Heh, you. Ministry fundraiser. All donors want for Christmas is information.

This past week, my husband and I received a letter from a Mennonite college where, in partnership with his parents, we established an endowed scholarship in their names. The missive was signed by the student senate president and referenced ways the school has contributed to his educational, professional, and spiritual development.

All of which was nice. But it was the paragraph identifying “our” scholarship student – a Basinger, no less (not a relative) – that got my attention and my heart. It wasn’t much, just the student’s name and home town. But the letter delivered one of the best gifts I’ll receive this Christmas. It brought me information.

question_inside_7444AFTER THE GIFT, THEN WHAT?

It is an ongoing disappointment to me (and many others) that so few ministry organizations take time to fill donors in on more of the stories in support of which they gave a gift. After the initial (often cursory) thank you, organizations are on to the next thing and the next ask. Donors are left to figure out for themselves the good that’s been accomplished by their giving.

And that’s too bad. As Thom Jeavons and I wrote in Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry:

A piece of a person’s heart accompanies every contribution. It is essential that organizations honor this gift of self on par with the much-needed cash. It’s more than just money that people are giving. It’s part of their life. They work hard to earn what we are asking them to give away. All too often, however, fundraising appeals from ministries and other charities give priority to the needs of the organization over needs/wants of the givers’ hearts.

Especially when the goal is to help create channels through which God’s love and joy can flow, the more of the story we tell, the better.

So ministry fundraisers, put away the poinsettia, calendars, CDs, and other bric-a-brac. Package up some information instead. Your donors may not have told you, but I guarantee that what they want most from you is assurance their gifts have helped accomplish what you said they would.

Information that illustrates gifts at work is the most valued premium you can give the dear ones who support your good cause. In fact, it’s all they want from you at Christmas (and all year round).

For more on information-rich thank yous, see:

Tips for perfecting your thank you

What part of thank you don’t you understand?


  1. johnwpearson says:


  2. I really appreciate this simple and profound message. Thanks Rebekah.

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