February 9, 2021
New Use for the Annual Report
Attention, stewardship ministry leaders! Here is an idea to keep you ministering to people right now: Use your church’s Annual Report to develop a letter or email to parishioners to once again thank them for their financial support, remind them of the value of their commitment, and help them feel connected to the church in this continuing time of separation.
That may seem like heavy lifting for one letter, but reading through the Annual Report will hopefully result in plenty of inspiration for a theme of, “Look at the impact your gifts are making!” Include 3 or 4 examples such as…
“Thanks to your support, even in the pandemic St. Gregory’s was able to continue Christian Formation via the internet. 15 preschool and young elementary-age children participated in Zoom Bible Study in the Fall, followed by an Advent study for families.”
“Wednesday night discipleship studies for adults via Zoom were well-attended in 2020 and will continue this spring.”
“Trinity’s creative organist and choir members treat us to beautiful music during our online services – over 23 singers and instrumentalists enliven our worship from their homes.”
Express gratitude in the letter for all who continued their financial support in 2020, with thanks for those who pledged commitment in 2021. No need to be more specific than that. Avoid dragging out the Annual Report’s ledger sheet and budget details. Simply remind people that their gifts are appreciated and make wonderful ministry possible.
If you create this communication as a letter to mail, consider closing it, “With appreciation from the Stewardship Committee” (or whatever your stewardship ministry is called).
To make an even better impression, add a personal note of thanks. Just print the letters, then divide the mailing list into as many sections as you have Stewardship volunteers. Give each volunteer their assigned number of letters and ask each to write a personal note of gratitude “as a member of the Stewardship Ministry.” Just something short and sweet such as: “Bill and Margie, it’s great to have you as a part of St. Timothy’s. Hope to see you soon!”
Hand addressing the envelopes, even if the envelopes are printed with the church’s return address, will help ensure the letters are read. Give the volunteers a deadline. Follow up to make sure they have completed the assignment.
Using the Annual Report as inspiration for such communication is one way to begin expanding your Stewardship efforts to a year ‘round ministry.