Thank You for Donation Letters - A Letter Guide for Donor Donations
Thank You for Donation Letters - A Letter Guide for Donor Donations
Your prospect has finally decided to support your cause and has made their first donation and graduated to a donor, and now you're thinking you should write something telling them how grateful you are for their donation and the impact it will have on your cause and organization alike. But you just aren't sure what to write, include or keep out of a donor than-you letter. And if this is your first letter, why would you know?
That's why we're writing about how to write an amazing donation thank you letter that you can be proud of. One that makes your donors feel appreciated and special whether they're first-time donors or have donated multiple times at all your fundraising events. Donor letters are important and should be written correctly and convey your total appreciation for their support.
They are an important way to build relationships and positively impact and support your nonprofit, and writing a great one includes many important details that need to be included. Don't worry though, we will break down all the steps and give you examples and even a few secret tips on how we manage to write the best thank you letters possible.
Why Thank You Letters for Donations are Important to Your Donors
Thank you letters are much more important than people realize. They are relationship builders and one of the best ways to make any donor feel special and appreciated so that they continue to support your organization and its mission. If the thank you letter does its job correctly, it'll help you bond to your donor and help support a long a lasting friendship that will benefit your organization for years to come. And since retaining a donor is far more cost effective than gaining a new donor, you should be taking the writing process seriously for all of your letters or cards. And just to really demonstrate all the positives these letters can accomplish, here is a more detailed list of reasons on why these letters are so important for any nonprofit or organization:
- Expressing Gratitude: Thank you letters show appreciation and gratitude towards your donors for their generosity whether it is a monetary or sponsorship gift. They demonstrate the fact that the donor took the time and effort to support your cause and that you are aware of the impact of their generosity. Without their help, it would be impossible to grow and operate your nonprofit.
- Building Relationships: Donors want to feel involved in something bigger than themselves. If you’re able to make them feel connected to your organization and cause with a heart felt thank you note and they feel they’re making an impact, they’ll continue to support your fundraising efforts and you’ll create long lasting relationships that can last a lifetime.
- Transparency: Thank you letters provide an opportunity to share exactly how your donor’s donation will be used. By giving donors insight into how their contribution will make a difference, you enhance transparency and trust, which are crucial for maintaining donor confidence.
- Impact Illustration: A thank you letter is great at illustrating to donors the specific impact your donor’s donation has had on someone or something. By including things like success stories, statistics, or specific examples of how the donation has made a specific difference can inspire donors and make them feel like an integral part of the positive change your organization is striving for.
- Encouraging Recurring Donations: Although you should never sell in your thank you letters, demonstrating how someone’s donation has made a difference and highlighting the long-term impact of sustained contributions, you can gently persuade donors to donate again and even set up a recurring donation without needing to ask for the donation straight out.
- Public Relations: Thank you letters can serve as positive PR for your organization when you share them on places like social media or in your organization’s newsletters. You words can inspire others to get involved and demonstrates how compassionate your organization is, and how it’s working to solve real issues.
- Legal Compliance: In some regions, sending a thank you letter out to your donors is not just a courtesy, but a legal requirement for some tax-exempt organizations. Donors might need these letters for tax deduction purposes, providing them with the necessary documentation to claim their contribution.
- Differentiation: In a competitive fundraising landscape, sending a thoughtful hand written thank you letter can set your organization apart, especially in a landscape of email and text messaging. Even though a hand written letter may take a bit more time than an email, most donor’s will notice the effort and you won’t just be one of the many organizations vying for their attention.
- Donor Retention: Retaining existing donors is often more cost-effective than acquiring new ones through fundraising or other means. By taking the time to send your thank you letter for a recent donation, you’re constantly staying in the forefront of your donor’s mind. These letters can help keep the relationship alive and create loyalty and decrease attrition rates.
In essence, a thank you letter is one of the best ways to increase donor engagement and loyalty, set your brand apart in their minds and demonstrate to the world how much your organization actually cares about its cause. They’re one of the few times when many larger organizations get to relate to their donors on a personal level. And it’s really important you don’t waste the opportunity.
How to Say Thank You for a Donation?
The most important aspect of any donor thank-you letter is that you're being sincere in telling your donors how grateful you and your organization are for their contributions to your cause. Your letter should make your donors feel something for your nonprofit and its mission through simple story telling and sincere words. They should feel as though they are now a part of something larger than themselves and important, and that their support to your success does actually depend on them and people like them to make positive change happen.
Crafting and writing a great thank you letter takes a bit of skill that can be learned through practice and repetition. Think about how you'd feel getting your letter after making a donation at a fundraising event or similar. Does it move you in some way? Make you feel special or appreciated? And if not, what's missing. Creating an awesome thank you letter takes a bit of skill that can be learned through practice and repetition as well as looking at a few other successfully written letters to get a sense of what needs to be included and the tone used in the successful letters. All of these subtleties make a difference to your sponsors, so don't overlook them.
How to Write a Thank You Letter for a Donor Donation?
Obviously writing a letter expressing your gratitude is a little more involved than some simple quotes or short messages. That doesn't mean your letters need to be grandiose or anything eloquent, they just need to convey to someone that they are indeed valued and seen as an important part to your organization and its cause. One of the best tips we can offer you is to read the letter after you're finished and pretend you are the receiver, and think about how it would make you feel to get it yourself. If it moves you in some way, then you know it's a good one. If the letter doesn't move you, think about why it doesn't. And what it would take in a letter that would make you feel something.
As far as the mechanics of writing a thank you letter, each one should have three standard parts. We will go over each part in more detail below, but be aware these include an introduction, the body and a conclusion. All three parts of a letter need to be present and each plays their role in creating the best donor thank you letter possible.
The introduction always starts off with a greeting of some kind. Don't make the mistake of sounding generic and starting off with something like "Dear Contributor", it will make your donors or sponsors feel as if they're just getting form letters with no specific personal significance to them or their involvement. Always start off personal with your donor's full name and any postnominals they have achieved in order to have a great letter. Show that you know who they are even if they are first-time donors.
After the greeting you should include a short paragraph that shows gratitude including the specific amount of your donors gift and the event it was made and a brief sentence on how it was used and how grateful you and your organization is to have received it. You will go more into detail in the body, you are simply setting up the letter here, so no need for specific details about everything.
The body is the meat of your letter and involves adding some specific details, a little story telling, and to be really effective, some genuine heart filled emotion towards your donor. The body is always longer, sometime much longer than the introduction and conclusion paragraphs. It can be one paragraph or many depending on what you want to be included, and how much depth you want to make your letters.
The body should always include exactly how your donor's gift was used to help someone or how it furthered your nonprofit's fundraising goals or specific mission. A little storytelling goes a long way here as you want to invite your donor to be personally and emotionally involved with your story. Your story should clearly demonstrate the impact your donor's donation had on something as specific as possible, and how without them this event would never had happened. And if they are long-time donors, you should recall all their specific previous and recent impacts they've made to further your relationship and get your donor to feel fulfilled with their involvement.
Don't make the mistake of trying to sell your donor on some sort of fundraising or direct marketing event that's coming up. Your nonprofit thank-you is not the place for it. Also, never include organization news or anything other than sincerely thanking your donor for helping your organization reach their fundraising goal or continued commitments. Make sure you thank any sponsors for attending an event, fundraiser or other engagement you've held in the past to show your appreciation for their time or donation.
The conclusion is basically a short wrap up of some of the specific key points you made in the body along with a live signature whether it's a printed letter or not. You should also include ways to contact you whether by phone or email, and you can even invite your donor to come and visit your organization so they can see the work you're doing and its impact with their own eyes. This is always a great way to cement long lasting relationships.
phone sincerely sign send
Some Common Thank you Letter Examples
If you're not feeling inspired and need some help getting some ideas on how to write a specific kind of thank you letter you want to send, we've broken down a few into their appropriate categories so you can get a sense of what a great thank-you letter should look and sound like. Please feel free to borrow our examples, or use them to tweak and make your own.
Thank you Letter for Food Donations
Example: A Helping Hand in Times of Need
Introduction: Dear [Donor's Name],
We hope this letter finds you well. We wanted to take a moment to express our deepest thank you for your recent food donation of [List of Food Items if Possible] to [Your Nonprofit's Name]. Your caring and generosity has touched the lives of many individuals in our community and we are thankful to have you as part of our efforts to help locally.
Body: Your donation gift came at a critical time for Sarah, a single mother facing financial hardships due to unexpected medical expenses. Thanks to your support, we were able to provide her with a month's supply of nutritious groceries, including fresh produce, protein-rich items, and essential pantry staples. All of the food that was provided was organic and rich in nutrients that both her and a growing child need rather than just empty calories. This assistance not only eased her financial burden but also ensured that she and her child have access to wholesome meals during a challenging time for them.
Conclusion: Sarah's story is just one example of how your donation gift has made a lasting impact on not just someone here in our community, but to our own organization. Your kindness has transformed lives, and we are incredibly grateful for your commitment to creating positive change and we look forward to working with you again in the near future.
Thank you once again for your generosity.
[Your Nonprofit's Name]
Thank You for Monetary Donation
Example: Empowering Change Through Your Donations
Introduction: Dear [Donor's Name],
We wanted to take a moment to express and send our heartfelt thanks for your recent monetary donation of [Amount of donation] to [Your Nonprofit's Name]. Your generosity has dramatically helped someone in a way that creates change not just for them, but for the entire community at large.
Body: Your donation gift played a crucial role in providing vocational training for Mark, a young adult striving to break free from cycles of alcoholism and unemployment. With your support, Mark has gained valuable specific skills in carpentry and now has a steady job that not only supports him financially, but also boosts his confidence and sense of purpose which in turn has helped him to stay of the road of recovery and sobriety. It's because of you and your commitment in making our community a better place for everyone regardless of their past indiscretions that Mark is able to become a positive member of our community rather than a burden. You played a major role in that and we are eternally thankful for your commitment and the impact you have had.
Conclusion: Mark's journey from uncertainty to stability is a direct result of your contribution. Your belief in empowerment and your support are creating lasting opportunities for individuals like Mark to lead fulfilling lives. Thank you for all you've done.
[Your Nonprofit's Name]
Thank You Letter for sponsorship donation
Example: Nurturing Futures with Your Sponsorship and Gift
Introduction: Dear [Sponsor's Name],
Your recent sponsorship donation gift of [List their Sponsorship] to [Your Nonprofit's Name] has left us deeply appreciative. Your support not only helps someone with serious immediate needs, but also their family, friends and community as a whole.
Body: Alex is a young student with a passion for science but limited access to educational resources and funds for attending school due to his current home life situation. Thanks to your sponsorship, we were able to provide Alex with a partial scholarship that covered his tuition, books, and laboratory fees along with a few other small necessities. Because of your support, Alex is now pursuing his dream of becoming a scientist and making valuable contributions to his field and is even helping impact our organization with fundraising events so other kids in similar positions can also receive help. So your contribution not only helped Alex, but because of your kindness even more people’s lives will be touched.
Conclusion: Alex's journey from limitation to possibility is a testament to your belief in the power of education and the impact it can have. Your sponsorship is shaping a brighter future for individuals like Alex who are eager to learn and make a difference but just need a little assistance getting there, as we all do from time to time.
With heartfelt thanks,
[Your Nonprofit's Name]
Year End Thank you Letter for Your Donors
Example: Celebrating a Year of Brighter Tomorrows
Introduction: Dear [Donor's Name],
As we approach the end of the year, we wanted to celebrate the impactful journey we've undertaken with your support and donations at [Your Organization Name]. Your dedication has been the driving force behind countless brighter tomorrows with your yearly donations of [List their donations or gifts].
Body: Your contributions over the course of this year have directly contributed to the well-being of Linda, an elderly individual facing isolation and loneliness along with countesses others. With your assistance, we established regular companionship visits, recreational activities, and wellness programs for Linda as well as others we’re working with. Today, Linda enjoys a renewed sense of community and engagement, and her spirit shines brighter than ever due to the donations you’ve shared with our organization.
Conclusion: Linda's improved quality of life is a direct result of your compassion and commitment. Your support is a clear sign of a legacy of care and connection, and we are profoundly thankful for your partnership and humbly look forward to many more years of working together to make the world a better place for everyone.
With heartfelt appreciation,
[Your Nonprofit's Name]
Best Practices For Your Nonprofit Thank You Letter
Be Personal - Create Bonds
Always use your donors full name and not just dear sir or ma’am. You want to be personal in these letters and using someone’s full name means you understand exactly who they are and who you are corresponding with. Also, be sure to use and titles if they are a physician or a PhD holder. These individuals went through years of training to receive the honor of using them, you should respect that.
Express Gratitude and Sincerity - Make Donors Feel
The absolute most important aspect of your thank you letters are to let your donors know you really do value their help and that it is appreciated not just by the recipient, but by the entire organization. People want to feel valued, especially when they are giving to an organization or charity whether it’s a monetary or sponsorship contribution. Demonstrate to them on a deep level what their donations will do for your mission and how it will help others.
Be Specific - Personal Letters
You want your donor to feel as though you are speaking directly to them and that they’re not getting some sort of form letter or template. The best way to achieve this is to be specific in your correspondence. State details like their specific contributions or describe the volunteer work they did, any meeting you’ve had, even include a reference to a sport or activity they enjoy. Make them feel you took the time to know them as an individual, not just a donor.
Demonstrate Impact - Donors Make a Difference
Clearly showing someone how they have made an actual difference and the impact it's had is a powerful way to build trust and relationships with your donors. People want to make an impact but sometimes don’t know how. When possible, illustrate for them their impact with the tangible results of their donation. By you demonstrating exactly how they’ve helped change someone’s life or helped to advance your nonprofit's mission is a specific way will help to increase your chances of a donor becoming a life long partner.
Success Stories - Feel Fulfilled
Another way to help donors visualize their impact is by sharing success stories of how your nonprofit has benefited others according to it mission statement. Even if someone’s donation was not specifically used for that purpose, it shows your charity has the ability to change something for the better, and demonstrates that you’re hard at working doing just that.
Keep it Concise - Simply Noted
One mistake people often make is writing long winded than you letters that end up diluting their message and feel like fluff to the reader. Your letter should never be more than on page, and should be simple to read and understand. Take into account of the donor’s educational background if possible and make sure to match their expected level of correspondence.
Tone - Friendly Letters
Although you are thanking someone for their support in either time or a donation, that doesn’t mean your letters should sound stuffy. Your thank you letter’s tone should match that of your nonprofit or organization. If you’re a small friendly local organization, it should come across as such in your thank you letters. The tone should simply always be one of friendliness and compassion whether your writing your donation note to a church member, or even a kid. Keeps things light and friendly.
Signatures - Closing the Letter
There are two pieces of information to any signature, the person signing the letter and their contact information. Depending on the size of your organization and the donation from your donor, you may want someone that plays a key role to be writing the letters in order to make your donors feel more important. If you are small, it’s probably best the letters come from your founder, or someone highly connected to the donor in a personal way. Be sure to always include multiple ways of contacting you, whether by mail, email or even social media or chat. You want to build relationships, so be open for contact is super important. In fact, you can even invite them to see your nonprofit in person to further your relationship.
Visual Appeal - Pretty Letters Matter
Your letters should always come on high quality paper with your nonprofit's logo clearly in the header. Whether you hand write your letter, or use a printer, penmanship and fonts matter. They should be large and legible enough for anyone to read, including someone older that may need glasses. You can also add graphs or images to make the letter more detailed and inclusive, but don’t include too much as to make the letter no longer personal. It's best to only use cards for notes and other short thank you notes as a card just doesn't have adequate space to write a proper thank you letter.
No Fundraising - Don't Ask for Donations
Your thank you letter is for that, thanking them for your donor's contribution and not for asking for more donations or to join some new event. Never ask your donors for another donation in a thank you letter, there will be many opportunities to ask them to join specific fundraising events and donate again later. You should be humble and simply thank them for the donation they have already given, nothing more.
Tax Receipt - Donor Letter Add-on
If the donor hasn't been issued a tax receipt yet, include it in your donor thank you letter now so they can see you have indeed received their specific donation. Although not required by the IRS for any donations under $250, it's still a great way to show your donors you received their donation and have acknowledged it. It can also help them keep track of what they have donated over time and for what specific fundraiser as well. So always include a donation receipt in any thank-you letter you send out.
Proofreading - The Professional Letter
Proofreading is super important and isn't just for checking for grammar and spelling mistakes in your thank you letter. You should always read your thank you letter out loud to see if it flows and sounds correct when spoken aloud. You should also share your letter with at least two other people to also proofread as it is easy to miss mistakes when it's your own writing. Having others read your thank you letters also helps to see if they think it flows or demonstrates the level of gratitude you're trying to convey in your donation letter.
Thank You Letter for Volunteers
Volunteers are the backbone of any organization or nonprofit. And volunteers appreciate being thanked just as any donor does. Just because they aren't making a cash gift or donation doesn't mean they are not giving. In fact, some would say they are giving more as time is sometimes more important than cash.
Just like any thank you letters regardless of who they are meant for, your volunteer thank you letters should express the same heart filled gratitude you bestow on your actual donors. Your letter should follow the same outlines as above and include all the parts we spoke about previously to create a thank you letter that truly expressing the way you and your organization feel about each person. All your doing is switching out donor amounts donated for activities your volunteers have taken part in instead.
Just in case you're aren't sure what a volunteer thank you letter would look like, we've added a simple example that you can use as inspiration or even to change and make you own.
Example: Thank You Letter for Personal Connections
Introduction: Dear [Volunteer's Name],
In a digital age where connections can often feel impersonal, I wanted to extend my gratitude for the personal touch you bring to our nonprofit organization. Your ability to create genuine connections with those you meet has greatly helped with our fundraising and overall success.
Body: Your warm and empathetic interactions with both other volunteers as well as our donors has helped create a sense of belonging for all those involved that sets our organization apart. Your ability to make people feel heard and valued is a rare and precious gift that our organization is very grateful to have.
Conclusion: Thank you for reminding us that at the heart of every endeavor are the people we serve. Your personal touch has made our organization not just impactful but also deeply meaningful.
With heartfelt thanks,
Keeping volunteers happy and feeling appreciated is just as important as keeping your donors happy. Don't overlook this valuable resource and give them the attention and heartfelt respect they deserve. Again, for all the reasons that a donor letter is important, the same reasons can be transferred to your volunteers as well.
Hopefully you can now clearly understand just how important thanking your donors, volunteers and sponsors is to your organization and any fundraising you do. Putting in the time to create a well thought out and crafted thank you letter involves a little more time and effort than a simple email, but the returns can be enormous from even a simple thank you.
If you're interested in how you can speed up the process of writing and keep track of all your correspondences with your donors, you can try a free demo of PayBee to see how we make donor management simple and clear. Our software can even go as far as automating many of the processes when you need to send letters or cards to your donor base automatically. You can see all of our tools here.