Did you thank your donors this year? If so, was it from your point of view or theirs?

It is likely donors received several communications about the receipt of their gift.  An email may have said thanks, an online automated confirmation was sent, a letter for tax purposes confirmed the value of the gift, and perhaps a thank you message was delivered at all parishes during Mass.

These messages frequently focus on the amount of a gift and the collective size of the contributions made. But donors didn’t give to help create a larger pile of money. They give in order to make a difference.

’Tis the season to share what was accomplished.

Think of it in terms of your own experience. Doesn’t “Dear Grandma and Grandpa, thank you for your generous Christmas gift. I was able to use it, along with my own savings, to buy that Red Ryder I always wanted!” resonate differently than “Thanks for the Christmas check, I appreciate it.”?

Now is the time to say thanks with the same passion and vigor that was involved in soliciting the gifts. Fortunately, as with solicitations, there are a number of ways to share the results:

1. Use space on the diocesan website to celebrate what was done with the funds received. Don’t let donors assume. Rather, let them know how they helped meet needs through ministries of the Church.

2. Plan calls of thanks to donors. Even with so many calls going to voicemail, a personal outreach sharing the impact will make a difference.

3. Adjust your acknowledgment letters to include what is being accomplished.

4. Consider asking parishes to include a message of thanks that highlights achievements in the parish bulletin during Advent.

5. Use diocesan publications to feature a sample of missions and the way they are supported through stewardship, allowing the story to be fully told.

Some may be concerned that being specific will imply a restricted use of the funds donated. This is not the case. Rather, it is just one example out of many. And you can further explain the impact of their unrestricted gift toward general needs as outlined in the case for support.

An educated donor is a lasting donor. They are more likely to consider what they can do in the future if they know how they impacted lives with the current gift.

Remember, to the donor, it’s not always about the Benjamins. Instead, it’s about the Bens, or the Marias, or the many others in need who their support helps. That’s what matters.

From all of us at GP Catholic Services, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We look forward to continuing to work with you in 2020 to elevate philanthropy in our Church.