It’s April and most of us have finished, or are in the process of completing, our annual tax returns for CRA. That includes putting together our tax receipts that we accumulated over the past year. Recently, I received a tax receipt for a donation I made to a parish in an envelope but that was it. No note accompanied it. No letter of thank you. And, I began to wonder if the donation was really appreciated.
I was reminded of this when I read a blog by Lori Guenther Reesor, a former pastor and consultant on church and money matters. She wrote:
If Matthew, a twenty-something male, makes an online donation to your church, what happens next? Generosity demonstrates trust. Matthew is telling you that he trusts your church enough to make a financial gift. There’s many, many voices calling for his money. He chose to give the church. That’s a big deal.I recently attended a faith and finance webinar hosted by the Rev. Dr. Sidney S. Williams Jr. Panelists reminded us that “even Starbucks says thank-you!”
Ms Reesor goes on to suggest that such a gift to your church is a mission opportunity. “Silence makes a poor vehicle for gratitude. How does your church welcome first-time givers like Matthew? Sadly, a tax receipt mailed months later does not count here.”
Could someone message Matthew to say thank you for his gift? Now’s the time to share the good news of what God is doing through your church. Are seniors getting phone calls? Virtual Bible studies? The church has an opportunity to gratefully respond to the trust Matthew has demonstrated. Generosity demonstrates trust, and how the church responds to generosity is a mission opportunity.
I am reminded constantly that there are some 80,000 plus charities in Canada, and many of them are knocking on doors, mailing, and emailing requests for funds and using whatever means possible to get their message out to you, the public. And many of them are very successful at doing it.
And, as we have been saying for years, if we don’t ask our faithful parishioners to contribute weekly, monthly, or yearly or even to consider leaving a planned gift, then you can be assured that some other organization is doing it. And, when we do receive a gift, we must sincerely thank donors and ensure them that the donation is greatly needed and much appreciated.
In conclusion, please bear in mind the words of New York writer Cynthia Ozick who wrote: ” We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” So please, let’s not miss an opportunity to show our gratitude but instead make it a mission opportunity.