It's April: the month when many churches prepare and send quarterly statements, or giving records, to their pledging households. In regular times, your church may send an email, sent with the push of a button, or a mailed statement. These are not regular times. But it's more important than ever to keep communicating with parishioners, and that includes practical matters like quarterly statements.
Especially quarterly statements! Don’t fall prey to the urge to put this off to a later date. It’s too important, especially when our church doors are closed, and the offering plates are virtual. A statement is a reminder and can also serve as a thank you, connecting parishioners with the church's ongoing ministry through an acknowledgment of their pledge support.
If your church does not typically send out a quarterly statement this month or next – now’s the time to start. Keep in mind:
- Entropy is your enemy. The internet is full of "what day is it?" memes, for good reason. In the shutdown, we're losing a sense of order and predictability. We don't want the practice of making regular pledge payments to fall by the wayside along with so many other schedules and habits. It's both courtesy and common sense to share with parishioners a record of their giving so far this year, and by doing so we support and encourage keeping to a regular pledge payment schedule.
- It's a great way to connect and share thanks. A pledge statement/giving record sent out to parishioners can be a simple statement – here's what you’ve pledged and here's what you've paid. But why not include a Thank you? Think of it as a way to share information about ongoing ministry at the church that is (after all) directly linked to the support your church receives through pledges. It's a way to make the "invisible visible."
- No room? What if the pledge statement and the way it's distributed isn't set up to include "thank you" messaging? Work around it. Clergy or wardens could send out a separate message that references the statement: the point is to acknowledge and thank the people in your parish who have kept up their regular and faithful pledge payments. Dear (name), we recently sent out our monthly pledge statements, and I want to take a minute to thank you for your continued support of our church. Your continuing support is making ministries possible, ministries such as…
- "We already thanked them for making a pledge, why do it again?" Well, a pretty simple answer to that question is that people – all of us – like to be thanked. Especially today when everything feels upside down. It's more important than ever to connect your loyal and generous parishioners with the ministry that their pledges make possible.
Your parishioners will appreciate the common sense courtesy of a quarterly pledge payment statement. It's also an opportunity to give some examples of how their pledge has been making ministry possible, especially in a time when ministry can feel quite "invisible."