Mind Your Manners and Say, "Thank You!" Part 2


Mind Your Manners: Don’t Forget to Say Thank You! Part 2

It’s happened again.

Two days ago Paul, my dear church friend who I have known since third grade(!) sent me an email. And he was mad.

At the end of July, Paul, who now teaches at a seminary in Minnesota, mailed a sizable check (four-figures) to our childhood church in Southern California. The purpose of the check was to establish a camp scholarship marking the 40th anniversary of the passing of our friends, Van and John, who were killed in a car accident when we were teenagers in MYF. Paul wrote a heart-felt letter to the pastor, along with the check, and sent it off.

Guess when he received a thank you letter or an acknowledgement of his gift from the church? You’re right. He is still waiting.

Paul does know that at least one of the families was contacted because Van’s mother wrote him a lovely letter of thanks. But the church has yet to make any contact with Paul. What are the chances he’ll be inclined to write another check?

Here’s how you can do this better:

• When an unusually large gift is received, make sure your church treasurer or whoever opens the mail, notifies the pastor immediately.

• If there is a phone number on the check, call the person who made the donation and thank him or her.

• Ideally, within 48-hours, write a thank you letter. Sign it personally (add a hand-written post script too) and assure the person the gift will go toward what they requested.

In her new book Help, Thanks, Wow, Anne Lamont says:

“Saying and meaning ‘Thanks’ leads to a crazy thought: What more can I give?”

Wouldn’t it be exciting if everyone who received a thank you letter immediately felt that tug to give more? So, who should you write to today?


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.