Inspiring Generosity


Steal (or Borrow) this Christmas Letter

Someone's waiting for a letter.
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You know how God sometimes speaks in a “still, small voice”? Well friends, this time God was yelling, “CESIE, DO NOT GO INTO THE CAKE DECORATING BUSINESS!!!” As you can see, my highly-anticipated “dog” cake from last week was a major fail.

In my defense, I was fooled by the cake decorator into believing that this was an easy dog cake (it says it right there in the fine print). And, the disembodied artiste in the YouTube video, was able to decorate the dang dog in a mere ten minutes. I knew I was in trouble by hour number two. Good thing it tasted OK.

I’m sorry to break the cardinal – yet always ignored – rule of not talking about Christmas until after Thanksgiving. But here’s the thing…there are a lot of pieces that go into a Christmas letter. It takes time and you’ll experience more peace if things are ready and raring to go earlier rather than later. Procrastination is not your friend with a large mailing.

I can almost guarantee that you will feel terrific if you steal (or borrow – which sounds less like you’re breaking one of the Commandments) this year-end letter.

You can find the sample letter right here.
Bonus! My friend, Julia Frisbie, of the Faith Foundation Northwest, has put together an important “Tax-Wise Giving in 2021” flier for you to include in your year-end letter. You can find it right here.

Here are some quick tips to remember as you write or adapt your letter:
***Write to one person.*** This is one of the most important things to know and will make writing your letter much easier. Think of your very favorite person in your congregation. Write the letter to her using the word “you” frequently.
Don’t bury the lead. Read more about getting to the point of your letter right here.
Grab your reader’s attention with a great opening line. More on that right here.
Keep it simple. This is not the time to regale your readers with your Scrabble-worthy words.

Make sure it’s easy on the eyes. That means:
 -  Lots of “white space.”
-   At least a 12-point font.
-   Bolding.
-   Indented paragraphs.
-   Bullet points.
Don’t be bound by a one-page letter. The development experts have tested this. Time and time again, the longer letter does far better than a one-pager. That may be counterintuitive to you but think about who is reading your letter: someone who loves what you do and feels passionately about your mission. Studies show, they want to read more.

Your year-end letter is an opportunity to thank and to ask. There’s nothing embarrassing about that because you are in the business of transforming lives and making a difference in the world.
That’s a gift at Christmas-time well worth writing about.
P.S. If you do end up adapting the letter I’ve offered, I’d love to know it. Just drop me a line. And, as always, an early Christmas gift from me…let me review your year-end letter and give you some feedback. Send it to me at InspiringGenerosity@gmail.com.

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. Is a Christmas Cake in her future? See how easy this looks? Redemption? You can reach Cesie 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.