Generosity

6 Biblical and Scientific Reasons Why It's Better to Give than to Receive

Is it better to give than to receive? Here are six biblical and scientific reasons why giving is better than receiving.

6 Biblical and Scientific Reasons Why It's Better to Give than to Receive
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One-liners can be helpful (or funny).

They can pack a punch of insightful wisdom.

But the impact of these statements can be lost with time and repetition.

One such one-liner that has lost its influence is “it’s better to give than to receive."

This statement is more than a catchy cliche.

It’s found in the Bible (Acts 20:35), and it’s chock-full of a ton of truth.

Here are six reasons why it’s better to give than to receive.

#1. Giving reflects God’s character

God is a giver.

Giving is rooted in his character.

We observe God’s giving nature throughout the Bible. But it’s painted clearly in God giving the gift of his son—Jesus Christ.

Take a look at these verses:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosever believers in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32).
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).

What’s the point?

We give because God gave.

Giving is one way we reflect God’s character.

#2. Giving is commanded

God’s commandments are good.

They’re good for you, and they’re good for other people.

God’s commandments can be turned into legalism (a way to earn salvation) or used to manipulate other people. But at the end of the day, God’s gave commandments for us to glorify and enjoy him forever.

Giving not only reflects God’s character.

Giving is something that’s also commanded by God.

Here are a few verses pointing out this reality:

Exodus 25:2:

"Tell the Israelites to bring Me an offering. You are to receive My offering from every man whose heart compels him."

Deuteronomy 15:10:

“Give generously to him, and do not let your heart be grieved when you do so. And because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything to which you put your hand.”

Romans 12:8:

“if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is giving, let him give generously; if it is leading, let him lead with diligence; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

2 Corinthians 9:7:

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

#3. Giving makes you happy

There’s nothing wrong with being happy.

But how you pursue happiness may be all wrong.

For many people (maybe you?), they try to find happiness in spending money. Whether it’s buying new clothes, getting a bigger house, or taking an expensive trip, it’s easy to believe that spending money will satisfy your soul. But this satisfaction will only last as long as the transaction. Consumerism is an eternally insatiable appetite you cannot fill.

Here’s the deal:

You are hard-wired to give.

You are created in the image of a Giver. Therefore, the desire to give is rooted in your very being. So it makes sense that when you give you will be happy. You're doing what

Besides, it's scientifically proven that giving makes you happy.

Studies reveal that giving will make you happier when you spend “relatively more” on someone else, reduces depression, and creates a rewarding experience.  

#4. Giving makes you healthier and live longer

Giving is good for your health and life expectancy.

Many studies have shown that generous people tend to be healthier.

Giving (money and time) is linked to many positive benefits:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased life expectancy
  • Lower risk of dementia
  • Less anxiety
  • Reduced heart disease

As you exercise and eat nutritional food, be sure to include giving in your regime to boost your overall health.

#5. Giving expresses your trust in God

God is your provider.

From the air your breathe to the money you make, the Lord provides you with what you need.

As you give, you express your faith in God.

In Matthew 6, we see that God:

  • Knows what you need
  • Knows you need food
  • Knows you need water
  • Knows you need shelter
  • Knows you need clothes

Do you believe God will provide you with what you need?

Giving is how you express your trust in him.

Punch fear in the face.

Take a step of faith.

Give from what you have—not from what you don’t have.

God will give you the grace you need to become a generous giver (2 Cor. 8:7).

#6. Giving advances the Kingdom of God

You support many businesses every day.

You help them to make a profit, keep their lights on, and pay their employees.

How do you do this?

By purchasing their products or services.

What does this have to do with God’s Kingdom?

Simple.

In the way your purchases supports a business, your donations and volunteer time support the work of your local church.

You can participate in the advancement of God’s work by giving money and volunteering your time with your local church.

Is it better to give than to receive?

Yes.

A thousand times, yes.

It's better to give than to receive.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t earn money for yourself or save money for retirement.

What this statement from Acts 20:35 is emphasizing is that it’s better to give than to continue to amass wealth. There are times when you’ll be in a better financial position to give more to your local church (time and money), and there will be times when you’ll need to focus on saving or paying off debt.

But in the end, by the grace of God, strive to reflect God’s generous character by being a generous giver with what you have.


Why Write Church Donation Letters?

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:

  • Acknowledging that you received a donation
  • Thanking the giver for being generous with their finances
  • Sharing other ways the person can support your church
  • Allowing the donor to write the gift off on their taxes
  • Encouraging supporters to make recurring donations
  • Requesting future donations from church members

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.

Church Donation Letter Samples

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.

1. Donation Acknowledgment Letter

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]!
Sincerely,
[your name]

2. Donation Request Letter

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.
Sincerely,
[your name]

3. Monthly Giving Letter

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.
Sincerely,
[your name]

4. Year-End Giving Letter

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.
Sincerely,
[your name]  

5. Church Fundraising Letter

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.
Sincerely,
[your name]

Tips when writing church donation letters

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:

  • Examples: Add specific examples of how your church will use the donation. Tell a story about the work your church is doing in the community and connect that with giving.
  • Personalization: For regular donors, don’t be afraid to add a short, handwritten personal note. This shows that you’ve singled them out with praise.
  • Timeliness: Sending donation letters quickly reminds people you’re thankful for them. But this also takes organization and efficiency. All the more reason to use pre-written templates.
  • Storytelling: Everything is better with stories—including donation letters. Weave in a specific narrative of how your church is making a difference and how the money will be used.

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.

What’s next?

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?

  • Customize these letters: Take the samples above and make them work for your church. Personalize the content. Remove the stuff that doesn’t sound genuine and add in stuff that does. Remember that these are just a starting point.
  • Create some systems: Develop processes that make it easy for you to replicate sending donation letters. Use a letter template that allows you to drop in names and details. Then develop guidelines for when these letters will be sent out.
  • Empower a champion: Find out who is going to be responsible for making these letters happen. Rather than thinking of this as adding more work to their plate, think about how you can elevate their work. This could be a staff member, or a volunteer.
  • Start sending: All of this will be for nothing if you don’t actually send out the letters. Take the time to get it right and get them into the hands of your church donors.

And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.

We provide several different ways your church members can support your church financially—from online giving, text to give solutions, and giving kiosks.

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.

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6 Biblical and Scientific Reasons Why It's Better to Give than to Receive