Mark Brooks

Creating a Culture of Gratitude

How do you feel when someone thanks you? It makes you feel good.  You feel appreciated and valued.  Everyone likes to be appreciated and thanked.  Gratitude is a powerful tool that few are using.  As we have just completed Thanksgiving, I thought it would be good to spend some time focusing on creating a culture of gratitude.

On our pathway towards making disciples, it should be imperative that Christ-followers are to be continually learning and living a life of gratitude. 

To accomplish the above, we have to develop what I call a Culture of Gratitude.  As your Stewardship Coach, my premise is that a theology of gratitude teaches others to be grateful AND increases giving.  Here are my thoughts on “Creating a Culture of Gratitude.”

First, become a model of gratitude yourself by living out a life of gratitude.  To establish a Culture of Gratitude, you need to live a life of gratitude by showing gratitude.   We start by being grateful and spreading that to others.  Your acts of gratitude become contagious, which impacts others around you.  One person at a time, we make the world more grateful. 

We cannot teach what we don’t live out!  So, work on your gratitude level before you try and establish a culture of gratitude. 

How does this relate to giving?  When you establish a Culture of Gratitude and work to exhibit that in all you do, giving will increase.  I am, after all, your Stewardship Coach, helping you increase giving and givers.  So, let’s talk a bit about why showing gratitude over giving is important.

Let me establish that I believe that Christians should give without expecting anything in return.  We can all agree on that.  Most donors never expect to hear anything about their gifts.  That is why when you make an effort to say thank you, it means so much to them.

Churches teach gratefulness by how they respond to givers.  Everything we do in church is a teachable moment.  So when you make an effort to thank those that fuel your ministry, it shows them you are grateful and sets a standard for them in how to respond to those that give to them.

Gratefulness begets gratefulness!  When you show gratefulness to donors, they, in turn, show gratefulness.  While saying thank, you might not mean they give more it will certainly make donors feel appreciated for the gifts they give.  Again, how you respond teaches them how to respond.

Why is thanking your donors important?  Apart from all of the above, I have some practical reasons for suggesting that we say thank you to donors.  Here are a few reasons I stress having a thank you plan of action,

  • Saying thank you for a past gift is a subtle way of reminding people about giving.
  • Saying thank you allows you to say what gifts accomplish.  People give to what matters!
  • Saying thank you builds a platform upon which to ask for further gifts.
  • Saying thank produces happy donors. 99.99% of your donors are not expecting a thank you, but they will appreciate one when given.
  • Saying thank you shows that you recognize donors are not simply a number but a real person.
  • Saying thank you sets you apart from others who never acknowledge donations.

Several years ago, I read a book by Florence Littauer, entitled, “It Takes So Little to be Above Average.” The title says it all.  Few churches have any plan for building up donors.  How hard is it to, from time to time, say, “Thank you, your gift is making a difference?”  

I don’t give to get a thank you letter.  However, I certainly have a better feeling about my gift when someone says thank you than when I never hear anything back.    

How are you showing gratitude to those that fuel your ministry?  Thanking your donors takes so little, but it will set you above the average church.  Thank someone today!

Oh, and thank you so much for following me!

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach