No. In fact, there is no legal requirement for churches to provide gift acknowledgments ever. However, donors generally need the gift acknowledgments to support a gift deduction if they itemize using Schedule A. It is the donor’s responsibility to have the acknowledgment, not the church’s responsibility to provide it.
Proactive churches will not only want to voluntarily receipt gift acknowledgments soon after the end of the year, but also provide updates throughout the year to inform donors about their giving.
ECFA’s First Annual Church Stewardship Survey found that churches whose giving is growing are more likely to do three things for givers:
- Send personal thank you letters (not just gift acknowledgments),
- Call givers to express appreciation, and
- Disciple and engage givers further with meaningful gifts—like inspirational books on generosity.
Dan Busby is president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)—an accreditation organization that sets standards for governance, financial management, and fundraising/stewardship for churches and other nonprofits across the country.