Thanksgiving Day may still be over a week away, but we're already in the Thanking Season of our Annual Pledge Campaigns.
As pledges come in, best practice is to respond right away with a thank you. An acknowledgement of the pledge received, a confirmation of the amount, and words of gratitude.
What does "right away" mean? Within 48 hours if possible. That's simply because the more immediately a thank you is received, the more authentic it feels. And we are grateful for our parishioners making that financial commitment, so we should make sure they know that, and feel that.
It feels good to be thanked, and really good to be thanked right away.
Written or email? I think if the pledge has come in online, that immediate thank you can be done by email. If it's been mailed in or dropped off, though, I would tend to send a written thank you on paper. Nice to do both, the immediate email thank you, quickly followed by the note, but the point is to get the thank you out quickly.
Thanking immediately. It's a secret weapon. A secret weapon that strengthens the whole Stewardship effort and that begins to build a culture of thanksgiving. As Charles R. Lane writes in Chapter 9 of the great Stewardship resource, Ask Thank Tell:
There are few things that will build up a congregation more than having a culture of thanksgiving... A culture in which people feel comfortable and natural expressing their thanks to one another, When people are regularly thanked, they will not only feel appreciated, they will feel valuable, they will feel wanted and needed. When people are thanked and feel appreciated, they will quickly volunteer to be involved in the next project, whether through time, talent, or financial support.
Missioner for Stewardship and Legacy Giving