hands and feet of Christ.
Because of you, our church is a lively and vibrant place.
Your gift blew us away.
Wow! You made my day.
Once you set the mood and express a tone full of gratitude, then your second line can be, “On behalf of our Awesome Church, thank you for your gift of $5,000,000.”

(And, I’m assuming if it’s a gift of any significance that you will Pick.Up.The.Phone and thank the person.)
It’s the little things that make the difference. The first sentence of your thank you note can either be ho-hum or it can immediately grab a person’s attention and make them want to continue reading.
Your opening line might not go down in the annals of great literature. However, there is little doubt that it will be a hit with the person who needs it most…the one receiving your gratitude.
And as the old classic line goes: The end.

Two upcoming webinars where I’ll be presenting or leading:
Creating a Culture of Radical Gratitude: How Do You Say Thank You?
Sponsored by the United Methodist Foundation of New England
Tomorrow! Thursday, October 28, 7:00-8:00pm (EST)
Churches do so many things well, but there is one area that is often overlooked… Thanking people. Join us as we discover the many ways you can practice “radical” gratitude with the people you deeply care for: your faith community.
For more information and to sign up, go here.
Endowments: What You Need to Know (Part 2)
Sponsored by the Greater Northwest Area of the United Methodist Church.
Tuesday, November 2, 6-8pm
In Part 2, you’ll learn how to manage an endowment and what to do if you need to close (or “extinguish”) it. Finally (and most importantly), join us in discussing the spiritual and ethical considerations that may arise as a result of establishing and/or maintaining an endowment. Didn’t make the first session? No worries – feel free to join us.
Sign-up here.  Zoom information will be sent two days before the event.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. For nearly 25 years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Need a little culture? Check out one person’s favorite opening lines. What are your favorite opening lines in literature? Shoot Cesie an email. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com.
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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.