In the middle of a pile of junk mail, a hand addressed envelope appeared in my mailbox at home a few weeks ago. It was from Willow Creek DuPage – a satellite location of the mega church based in South Barrington, Illinois.
In the envelope was a simple card with a hand-written note from the campus pastor saying, “Thanks for your faithfulness to God in your giving. Come and say hi after a service soon.”
My wife and I recently started going to this church about a month ago and felt connected enough with the vision that we started tithing. While we’ve given to the churches we’ve attended all of our adult life, this is the first time we’ve ever received recognition beyond a form letter that may or may not have actually been signed by the pastor.
This letter was a delightful surprise. As I’ve thought more about it, here are some points on why this form of communication worked so well.
It creates a more meaningful connection. The church is full of real people. Getting a hand written note lets me know someone is paying attention. They care about my involvement in the congregation and they’re appreciative. It’s a personal gesture and reassuring to us that the church leadership is paying attention to what is happing. It also made this large church feel a lot smaller.
It helps me give with a joyful heart. This attention to detail makes me feel even closer to this church. I feel good about supporting a church that cares about reaching out to the community and connecting inward with each other. Knowing that the church goes to this level of detail to connect with people reinforces that the church is true to its vision. Take money out of it. If I’m a volunteer and I get a hand-written thank you, I’m going to have the same connection and good feelings that will make me feel more committed.
Personalized communication has power. Hand-written notes are a scarcity. It grabs your attention when someone takes the time to write even the shortest note. Yes, this card also included a folded up form letter with more information about how tithes are used in the church, but it wasn’t the main focus. Mixing up your methods of communication—and including personal thank you notes when it makes sense—creates a more robust communications system.