While some traditions deserve to fade away, you can help make sure that the practice of writing thank you notes for gifts and kind acts live on for years. We know that the delivery mode may change as people turn to texting and direct messaging, but it's still the act of giving thanks that counts.
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While there are many articles online regarding thank you note etiquette, this article will focus on a specific group: those writing a church thank you letter.
We will also include an example of a thank you note written to a minister. Ministers deserve a lot of thanks because they often carry their congregation members' burdens on their shoulders. They spend their lives counseling people through tragedies, and it is both mentally and physically exhausting.
Here are some steps for writing a thank you note, along with some samples.
Steps for Writing a Thank You Letter from a Church
You might need to write a thank you letter from a church for many reasons. Your church may receive donations from local businesses to help run children's events and you may want to thank the business owner for the contribution. You may also write a thank you note to individuals who donate to a memorial fund set up in memory of a deceased person. You may also want to thank members of your congregation who went above and beyond to complete a noteworthy project.
Here are some steps for writing thank you notes that may assist people writing from a church or any other organization.
1. Address the note to a specific person.
If possible, address your thank you note to a specific person responsible for the gift, kind act, or donation. You may have to do a little research to find the person's name if you need to thank someone from a business or organization.
At times, it may be appropriate to write a thank you to a familial group: "The Smith Family" or "Stan and Sally Smith and Family."
2. Specifically state why you are giving thanks.
Unless it can't be helped, thank you notes should be individualized. While it's easier to send a form letter, personalized thank you notes stand out from others.
Write that you are giving thanks for a "monetary contribution" or a "candy donation." Thank someone for volunteering to clean the church or for organizing a fundraising campaign.
If the thank you note also acts as a tax document, you may want to include the following line: "May this letter be used as a receipt of your donation, for which you did not receive anything in return."
2. Write from the heart.
The best thank you notes come from the heart. They tell the recipient why their gift, contribution, or act was important to you or the organization. Even though you write on behalf of an entity, this doesn't mean that you can't include your own thoughts and feelings.
Writing from the heart will make the thank you note feel less like a form letter. Most people value the personal relationships that they grow when attending a church. Writing a personalized thank you note is another opportunity to form those bonds.
3. You may want to incorporate tax donation information with the thank you note.
The recipient of your letter may receive tax benefits as a result of the contribution they made to your organization. You may consider giving them the information they would need to disclose to the IRS with the thank you note. Of course, you may also consider writing a note and including the tax information on a different piece of paper or email attachment.
4. Send the thank you note out on time.
While some etiquette guides give you appropriate deadlines for sending thank you notes, others say that you should send them "as soon as possible." While you should send some forms of communication (such as a condolence email to a client) within days of an event, you may have a little more leeway with thank you notes.
5. Consider handwriting the note.
Handwritten notes are rare. This means that they stand out more from other written communication. You probably have noticed this from your own personal experiences. When you get the mail, you may find yourself pausing at a handwritten envelope. This makes you feel that the letter is personal.
Sample Thank You Letters From a Church
While it is helpful to read tips on how to write a specific type of correspondence, it's even more useful to look at examples. Here are some thank you notes to offer you inspiration as you write your own.
As you can see from our examples, you might want to bless the recipient with a well-chosen Bible verse when writing the note. The verse can be related to giving or living thankfully. You may also want to include a verse that describes the mission of your church.
Sample thank you for donation or financial support letter
On behalf of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, I would like to thank you for your generous contribution to St. Matthew’s Vacation Bible School fund. Each year, our VBS brings in hundreds of children from the community. During the week, they learn about the love of Jesus and the hope of salvation.
We could not host this event each year without the financial support from our members. Your donation of $800 paid for the yummy snacks the children and volunteers enjoyed for the entire week.
Thank you again for your support of this vital ministry. Your contribution helps us fulfill one of Jesus' commands from the Book of Matthew. "Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" Matthew 19:14.
Sample thank you letter for volunteers
How can we thank you enough for the hours you spent planning and organizing this year's St. Matthew’s Vacation Bible School? It was a tremendous event, and we broke last year's attendance records!
Even though you made it seem easy, we know how much time you spent planning the event and instructing volunteers. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes work, and we know you spent weeks going over every detail.
Because of you, hundreds of children in our community were able to hear about the love of God — some for the very first time. We had 15 new families attend church on Sunday because of this outreach event.
Thank you for helping us fulfill part of the great commission found in Matthew 28:19-20: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Sample thank you letter to a pastor
Dear Pastor Frank,
On behalf of our entire family, I would like to thank you for all you have done for us this last year. Your weekly visits always brought a smile to Mom's face, no matter how she felt that day. We appreciate you visiting Mom in the hospital, bringing communion, and praying with all of us.
Of course, we can't thank you enough for all the support you gave us during the last week of Mom's life. It brought us great comfort having you near when Mom breathed her last. Having you there helped Mom have a peaceful transition.
It also gave us peace knowing that you would officiate the funeral. Your eulogy was spot-on, as you were able to articulate the characteristics of Mom that made her special.
How can we thank you enough, Pastor Frank? You have helped our entire family get through the most challenging year of our lives, and we will be grateful forever.
Spread Joy to the World by Offering Thanks
Even though many people do kind acts without the promise of receiving anything in return, most people appreciate being thanked. It makes people feel good to be recognized for their generosity.
That's why taking the time to write a heartfelt thank you note is important. This simple act that doesn't cost anything but time spreads joy to the world.
What other ways can your words spread joy? Why not write letters of appreciation to your children's teachers or heartfelt condolence letters? Don’t stop there. Also write letters to your parents, siblings, grandchildren, children, and spouse. People keep these letters forever.