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How to Write a Better Donation Thank You Letter (And Why It Matters)

donation thank you letter

You sure know someone who can get anyone do what they want. An executive to give their limited time, an expert – their ideas, philanthropists  – their financial support. What is the secret? It’s not that hard. You just say “thank you” and “please”. And say it from the bottom of your heart.

As you sit down to write a memorable donation thank you note consider these 10 points:

  1. The timing

According to 2016 Burk Donor Survey direct mail matters. Forty Four percent of the respondents used direct mail for their giving. Your letter should ideally be posted in less than 48 hours because the faster the letter reaches the donor, the better you will be remembered. The letter would confirm that you received the donation. It will also make an impression about the efficiency of your organization and its thoughtfulness.

Many organizations are now acknowledging contributions by email. There is a chance that your email might get lost in a full email box or sent to the junk folder. Selecting a good subject line will help your letter reach the donor.

  1. Originality matters

When writing your letter, be human, be creative. Make your first line matter.  Continue by telling a story.  Perhaps an outcome of a cause you received a gift for.

  1. A delicate, personal touch holds the key

When your letter is personal, it touches the cords of the donor’s heart. A mass email message will just put off the recipient. Fundraising managers can ensure personalization of the letter by at least mentioning the name of the donor and the amount that has been donated.

  1. No need of lengthy lines

Keep it short. Keep it simple. Just as you would in real life. Remember the message is simple – you are grateful.

  1. Human touch is important

Try to give your letter a personal touch. Find your voice and use words that sound like they are on behalf of a living, breathing person, rather than an organization. Your words must express a heartfelt gratitude for the wonderful deed that the donor has done rather than being too formal.

  1. Stay away from being too pretentious

Your thank you letter must express your feelings but at the same time not exaggerate. Being too loud or showy will disengage the reader. Rather, using a positive, uplifting tone and perspective, will make donors feel good and help in your fundraising efforts.

  1. Connect back to the campaign

When you write the letter, mention the cause or the campaign you received the donation for. You can also give a brief description about the things that you plan to do with the money and how it will help the cause. This will reassure the donor that their contribution has been put to good use.

  1. Say no to digital signatures

While we live in a tech savvy world, when it comes to signing the letter, avoid using a digital signature. Instead, get the concerned person or authority to sign the letter personally. This will add sincerity and show that you have taken the time to acknowledge contributions and are genuinely thankful.

  1. Include a tax receipt and invite the donor

You can include a tax receipt along with the letter and also invite the donor to come over and visit your organization. Offer a first-hand experience of how your nonprofit works. While the last thing you want to do is ask for more in your thank you letter, including a reply envelope might do the trick.

A brief and genuine letter appreciating your donor’s contribution can be a lot more than just an acknowledgement. It can open the doors to future gifts.