Making a donation is a big step.
When someone decides to back your nonprofit or charity with their dollars, they deserve a thank you letter and shown appreciation right away. They should not doubt for a second that their gift makes a difference and that you value them.
A good thank you letter can turn a mere donor into a long-term relationship—someone who will stand behind your cause.
Making sure your supporters feel appreciated is central to strengthening that relationship.
Example Donation Thank You Letter
Let’s dissect what a thank you letter should look like.
Below is an example of a thank you letter from our friend, Ruthellen Rubin, at Louis August Jonas Foundation.
As we count down the days to the start of Camp Rising Sun 2012, we are most grateful to people like you who make our work and the program possible through your support. Thank you for your generous gift of $1,000.00. It not only provides scholarships for promising young leaders, it also supports the CRS Global Alumni Network of over 4,000 men and women.
On June 23rd, we will welcome sixty boys and sixty girls from 30 countries and 11 U.S. states to Camp Rising Sun. We look forward to their contributions to our community and know they will serve as models for their peers when they return to their homes with enthusiasm, energy and ideas for putting their CRS learning into practice.
We are delighted with the growing number of donors who share our commitment to make a difference through mutual understanding and individual initiative. Thank you again, for your generosity.
With warm regards,
Judith R. Fox, Ed.D
Louis August Jonas Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
No goods or services were provided in return for this donation.
It’s an amazing thank you letter. So, what can we learn from this?
5 Donation Thank You Letter Best Practices
1. Be personal.
Use your donor’s name, and mention how much they donated. You letter is addressed to a specific individual and not an anonymous email chain: it should show. Have your letter signed by someone important. This demonstrates that their gift is important too.
2. Tell a story.
The image of campers arriving from across the world to start their summer gives donors a story to connect with their donations. You can also tell the story of a specific client that has benefited from similar donations.
3. Show impact.
Give donors numbers and examples to show that their contributions make a tangible difference. Tell them how many people benefit from their donations and in what way.
4. Follow through.
Send your thank you letter within 48 hours of receiving the gift. If the donation was made online, send a confirmation email immediately. Whether you send thank yous by post or by email will depend on the culture of your nonprofit and the main demographic of your donors. Whatever method you choose, it should be prompt.
5. Be Creative.
LAJF also sends a video thank you with their confirmation emails. Videos are great opportunities to catch people’s attention and show ingenuity. Making your thank you memorable will reinforce your nonprofit in your supporters’ minds.
Donor appreciation is a crucial pillar of fundraising strategy and opens up further dialogue with your donors. Be sure to give them an opportunity to stay in touch – whether through a link to a Facebook page or your blog.
Putting these principles into practice will have you on your way to cultivating strong relationships with your base – people who will donate again and again. Just be sure to thank them again and again too!
This post was originally published in October 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.