AMP UP Your “Thank You” Process

by Trent Dunham, President

At Dunham+Company we come alongside churches, ministries, and kingdom-focused nonprofit organizations to help them bridge the gap between the great work they accomplish today and even more impact that is absolutely possible.

Together, we examine both the simple and the complex integrated components of its team, tools, and technologies to effectively communicate mission and engage supporters that fuel your good work through what is often called “fund development.”

Fund development is the spiritual discipline God has established to move the hearts of His people to become wholly His. Our job, both yours and mine, is simply to come alongside Him in that process.

Developing a generous culture among your constituency involves the psychological fundamentals of philanthropy as well as implementing tactical best practices to release the generosity of your supporters.

We need to amp up our “Thank You” process!

In the nonprofit sector, one of the things we focus on intently is donor care. In other words, how we steward the relationships of the people who are financially invested in our mission. Sadly, many churches and ministries do a poor job of saying “thank you.” Just because there’s a scriptural directive for Christians to give or tithe, that shouldn’t keep us from honoring supporters for their faithfulness.

I believe that this process can be simple, but it begins with the intention of developing an ‘attitude of gratitude’ throughout the organization at every level.

It’s the small things, applied intentionally and with discipline that’ll go a long way.

Turn up the volume of your gratitude (and donor response) with these three proven expressions of your thanks:

• Send handwritten thank-you notes. Equip staff with a list of generous supporters each month that they are empowered to send brief and meaningful “thank you” notes to.  This reinforces the relationship donors have with the organization’s mission and team.

• Make outbound thank-you calls. Allow staff and volunteers to reach out with the simple message of gratitude, and perhaps an offer to pray together over the things on the donor’s heart. Whether a conversation ensues or simply a nice voice message is left, the effort won’t go unnoticed.

• Send receipts/giving statements. As a church or ministry, ideally you’ll be able to provide quarterly (good) or monthly statements (better) to your donors. Sending supporters an accounting of their generosity year-to-date demonstrates that you’re aware of their valued partnership and provides another touch point for you to express both your appreciation and share about the impact being accomplished through their support.

As a nonprofit, you should be sending a receipt for every gift given to your organization (online and offline), with the exception of your monthly donors who should have a different receipting strategy. This discipline will result in greater donor awareness and ultimately more regular giving from them as well.

Adding one or more of these ideas to your organization’s relationship fund development efforts accomplishes more than inspiring increased giving – which it will. It also supports a healthy culture and the generosity of spirit within the organization.

Thank you for being on the front lines of such meaningful and important work!


More Insights from Dunham+Company: “A Winning Commitment to the “Long Game”‘

More Insights from Dunham Institute: “Creating a Generous Church Culture”