How does your congregation thank people?

Hand writing thank you

+Rev. Pete Reuss, GSB Consultant

Thank you. Two simple words have amazing power. How does your congregation thank people?

At the heart, congregations are voluntary organizations. Every week people take time to come and join in worship. They step forward in a wide range of volunteer roles, from mowing the lawn to reading lessons to leading kid’s events to setting up the altar for worship.

Think about it. How many other organizations have such dedicated supporters? Most non-profit organizations don’t have anywhere near the commitment from people that you have in your church. It’s easy to take this for granted and focus on what people ‘should’ do. They ‘should’ make a financial gift. They ‘should’ volunteer. It’s easy to rely on guilt and shame to get people to act.

Yet people faithfully give of their time. They cheerfully make financial contributions. They don’t have to do it. They willingly step forward. Our proper response must be to say, ‘Thank you!’

We thank people in personal ways, through conversations over coffee. We thank people with handwritten thank you notes. We thank them as we send quarterly giving statements. We thank them publicly when appropriate.

Two simple words. Thank you.

We also thank people by helping them see the impact of their gift. When you tell the stories of people touched by your ministry, make sure to help folks see that it happened because of the generosity of the congregation. Draw a direct line between giving of time and treasure and the outcomes people experience.

We thank people by faithfully tending to their gifts. When people perceive that we waste what they give, they become less likely to continue that generosity.

How can your congregation ensure that everyone who gives in any way experiences your thanks?

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