Not a member yet?Register now and get started.

lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

Capital Campaign Tip: Making Thanks Tangible Before the Campaign Drive

2 Aug. 2012 Posted by Denis Greene in Church Capital Campaigns

By Flickr user vistamommy [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsChurch Development looks at how thank you gifts before a capital campaign or annual drive increase giving. 

Last time I talked about the importance of a thank you gift after a capital campaign. However, a thank you gift in advance of the capital campaign or annual drive is also appropriate. This gift tells the giver that their donation is anticipated and appreciated.

People don’t always give for the right reasons, and silly as it may sound, often the least involved in your church—those who likely don’t volunteer and/or who don’t regularly give financially—can be motivated to give by giving them gifts first. Premiums or doodads—small, inexpensive gifts that mention the church and the campaign—can stimulate giving. We’re talking pens with the church info, refrigerator magnets with the campaign prayer on them, etc.

The May 2009 Association of Fundraising Professionals magazine reported on a study that tested response rates to donation solicitations (including mailings). The study found that:

  • Response rates increased by 10% when one premium/doodad was offered
  • Response rates increased by 20% when four premiums/doodads were offered

National Public Radio (NPR) consistently uses premiums for donors. Upon analysis, they found that 90% of the gifts they received were right around the minimum dollar amount required to earn the donor gift. (I don’t set a minimum giving rate for a premium in a capital campaign. No matter what someone gives, they get the gift, as we know God cares more about why we give rather than how much we give.)

I would love to tell you that the church is different when it comes to donation motivation, but our own analysis has found that a well-publicized thanks program will increase giving by 30% and will involve the least involved in your church. In the end, that’s one of the top goals of Church Development: Getting your whole church involved with what God is doing.

In rereading the story of Naaman getting healed of leprosy, I’m reminded that God often uses simple things that may seem silly to us for His glory. Either way, God loves our thankfulness. These premiums/doodads are a tangible way to show this thanks.

* * *

In the next blog, I’ll cover how to deal with those who are angry about you spending money on thank you gifts.

Denis Greene is the Founder and President of Church Development.  He is the author of The Stewardship System, Stewardship-Based Capital Campaigns, and How To Ask For Donations as well as numerous articles on stewardship. Denis has helped over 200 churches across the USA raise more than $200,000,000. 

A complete list of Church Development’s services (including capital campaign management and consultation, feasibility studies, and year-round stewardship ministry programming) is available here.