Inspiring Generosity with a Thank You Letter

August 24, 2015

by Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Thank you note with smiley face , isolated on white

How often have you opened up what looks like a form letter and read, “On behalf of blah blah blah, I want to thank you for your generous donation.”? In principle, there’s nothing wrong with this. And believe me, it’s way better to receive a boring thank you letter than to receive nothing at all.

But what if you got a letter with this opening: “What a friend you are to us! Once again you have honored us with a gift that is making a difference in the lives of people.” I recently received such a note from my alma mater.

While I’ve supported the college over the years, I am nowhere near being a big donor. And that’s what made this letter all the more surprising. The school’s director of annual giving had me at “What a friend you are to us!” There was no ask. It was all thanks. And the final cherry on top was her hand-written note, “Thank you for your amazing 20 years of supporting Westmont.” Wow. I hadn’t realized that I had been giving for 20 years. But someone took the time and recognized this milestone.

How many faithful stewards do you have in your church who have given decade after decade? Have you taken the time to recognize them? It doesn’t have to be some big hoop-dee-do. A simple, yet heartfelt, “thank you” really is sometimes all that’s needed to make someone feel noticed, appreciated, blessed, and happy to be a raving fan.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing and a lay leader in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. This article is adapted from a post on her blog Inspiring Generosity and used with the author’s permission in the Leading Ideas publication from Lewis Center for Church Leadership.
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