A lot of churches get a nice year-end bump in their finances.
During the Christmas season even casual attenders come to church more often, churches hold annual events like Christmas Bazaars that bring in funds, and the week of Christmas often attracts huge crowds – and offerings to match.
But not all churches experience this.
Many churches (like every one I’ve ever pastored) either stay flat or they experience a financial downturn at the end of the year.
Several years ago, I discovered a simple idea that helps our church members plan their giving better, and gives our church finances a healthy year-end bump.
A Reminder While There’s Still Time To Catch Up
In late autumn we send out a short letter to every regular giver, with a “thank you” for their faithfulness and a record of what they’ve given so far.
This simple practice is a great way to thank everyone for their generosity, while providing a helpful reminder before it’s too late to make up for any unintentional shortfall for the calendar year.
In previous years, the only time we thanked or reminded people of their giving was in late January when we sent the giving report for the previous year. The problem with this timing was two-fold.
First, the “thank you” didn’t feel as sincere because it was attached to a notice we were legally required to send them, anyway.
Second, if they hadn’t given as much as they intended, the year was already over, so they couldn’t make up their shortfall.
When the church sends a thank you and a financial report in October or November, the thank you feels more genuine and the reminder is very helpful.
What’s In The Letter?
So, what does this letter look like? It’s simple.
First, we use the church’s financial software to print up a copy of their giving for the year-to-date. Then we write a cover letter with a thank you from the pastor and an explanation of why they’re receiving it.
Here’s an example of a cover letter from a previous year:
Hello (recipient’s name),
As the calendar year draws to a close, I want to take a moment to thank you for your faithfulness in giving to the ministries of (church name) this year.
The Lord did so much in our church body in (year), and your faithfulness – including your financial giving – has contributed to that. We are truly grateful.