Two Common Donation Downfalls

Two Common Donation Downfalls

In my twenty-five years as a stewardship coach, I have found that there are two common downfalls that churches run into when it comes to donations: taking their donors for granted and failing to thank them. I am often amazed at how poor the average church is at simply expressing appreciation to donors who foot the bill for all the church does.

A few years back, my wife, who supports Smile Train, came into my office with a letter asking if I wanted to see how non-profits treated their donors. She held a nice card with a very simple note that thanked her for her support. It included glossy pictures of children the group had helped because of her gifts. While I cannot say that she continues to give because they showed gratitude for her gift, it nonetheless did not hurt. It pointed out the two common downfalls in how churches approach giving.

Here are the two common downfalls, two lessons to learn, and practical ways to combat these mistakes.

Downfall Number One: Taking donors for granted. Too many churches assume that members will give. Of course, your members are supposed to give. Of course, it is a biblical requirement. Of course, it is our obligation. You, however, should not take that for granted.

Forty-seven years ago, my wife married me. We were teenagers who thought they were grown up. Marrying that young, my wife had to love me despite all my faults. As Christians, we understand that we are obligated to love one another. Yet it would be a tragic mistake if I did not continually tell her I love her and work to show her, by my actions, that I love her. I assume she loves me. But I will never take her love for granted.

When I was a Senior Pastor, a man came to see me and explain why he and his wife were leaving our church. He had come to know Christ while listening to me preach one Sunday. I was stunned. His reasoning further stunned me when he said, “You never tell this congregation that you love us.” Of course, I loved them! I had, however, made a cardinal error. I had assumed that they knew I loved them. Assumption is a nasty disease that will hurt you.

Lesson Number One: Don’t take your members’ donations for granted!

How do you practically put that into action? By continually talking about the impact of your missions and ministry across all your platforms, linking giving to that work. Don’t be shy about appealing to give, as those gifts fuel your work for the Kingdom. Showing what God is doing in your midst is the best way to see an increase in giving.

Here is a post that shares more specifics on this, Then work to avoid…

Downfall Number Two: Never saying thank you. Have you ever held a door open for someone, and they never thanked you but breezed through like you were supposed to hold the door? How did it make you feel? It probably caused you to be slightly indignant. It might have even made you question ever holding open another door.

If you never acknowledge the donations made by your members, you give them the same misgivings. Never saying thank you is much akin to taking donors for granted. Together they can combine to make a one-two knockout punch to your ministry.

Lesson Number Two: Continually thank your donors! Here are a couple of posts related to thinking about your donors and how our platform makes this easy and effective:

I wonder how many gifts are lost because we take for granted that people will give, and then when they do give, we never say thank you. Don’t make these mistakes in your ministry.

What is wrong with saying thank you? Everyone appreciates being appreciated.

Here are some thoughts on giving your donors thanks and appreciation.

  • Write a personal note to your most significant donors simply saying thank you.
  • Consider sending a small book as a token of appreciation. You might sign the copy with a word of thanks for their support.
  • Make sure in all your giving receipts to all donors you express thanks for their gift, no matter how small. Our platform makes this automated and easy! We also let you customize the message, making receipts powerful tools for motivating more giving.
  • When significant gifts come in, write a personalized note expressing thanks for what their gift means for accomplishing ministry.
  • Periodically during the offering, spend time telling what gifts to your church accomplish and thank those that give.
  • Use your social media platforms to share your stories of Kingdom work and thank your donors for making this possible. Americans spend hours daily on social media, so why not use that to show gratitude and thanks to your donors?

By taking the time and effort to show gratitude and thanks to your donors, you will help move them to be life-long donors to your ministry. For a demonstration, contact us at (615) 206-4000 or email us at Let us show you how our platform, systems, and tools can help you avoid these two common downfalls!

Written by Mark Brooks
The Stewardship Coach

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