“It Is Better to Give Than to Receive”: 6 Scientific & Biblical Reasons Why
Is it better to give than to receive? Here are six biblical and scientific reasons why giving is better than receiving.
December 10, 2019
Blue Monday is considered the most depressing day of the year. Here are six ways you can beat the blues today.
January 21, 2019
Today is considered the most depressing day of the year.
In recent years, this day has been dubbed Blue Monday.
Today is the third Monday of January.
It’s gloomy, cold, and dreary.
Christmas cheer has faded away in the rearview mirror, and unpaid credit card bills are the order of the day.
To make matters worse, January is known to be the longest month of the year.
Many people (maybe you?) struggle to make ends meet, and only spend the bare minimum in hopes of recovering from their recent holiday spending spree.
But you don’t have to cave into the blues of Blue Monday.
If depression is stalking you today, here are six ways you can fight back and punch it in the face.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt. 6:27)
Now isn’t the time to hit the panic button.
Looking at your situation and worrying won’t make a difference. Doing this would be like looking at a mess in your kitchen and not cleaning it up—not helpful.
The first thing you need to do is seek Jesus.
Ask for God’s help.
Remember, Jesus is always with you (Matt. 28:20).
Here’s the deal:
Don’t have a stare-down with stress.
Instead, take these words from Jesus to heart:
“But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will give to you as well” (Matt. 6:33).
Is your unpaid credit card bills from the holidays stressing you out?
Take an honest look at your bills, review your income, and set a goal to pay off your credit card bills.
To free up some extra cash to meet your goal, see if there’s something you can sell, expenses you can decrease, or a side hustle you can pursue to earn more money. Use this additional money to pay down your credit card bills quickly.
Is depression giving you a cold, unwelcome hug today?
Shake it off by getting active.
Exercise is one proven way to fight off the feelings of depression.
I’m not saying you have to run a marathon or start flipping tires.
Any form of moderate exercise can be helpful.
Here are a few examples:
Know what else is helpful?
Instead of exercising alone, invite a friend to join you. Having a friendly chat is another way to boost your mood—even if you don’t talk about what you’re going through.
Feel overwhelmed by your situation?
Share the load with someone else by asking for help.
Here’s the deal:
You’re not meant to carry your burdens alone.
Not only is God an ever-present help (Psa. 46:1). But you’ve been created by God to be in community.
Reach out to a friend, family member, or your pastor.
Talking to someone else can make a tremendous difference today. It can give you a boost of strength, a new perspective, or encouragement to keep fighting.
In the words of Ecclesiastes 4:9-10:
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
The winter months are darker months.
Fight the temptation to hibernate and sit in a dimly lit house. According to some studies, living in a dark house can dampen your mood and make you feel tired.
Instead, consider lighting up your house to lighten your mood. New lights and light bulbs will add to the light and warmth of your home.
It’s okay to treat yourself every once in a while.
I’m not saying you need to spend money and rack up more credit card debt.
Find something you like to do, and go and do that something.
Whether it’s reading a book, enjoying a home cooked meal, or spending time with your family and friends, set aside time to treat yourself.
A small treat can go a long way to helping you keep the winter blues at bay.
Do you struggle with Blue Monday?
What have you found helpful in fighting the blues?
Share your ideas with us on Facebook. We’d love to learn from your experience.
In a previous blog post, I shared the different ways your church can thank donors—from automated emails to year-end giving reports. Printed donation letters also play an essential role in your church’s stewardship efforts.
Donation letters are the Swiss Army knife of your church’s gratitude arsenal. It may not be the most powerful—but it’s versatile, handy, and gets used often.
Your basic church donation letter can serve many different purposes, including:
A single, well-crafted donation letter can pull together several of these things simultaneously. Better donation letters lead to more giving, which leads to more donation letters—thus creating a cycle of on-going church generosity.
Here’s the good news—you don’t have to write an individualized letter for every person who gives to your church. That would be tough to do for even smaller churches. And most donors don’t expect you to. They’d rather you be putting their gift to better use in the community, instead of ceaselessly writing thank you notes.
With the possible exception of some unique circumstances, your church can use template language for the majority of your church donation letters. You’ll have to add in custom details like the donor’s name and gift amount, but you can write everything else in advance.
To make this even easier on you, here are a few basic church donation letter templates you can copy and paste. Keep in mind that not all of these have to be in print—you could just as easily turn some of these samples into email appeals.
The Donation Acknowledgement Letter is a basic way you can confirm and affirm a monetary gift to your church. Sending these is standard practice in church and nonprofit culture.
Dear [first name],
I want to personally thank you for your donation of [gift amount] to [church name]. We’re honored you would bless us with your generosity. Donations like yours make a big difference in the work our church is doing in the community.
Without givers like you, our church can’t have an impact or influence in our community. With your support, we’re partnering with local nonprofits, sending out global mission trips, and hosting small groups on topics that help real people like you. Together, we can make a difference.
Because we’re a tax-exempt nonprofit, you also get to write this donation off on your taxes. This letter serves as official proof of your donation, so keep it in your records come tax season. At the end of the year, we’ll also send you an annual recap with how much you’ve given to the church.
Thank you for supporting [church name]!
Not every church member realizes the importance of giving, or understand Bible verses about tithing and giving. So a Donation Request Letter helps to spread that awareness and encourage a spirit of generosity.
Dear [first name],
How are the finances in your household? That was a rhetorical question, so you don’t have to answer—besides, this is a letter so we wouldn’t hear you anyway. But we still want you to think about that question.
Money is a uniquely human issue, one we all struggle with to one degree or another. Even if you’re financially blessed, you still have the burden of stewarding your money wisely. And we believe that one of the best ways to invest your money is into the local church.
Tithing (giving 10% of your income) on a regular basis not only supports the work we do at [church name]. It doesn’t just support local missions and community growth. It also shows an obedience to God by making his work a financial priority in your life.
So if you find yourself ready to put God first in both your heart and your wallet, we encourage you to make a one-time gift or sign up to make recurring donations. That way, you won’t have to ever wonder again about the financial status of your household.
Many church donations aren’t just one-time gifts. Plenty of givers contribute monthly—and that should be acknowledged.
Use this template to correspond with recurring givers.
Dear [first name],
Thank you for being an active and faithful member of our church community. By giving to our church on a monthly basis, you’re showing that our church has a meaningful place in your heart. We just wanted to write this to let you know that you’re in our heart, too.
Donating to the church monthly allows us to preach the gospel, make disciples, and support others in our community who need help. Others like the local food bank and the nearby homeless shelter. We’re answering the cry of the needy, and it’s all thanks to contributors like you.
We earnestly appreciate your ongoing support and want to let you know we’re here for you. If there’s ever anything we can do for you and your family, don’t hesitate to reach out. You are a valued member of our church family. And you’re financial support is making a difference.
At the end of each year, it’s customary to give your church supporters a summary of their gifts. The primary reason is for tax purposes, but it’s also a way to recap everything your church has done over the past year with their support.
Dear [first name],
You’re getting this letter because you gave to [church name] at some point during the past year. That might have been a one-time gift, or recurring donations. Either way, we want to thank you for your generous support. Every contribution helps.
One of the official reasons for this letter is for tax purposes. That’s right—you get to write these donations off on your taxes. Which is why we’ve included a summary of all the contributions you’ve made to our church this year.
But the other reason for this letter is to let you know what we’ve done with the money you gave. We take stewardship very seriously, which means we value spending our time and resources wisely.
During the year, our church supported local nonprofits, sent global missions teams, and baptised quite a few people. It was a great year for us—thanks in large part to donors like you.
So thank you for your support of our church, and we hope you’ll consider continuing to contribute to our mission in the coming year.
Sometimes you need to make a more significant financial push using tried and true church fundraising ideas. Some churches call this a Stewardship Campaign or a Church Capital Campaign. Either way, the goal is to raise a certain amount of money for a big project. And typically, a solid letter of appeal is an integral part of that.
Dear [first name],
God has a plan for everyone and everything. That includes you, and it includes [church name]. None of us can fully know God’s plan—the best we can do is pray and listen for clarity. Our church leadership has been doing just that and are excited to announce our latest church project.
[Detail the outline of the major church project—this could include a building campaign, or raising support for a global mission trip. Anything specific to your church that requires a fundraising letter. Be sure to include a fundraising goal so everyone knows what you’re shooting for.]
But we can’t pull this off without your support. Whether you give to the church on a regular basis, or just attend on occasion, we’re asking you to consider contributing to this massive undertaking prayerfully. It’s something we need our entire church community’s help with.
Even if you can’t make a large gift, know that every little bit helps. It’s more about coming together as a community united behind a common cause. We hope that you’ll consider making a donation towards this great step forward that we’re making together.
It’s not enough to just copy and paste this content and send away. The key to an effective church donation letter is a touch of personalization. Follow these tips to take your donation letters to the next level:
There’s no one right or wrong way to write a donation letter or request contributions. You’ve got to do what is right for your church and congregation. But if you stick to these general tips, you’ll probably start to see some traction when it comes to giving.
Most people don’t love talking about money in church. But it’s a necessary and vital part of your church. And maximizing your efforts when it comes to donation letters will help make those conversations more comfortable. So what do you do next to put this into effect?
And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.
Tithely’s systems make it as easy as possible for people to give to your church. Now all you need to start doing is generating a culture of gratitude. There’s nothing standing in your way. Go unleash generosity in your church.
How does your church use donation letters to spread generosity? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Robert Carnes. Robert is a writer and storyteller. He's the author of The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days. A former church communicator and nonprofit marketer, Robert works as a managing editor for Orange in Atlanta.