The Church Communications Podcast
Episode 5 | Why the Follow Up is Crucial to Future Generosity (and what happens when you drop the ball)
Listen to this Episode
Do you remember to follow up with your givers? It’s easy to forget. Join us, hosts Katie Allred and Josh Taylor for this episode, in which we dive into five different ways you can follow up with the people who give at your church.
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Katie Allred: Welcome to the Church Communications Podcast, the podcast that celebrates church communicators that are around the world. Our podcast offers practical advice for your church communication strategy needs, and this podcast is brought to you by Katie Allred and Josh Taylor of churchcommunications.com.
Josh Taylor: Hey guys, welcome to the Church Communications Podcast. I am Josh Taylor and I’m here with Katie Allred.
Katie Allred: Hi.
Josh Taylor: Today, we’re going to be talking about why the followup is crucial to future generosity. So why should you follow up with those that are giving to your church on a regular basis?
Katie Allred: But also what happens if you drop the ball?
Josh Taylor: Oh, what’s at risk if you don’t followup?
Katie Allred: If you don’t do it.
Josh Taylor: Yeah.
Katie Allred: Okay, so we actually, today, we’ve decided we’re going to bring you five ways that you can follow up with givers, so five really practical, easy ways. So the first one is just to acknowledge the giver, to acknowledge the gifts. So be professional, prompt, and send them a receipt immediately.
Katie Allred: Now, most of the time if you are using a good giving software, this is super easy. It’s normally completely built in and it automatically sends that receipt. What I love about that is that you have something as the giver, you have something to immediately file away for your taxes, so that makes it super easy for you. But also it’s just very professional I think to make sure that you get receipts.
Josh Taylor: Yeah. This has made a big difference for us. We started doing this the last year that I was on staff at my last church because the software program that we were using, the Giving Software allowed us to do that and we could customize the letter. It doesn’t need to be a long letter. In fact, I would encourage you to make it a short email receipt just thanking them for giving, letting them know that you got it. I actually had people respond to me saying, “Hey, thanks so much for sending that.” And they noticed when they started getting them all of a sudden.
Katie Allred: So if you’re not doing giving receipts, what are you doing? It’s the 21st century. We should be having giving receipts at this point.
Josh Taylor: Yeah. It’s an easy way to follow up. It’s an easy way to let people know how thankful you are for their gift and to let them know that they got it so that everything went through right.
Katie Allred: Right. And illegally you are covered, so kapeesh? All right. So number two, appreciation. Just sending a handwritten note, especially to a first-time giver, which I think is huge. I’ve never received a a handwritten letter for my first-time gift at a church, but I feel like I would be super compelled to go back to that church if that was the case.
Josh Taylor: Well, this is is really great for the day that we live in because we’re so used to getting emails, we’re so used to getting junk mail. If we’re going to get mail in our mailbox, it’s going to be bills or people trying to sell us something. [inaudible 00:02:46] You’re pretty used to getting texts. We get really excited when we get a handwritten letter in the mail and we’re inclined to open it.
Josh Taylor: And so one, I would encourage you not only to write a handwritten letter and maybe just have one day a week where you and your staff sit down and write some notes to people.
Katie Allred: Yeah, write cards.
Josh Taylor: But hand write the address on the outside of it because it does make it stick out in the mailbox.
Katie Allred: Right. People open it.
Josh Taylor: People are more inclined to open it. Yeah. And so hand write that address. But I think that’s a very practical thing to do and probably a really effective thing.
Katie Allred: Yeah. And talk about where it’s going, where their gift is going to help. Like because of your gift, we were able to do this this week.
Josh Taylor: Yeah. Absolutely. One of the things that you can do also is maybe have one of your parish church partners or ministry missionaries write letters to some of your givers saying, “Thank you for supporting them because you support this church, we’re able to do this ministry because they’re big supporters of us.”
Katie Allred: Yeah. How cool would it be if you got a letter from Africa or something?
Josh Taylor: Thanking you for giving to your church because your church supports that mission.
Katie Allred: I don’t know. That’s pretty cool. I already got chills just thinking about that.
Josh Taylor: Yeah. I think it’s a really great way to do that.
Katie Allred: Okay, so number three, I would like your input on this. Just making a video version of the thank you. So recording individual videos and sending them via email to givers.
Josh Taylor: Yeah. I think this is something, especially for your senior leadership to do at your church. It’s something that you, again, just like writing notes, you could set a time, maybe a day, a month that you do a few of these. We’re so used to getting marketing emails that are just general and never personalized. Imagine if your folks got a email-
Katie Allred: A personalized one.
Josh Taylor: … I mean a video from your senior pastor.
Katie Allred: They would probably forward around. They would probably be like, “Hey, look what Jerry just sent me.” Right?
Josh Taylor: Yeah. They might share it or something like that.
Katie Allred: I’ve never … Yeah, especially if you go to a church with a large congregation where the pastor’s not as accessible. I think it’d be really neat just to have that pastor say, “Hey John, thank you for giving. We appreciate the $200 that we received in your tithe and we just want you to know we’re super thankful that your consistent with your giving.” I think that would be huge if they just took a moment of their time just to do those thank you’s, once a quarter even, you know?
Josh Taylor: Yeah. I think that goes a long way. I think it’s something that we maybe often take for granted. And one of the things that you just said in that was be specific. Call them by name, mention the amount that they gave because it doesn’t need to be a big amount. And I wouldn’t do this just for big givers, I would do this for-
Katie Allred: For everyone.
Josh Taylor: … for anybody that you can.
Katie Allred: Because how much would it encourage the ones who … You know what I’m saying, that this is a lot.
Josh Taylor: They’re giving what they can. Yeah.
Katie Allred: Right.
Josh Taylor: So I think that’s great. Be genuine about it. Obviously don’t try to be salesy with it or anything like that. Just the whole purpose of the video is saying thank you for investing in the ministry.
Katie Allred: Thank you for doing this because of that we get to do this.
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Katie Allred: Of course I do.
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Katie Allred: So at the church I worked at previously, we did do video thank yous, but they were very general, which I think are also good. So if you’re like, my pastor is never going to be in to this because we have a thousand givers or something. Which is great, congratulations. Still doing a video is really compelling and I feel always was super well received.
Katie Allred: So if you can just take the time to get your senior pastor to just give the vision of the church, right? Reinstating what the vision, where we’re going, who we are, and then why we’re giving, and where we’re going, I think is just super important. And just sitting down and doing a video I think would be that great.
Josh Taylor: Yep. Absolutely. So number four here is instead of just sending end-of-year giving statements once a year, consider maybe doing semi-annual statements, maybe once a quarter sending them out, because it gives people a bigger picture of what they’re giving. They can start to keep in their mind, here’s how we’re investing in the church. Maybe it’s a husband and wife that sit down and do their monthly budget or something like that, and maybe they look back at it and say, “You know what? I think we could give a little bit more this year. I think we could afford to increase our tithe a little bit.” Because they’re being reminded.
Josh Taylor: A lot of people have their giving auto drafted, and so it’s not even on their mind. It just automatically comes out and they don’t think about it. This is a way to get it back in front of them. For them to often revisit and say, “You know what, I got a raise last year. We should increase what we’re giving to the church.”
Katie Allred: Right? And so I think it’s just important that we just remember that annual statements may not be enough. Let’s think about how can we thank people on a quarterly basis, how can we thank them weekly basis, just for giving and being faithful in that way.
Josh Taylor: And then finally, a vision night for your givers, and this is all givers, anybody that’s giving to your church. Invite them to come up and say, “One as an appreciation, thank you so much for investing.” This might be your volunteers as well. “Thank you for investing your time.”
Katie Allred: Your time.
Josh Taylor: “Thank you for investing your finances.” And here’s what we’ve done and here’s where we’re going, and we want to encourage you to continue to be a part of our ministry by investing your time and your resources into what we’re doing.
Katie Allred: I think this is great. This would be a great time for you to make an annual report for your church, right? And to give the annual report to maybe make a vision book or something like that about where you’re going, where the money’s coming, making an infographic like we talked about previously. Just being able to share that information in a way that people can walk away with something in their hand, I think is also very good, so that they can physically see, my giving went to this and that’s what it’s accomplishing.
Josh Taylor: Yeah. I think anytime we have a chance to get in front of people and remind them how grateful that we are that they’re investing, how encouraged that we are that they’re being obedient with our resources that God has given them. I think that’s so much more effective than just always inviting people to give. I think having that grateful heart and showing that and displaying that and being genuine about it is really an effective way. So any of these ways gives you an opportunity to do that and get in front of people and show that gratitude to them.
Katie Allred: So let’s just recap. Okay. So our five ways to follow up is to acknowledge the gift. Okay. To send a receipt immediately, to appreciate the gift with a handwritten note of some sort, especially with a first-time giver. A video version of the gift, right, so if you can do a video thanking the entire congregation or thanking that individual, that would be amazing. Sending annual statements, but also sending quarterly statements, I think is also really important. Just explaining, again, the vision of the church and why we’re doing this. And then also five, doing just a vision night for your givers, explaining the vision of the church and why they’re giving.
Josh Taylor: Yeah, that’s great. Very practical.
Katie Allred: Yeah. I think this has been a fun episode. So if you want to, you can find us at churchcommunications.com. You can also find us in the Church Communications Facebook group. Leave us some comments. Tell us some ways that you thank your givers. We would love to know more if you have something really special, maybe you send them rubber ducks or something in the mail. Who knows? I would to love to hear if there’s something unique that you do that has worked really well for your congregation. Thanks for joining us.
Josh Taylor: Bye.
Katie Allred: All your friends at Kindrid are being crazy generous. If you tweet @_kindrid, again, that is @ underscore K-I-N-D-R-I-D, _kindrid, and tell them why you need a church app, they’ll make sure you get one of those too, for free. Okay? Did you hear that? Online giving and a church app for free. Just tweet @_kindrid and tell them why need the church app. Go do it now. What are you waiting for?
Josh Taylor: Hey, thanks for listening to the Church Communications Podcast with Katie Allred and myself, Josh Taylor. If you like our show and want to know more about us, check out our website, churchcommunications.com. You can also join us on our Facebook group. Just search for Church Communications on Facebook and we would love you to leave a five-star review on iTunes.