‘Twas the start of the new year, no jingle bells in sight,
With each mall Santa gone home, and trees without lights.
Now, year-end giving letters evoke angst and dread,
Hanging ever menacingly o’er church leaders’ heads.
But they don’t have to! This year, instead of seeing your giving statements as a necessary nuisance casting a cloud over January, try to think of your end-of-year tax statements as not only easy to create but also an incredibly strategic opportunity for your church.
As a leader, we recognize you – understatedly – have a lot to do. Not only are you responsible for the daily care of your congregation, but you also deal with unexpected life moments that require your full energy and attention.
Even though your annual giving statement isn’t as exciting as preparing a Christmas service, sharing the spotlight with the giving conversation in your church to express sincere gratitude to your givers is HUGE.
Because really, without the generosity of your congregants, there wouldn’t be an exciting Christmas service to prepare.
So as you prepare your annual giving statement for your donors, we recommend reading Generis’ ebook to walk you through the important steps that will engage your givers, open their hearts, and help them develop deeper roots in their church engagement.
Engaging the hearts of your donors will not only align them to the mission of your church, but it will foster their passion for giving while reaffirming their belief that giving to your church is an investment in ministry.
And personalizing your annual giving statements – while potentially time consuming – is well worth the effort to demonstrate a spirit of gratitude – and will go a long way in letting your givers know exactly how invaluable their generosity is and how an integral a part of your church’s ministry it truly is.
It should go without saying, but what you write in this correspondence is critical. Anyone can write a legal tax statement, but only those with farsighted vision know that the ultimate goal of engaging the heart of the giver is paramount – and worth every extra effort.
Ask yourself these questions as you draft your letters:
1. Does your year-end giving statement communicate a professionalism that fosters trust?
For example, a grammatical or spelling oversight could indicate to the recipient that such a lack of attention to detail could apply to the rest of your church. But when your tax statement is spell-checked and thoughtfully formatted, it creates a sense of professionalism that can help donors feel confident their gifts are being put to good use.
It also shows every gift the donor gave, giving them confidence that their contributions were received and that the total giving amount is correct.
As humans, we develop loyalty and trust towards certain brands. Your statement is an opportunity to increase brand loyalty toward your church. Your logo and contact information should be presented as it would be on any other communication from your church. Your year-end giving statement should take advantage of your donor’s existing brand loyalty by intentionally branding your statement in a way that’s consistent.
3. Does your year-end giving statement communicate your sincere gratitude?
While it’s true that your year-end statement is a legal document used for tax purposes, it’s still being read by people who have chosen to give their hard-earned money to your organization – and shouldn’t simply read as a transactional financial statement. People who don’t feel their efforts are appreciated will likely not repeat those efforts – especially when those efforts are the result of uncomfortable generosity.
PRO TIP: Your gratitude is even more impactful when the letter is from the pastor and not ‘from the church.’
4. Does your year-end giving statement communicate your vision?
Your year-end giving statement is your opportunity to (re-)cast your vision – sharing anything about the bigger picture that their generosity will help the church achieve. People need to be reminded of your vision because without constant reminders, it’s easy to forget how gifts help achieve that vision. Your letter reminds people how their generosity got your church to where it is today – and where their gifts will take the church tomorrow.
When people are excited about what their church is accomplishing, they’ll become involved in what’s happening – and want to become part of something greater than the sum of its parts.
Your year-end giving statement is an incredible opportunity to reignite the passion and faith that inspired your congregants’ generosity.
It’s an opportunity to take a legally obligatory correspondence – one they have to read and keep for filing taxes – and turn it into a means of thanking them for their sacrificial giving. You have a captive audience – use it to express your deepest gratitude to those who have stood beside you in faith all year long.
The Annual Giving Statement should not be just an administrative task, it is an opportunity to normalize the giving conversation in your church. We've teamed up with Generis to create "Annual Giving Statements" to help you surprise and delight your givers this year with an excellent annual giving statement strategy. Download it here.