Writing even a simple church donation letter can be a struggle.
Perhaps that’s because we know how important it is. With one short letter, we want people to understand how they’ve made a difference and look forward to what’s ahead.
And perhaps it’s because many of us carry over the knowledge that writing a personal “thank you” card (or letter) is supposed to say more than “thank you.” It’s supposed to say why, specifically, we’re thankful for what we got and how we plan to use it.
Writing a letter to thank givers for their donations to your church is quite similar—except (good news!) you never need to stare at a blank page wondering what to fill it with.
Keep reading for easy-to-follow instructions for how to write a church donation letter, sample thank-you letters for donations to your church, and other tips.
In just a few minutes, come away with a thank-you letter that feels warm and genuine rather than frosty and forced. Plus, have a handy template you can confidently return to in the coming years.
What to say in a church donation letter
The below foundational elements will serve you well. You can rearrange them in a way that feels natural, but make sure they’re all there!
Include your church’s mission statement word for word if it fits well, but feel free to paraphrase or summarize it if that works better. The most important thing is to remind those who gave what’s at the heart of everything you do.
How donations help further mission
A bare-bones list of needs that have been fulfilled or needs you currently have doesn’t go far. To have an effect, everything needs to be tied to mission.
For example, reading “We purchased new playground equipment” by itself likely won’t make people feel motivated to give or happy to have given. But something like this brings more of a reaction:
“Because of your gifts, we were able to purchase new playground equipment. Now members’ and visitors’ children can get some energy out, build friendships, and make good memories here at church.”
People don’t talk about numbers, in general. They talk about stories. So while you can include numbers (like how many people were baptized, how many joined the church, how many missionaries were supported), don’t stop there.
Include a moving story; just a few sentences will do. People likely won’t remember the numbers, but they’ll remember the story.
Share where you’re headed—how you’ll accomplish your mission. This reminds people that the good work isn’t done yet. There’s more on the horizon! (And, incidentally, more opportunity to give.)
If your donation thank-you letter is also mentioning a giving goal underway now or to be undertaken soon, include both the goal and the deadline for that goal so that people can better understand what’s ahead and plan their giving.
Your thank you can come at the beginning and at the end; it’s something worth repeating.
For more on all the elements above, head over to How to Write a Great Donor Thank-You Letter.
What to avoid in a church donation letter
Now that you know what to include, take a look at a couple of things that are better left out.
You want your letter to read like something your pastor would say out loud, to echo the normal words and patterns used in sermons and announcements. Without a conversational tone, even moving stories become less moving.
As many have learned when it comes to tasty food, you can have too much of a good thing. While you want to give updates tied to your mission and tell a moving story or two, you don’t want to include every update and story after story after story. You can save those for future letters, church newsletters, emails, etc.
One page is a safe length to aim for. It’s long enough to say something, but not so long people get tired of reading and choose to only skim.
A sermon about giving
Think of this letter’s audience as people who already understand why they should give and want to be generous. You could add a verse or two or a small thought about stewardship, but save the rest for Sunday.
Related: Want to preach about generosity? Check out this free generosity sermon kit. (It covers more than just money.)
How to deal with tithe/giving tax statements
There are two frequently used options for including all the contribution information needed for taxes in a thank-you letter:
- Include the information in the letter itself.
- Include the information in a separate document, with a P. S. directing people to the enclosure.
Since this is a letter that should read conversationally and focus on mission, vision, story, etc., our recommendation would be to use the second method. This keeps the focus from being broken up by monetary details and helps make sure people don’t miss this important tax information.
Example church donation letters
Template 1: donation letter with a giving goal
Thank you. Thank you for supporting [church name] through your prayers, and thank you for supporting us through your giving.
We’re on a mission to lovingly share Christ with our community and the world. Because of your gifts, we’ve been able to support missionaries in [number of countries], hold [number of outreaches] outreaches, and keep our church building a comfortable, inviting sanctuary.
So many lives have been changed this year.
As you might have noticed, we’ve been growing! And we’ve been helping others grow. I think of our substance abuse recovery program. . . . Of Jerry, who joined us on a Friday night not as much because he wanted to as because the court ordered it. Of how Jerry came to know Jesus and his new radiant joy you can’t help but notice . . . how Jerry has now joined us as a faithful member. He lost his family due to drug addiction, but now he has a new family in Christ.
As we move into this year, we’ll continue our ministries and crack open the doors to something exciting—our new building project. I like to think of it as our “love project” because we love people, and our building project will help us to serve more of them.
With more space, we can bring more children in to hear the gospel, continue to grow our body, and be better prepared for where the Lord leads us to minister next. Our goal is to raise [amount] by [deadline]. Will you help?
My sincere thanks for taking from what God has given you and sharing it with us.
May you be richly blessed.
Template 2: donation letter without a giving goal
You’ve done something tremendously important. Can you think of what it is?
You’ve contributed financially to the work of the Lord through [church name]. Thank you!
Our mission is to love God and love others through sharing the gospel and growing each other in Christ. Because of your gift, we’ve been able to accomplish that mission in exciting ways.
Here are just a few:
• Connected with [number of] people in our community at our fall event.
• Helped missionary John Isaacs in Pakistan serve his growing church through buying him a desperately needed new laptop.
• Provided Philippine children with food and clothing as Subic Bay Children’s Home nourishes their bodies and souls.
One powerful story of how God worked this year comes from Josh and Courtney Gibbons, members in our church. Josh and Courtney moved across town and soon met their new neighbor. They prayed for her and got to know her, and when her abusive boyfriend left with many of her possessions, Josh and Courtney asked their small group to help this woman get back on her feet. This small group raised $1,500 to pay two months’ rent, and a couple in the group donated their old car so she could get to work. This young woman is coming regularly to Bible studies and expressing sincere interest in becoming a Christian!
We so look forward to seeing more lives changed in this way and continuing to serve the Lord together. Who can tell how he’ll use us next?
A heartfelt thank you for your generous giving. May you be richly blessed.
Tips for increasing the letter’s visibility
Print and mail this letter out—yes, snail mail—even to younger people in your congregation. Since so few people send letters anymore, it will stand out.
- If you have a small church, you may want to consider hand writing the recipient’s address so it feels even more personal.
- Alternatively, use a colored envelope matching your church’s brand colors if the budget allows so the envelope stands out among a sea of white credit-card offer envelopes.
Also send an email version of the letter.
- Include a clear subject line like “Your donation this year: thank you!” so people realize it’s not a general update or thank you.
- You can keep the content exactly the same as in the printed version or adjust it. For example, shorten it, add bullet points, and/or add images.
- Consider adding a thank-you video from the pastor with something like BombBomb.
- Also consider linking to videos of your missionaries, special events, etc. as a way to reinforce your message and make the email more unique from your letter.
- You could also link to your church’s online giving so people can see their giving history, set up a recurring gift, make a donation, etc.
Tip: A good church management software can make gathering everyone’s addresses and printing quicker than a run down to the grocery store for more coffee. Same goes for emailing! Send an email to everyone who’s donated with a click.
If your church is still looking for an easy way for givers to practice generosity anywhere, anytime, get started with Faithlife Giving, included with Servant Keeper church management software from Faithlife.