The Generosity Lane: Using Gratitude to Increase Generosity

The Generosity Lane: Using Gratitude to Increase Generosity

What do you do on Monday after Easter? The tendency after Easter is to pass out on the couch to rest up. Yet, if you want to keep your giving tank full, you must continually think about your generosity lanes. I’m continuing my series on the key generosity lanes you need to increase giving and givers. This Coach is about The Generosity Lane: Using Gratitude to Increase Generosity.

The days after Easter are key to finalizing a successful Easter offering. My goal for the Easter offering is to raise a significant amount of money and to see new donors begin their generosity journey. Studies show that “A thank you call from a Board Member to a newly acquired donor within 24 hours will increase their next gift by 39%.”1. What would be the impact of the Senior Pastor reaching out to new donors? This Coach will show you how.

A few years ago, I devised five key post-Easter strategies. Let me share those with you with an emphasis on gratitude. Here are the five steps I recommend you take on the Monday after Easter.

Rejoice. Take a breath and simply thank God for what happened. Forget about the numbers. Forget about the stress. Focus on what you can rejoice over. What can you take away from Easter as a positive experience to rejoice over?

Reflect and Review. What went well this weekend? What needs improvement? Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes; learn from them to better yourself next time.

Reach out (in gratitude.) I know you are tired but let me encourage you to do one last Easter offering-related thing – thank your donors. I believe you should thank your faithful donors for continuing to support the work your church is doing. Without their generosity, you would not have been able to hold the Easter you did. Is there someone who needs a personal word of thanks? Reach out to them. Don’t forget all those first-time donors who gave to your church on Easter.

Here are four reasons why you need a first-time giver plan.

First, it shows you value their gift and that they are not simply another number. Few people ever show true gratitude. Do you say thank you enough when it comes to your donors?

Second, it sets you apart from the crowd. Saying thank you is one of the biggest overlooked needs for churches. Charities outdo churches in saying thank you. Let’s change that.

Third, since you continually lose donors, you must add new donors every year. We track church giving, and most average anywhere from a 15% to 20% loss in givers every year. You must have a larger front door than your back door to stay fully funded.

Fourth, it paves the way for the next gift! Your thank you note, letter, call, or text builds a bridge to the next “ask.”

How can you build your Gratitude Lane? Here is what I recommend as an ongoing strategy for expressing thanks to your donors. Start by publicly thanking donors all the time. From your offering time to social media, you should regularly express thanks to those who give. Here are a few other ideas.

  • Write up-to-date automated thank you notes for your online giving receipts. For more ideas on how to do this, see my blog post at
  • Write periodic notes to your top donors in your own handwriting expressing your thanks. I leave it to you to decide what percentage or amount generates a thank you note. I would suggest that you at least consider your top fifteen percent.
  • Write a note of thanks to all your first-time donors. I have a follower who typically runs around 1,500 each weekend, yet he writes a personal handwritten note to all who give for the first time, thanking them for their gift.
  • Make sure every appeal expresses thanks for past gifts and consideration for giving in response to your appeal. We are always looking for the next gift. For more practical advice on showing gratitude, see the Bonus Section.

The bottom line is to be thankful and express thanks to those who give to your church. They help fuel the missions and ministries you do. It takes very little effort to say thanks, but the return on that is enormous. Find regular and creative ways to express your appreciation to your donors, and the time you invest will bring a harvest. Check out the Bonus Section for more information on building a Gratitude Lane.

Oh, and let me share with you the final two points of my five-point post-Easter strategy…

Reboot for summer. Easter is over. Now is the time to start planning out your summer giving initiative. You know summer is always a challenging time for giving, so plan ahead of time so that you can be fully funded.

Relax. Get some rest and relaxation. The best always know how to rest and relax. Your year is not done, and there is a lot more work to be done. There is another sermon to preach, another committee meeting to attend, another… You can’t be at your best if you are worn out. Jesus often withdrew from the crowd, so why don’t you? Turn off the cell phone. Don’t look at your email. Disconnect. Take a walk with your spouse. Go play golf or hike the mountains. My point is that you need to relax. You can’t replay Easter. You can only keep moving forward. These five keys can and will help you navigate the week after Easter. And by showing gratitude, you will pave the way towards fully funding your summer initiatives.

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach

1., the leading online giving processor in America, sponsors my writing. OG is owned and operated by committed Christians active in their local church. Find out more about their services at You can also read the blog post I wrote for them at

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