You may have guessed it from the title, but the words that are key to increasing generosity and giving in your church are very simple: “Thank you.”

Two Completely Different Giving Experiences
The instructor from a ministry event recently spoke about the differences in the experience of giving to her church versus giving to her alma mater. When giving to the university, she would receive an instant message of thanks via email. A week later, she would receive a hand-signed letter in the mail, once again thanking her for her gift.

Depending on where the contribution was made, she may also receive another message of gratitude from a student recipient or a faculty member associated with the scholarship program. Multiple “touches” of gratitude for one gift that represents a fraction of what she gives to her home church over the course of a year.

One Place of Worship’s Response to Church Giving
So how does that experience contrast with her church’s response?

She told us she receives two “thank you” messages each year. The first comes attached to a form asking for the next year’s giving commitment, and the second comes attached to the mandatory giving report churches provide to contributors. So while the sentiment is probably genuine, it doesn’t really feel like it.

Consider how your ministry shows appreciation for gifts.

Church Giving Deserves Thanks, Too
The principle of thankfulness and gratitude works because you can see it in action outside of church finances. When someone volunteers their time or donates a non-monetary resource, be quick to offer gratitude from the pulpit and in public. Understand that when you acknowledge volunteers and offer them praise in a true and heartfelt way, they are much more likely to offer their services again in the future — often going above and beyond their original act of service.

Consider making the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas a time of “congregation appreciation.” Make a practice of hand-writing notes of appreciation and gratitude to each one of your members and personally delivering them each service. Personal gratitude works. You will see more engagement, willingness, and giving from those who feel appreciated.

So if you’re looking for a boost in your giving this Christmas, try acts of gratitude instead of an appeal. You may be surprised by the results!

Shelby Systems is committed to helping churches large and small streamline their giving process. We provide the software and the plan that can help your church make the leap to digital giving. To find out how, contact one of our Ministry Consultants today. And don’t forget to ask about our special Digital Giving Package!