• Rebecca J Diamond

The Best Donor Thank You Letters Have These Details in Common


Every thank you letter you send to a donor is a chance to make a great impression. By making a great impression in your thank you letter, you let your donor feel appreciated, show them that their donation is important to your organization, and remind them that they made the right choice when they donated to your nonprofit.


Plus, because donors who feel appreciated are more likely to donate again, a terrific thank you letter is a valuable part of your donor retention efforts.

Whether your organization is just starting out or you want to find out how you can make your current letters better, read on to find out what the best thank you letters have in common.


They are sent on time


Don’t procrastinate when it comes to acknowledging each donation your nonprofit receives. Write and send your thank you letter as soon as possible after you receive the donation. This reassures your donor that the donation was received and lets them feel appreciated immediately. You don’t want your donor to wonder if you forgot about them or if their contribution wasn’t important enough to you.


They are personal


“To Whom It May Concern” is the best way to start a thank you letter to someone you don’t want to donate again. Include your donor’s name in your salutation and don’t be generic when it comes to talking about their gift or their previous support.


Make an emotional connection with your donor, too. Be thoughtful and explain the impact that their donation will have on your cause. Instead of saying “your gift will support our organization’s goals,” tell them how their gift will support your goals. Share which initiative their gift supports and why it’s important.


They are concise


If you include the standard pitch you used on your website or a lengthy mission statement that your donor has read before, they’ll grow bored of your letter quickly. Include a few key and current details in your letter and your nonprofit’s progress toward your cause will be more memorable.


While it’s important to make an emotional connection with your donor, you don’t want to get excessive either. If your thank you letter is extravagant, it can come across as less genuine or forced to your donor.


They are from a specific person


Your thank you letter should come from a notable person at your organization, whether that’s your executive director or a board member. This shows your donor that their gift matters to your organization and — just like including your donor’s name and the impact of their gift — adds a personal touch to your letter.


And the thank you note should include a handwritten signature and a handwritten note thanking your donor; something as simple as “thank you for your support” goes a long way when it’s handwritten.


They offer a chance to get more information


Your donor may want to know where to go or who to contact to learn more about your nonprofit. At the end of your letter, give your donor this information so that it’s easy for them to get more information. But don’t ask for another gift — leave that for future communications.


The gratitude you show for your donors shouldn’t stop at thank you letters. As I’ve shared with you before, you want to celebrate your donors and volunteers — after all, they’re a big part of what makes it possible. A great thank you letter is just one of the many ways to celebrate.

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