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How to Write the Best Thank You Letter for Donations + 4 Templates and Samples

How to Write the Best Thank You Letter for Donations + 4 Templates and Samples

The Best Thank You Cards for Donations + 9 Templates and Samples


Whether you’re interested in cultivating existing donor relationships, increasing gift frequency and dollar amounts, or spreading goodwill to expand your donor base, a thank you letter for donations is the tool you need. 

 Your donors crave recognition, whether they’re aware of it or not. They don’t expect it, mind you, and their contributions aren’t contingent on getting the credit they’re “due.” It’s just human nature to want to feel good about the things you do. Recognizing a donor’s contribution with a card full of honest gratitude is an excellent way to spread “warm and fuzzies” and increase your donors’ engagement with your cause. 

 At Simply Noted, we’re thank you letter experts. We’ve generated hundreds of thousands of thank you cards with our state-of-the-art handwriting machines, so we’ve seen the full range of thank you sentiments. Read on to learn how to write the best thank you letter for donations. You can also learn how to end your thank you letters.

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TIPS FOR WRITING A GREAT THANK YOU LETTER FOR DONATIONS

Writing a potent thank you letter doesn’t have to be complicated. Try these tips to improve your fundraising efforts.

Focus on New Donors

In an ideal world, you would thank every donor every time. But financial realities can get the better of your outreach efforts. If you’re not in a position to send thank-yous to every supporter, concentrate on new donors.  Get the most bang for your donor communications.

Consistent donors demonstrate a willingness to give regularly, so they’re less likely to fall away without gratitude. You’ll get more bang for your buck building relationships with new donors.

Handwrite Your Cards

Maximizing the emotional impact of your thank you cards is critically important, so use handwritten cards. They resonate emotionally in a way that printed mailers can’t match. However, few organizations have the staffing necessary to write thank-yous by hand. To get your handwritten thank you cards created automatically, turn to Simply Noted. Our handwriting machines can create convincing, pen-written thank yous in any volume.

SEE ALSO:   Why Robots Are the Better Choice for Handwritten Notes

A woman warmly resting her head on a man's shoulder.

Make Them Personal

Don’t print a palette of generic thank you cards and mail them to every donor. They ring hollow because of their lack of personalization. Instead, personalize your thank yous with your recipients’ names and other personal details, like their donation amount of city of origin. Personalization creates a connection that helps boost future giving.

Use the Power of Stories

People want to know what their donations are accomplishing. They want to feel involved in something larger than themselves. You can paint a compelling picture for people through the power of narrative. Include stories about what you’re organization is doing, who you’re helping, and where you’re heading in the future. When you tell emotionally charged stories, you pull people in and give them a reason to donate in the future.

SEE ALSO:  How Nonprofits Can Boost Donations and Delight Volunteers

Eight Ways to Improve Your Writing in General

The foundation of any good communication is clear, concise text. Before you tackle your letter, make sure you take the following advice to express yourself clearly.

FOCUS ON READABILITY

If your text is too dense, readers will quickly tune out. So keep your sentences to no more than 25 words, and break up long paragraphs with shorter ones. Make sure you use simple language that everyone can understand, too.

USE ACTION WORDS

Whenever possible, replace passive verbs with active ones. This will make your sentences stronger, more direct, and easier to understand.

AVOID REDUNDANCY

Repeating yourself or using unnecessary words will make your writing tedious and lose the attention of readers quickly. Be concise and precise in every sentence.

EDIT AND REVISE

Even if you think you’ve written something perfect, it’s still worth going over your work one more time. Read through your writing slowly and edit any sentence or phrase that seems repetitive, awkward, or unnecessary. When you are done, read aloud to make sure everything sounds natural.

FOCUS ON YOUR AUDIENCE

Remember that the recipient of your letter is (usually) a person and not an institution. Talk to them directly, using “you” instead of “one” or “the reader.” And make sure you avoid jargon and technical terms that could be off-putting.

CONSIDER YOUR TONE

Written communication is often taken more seriously than verbal, so be sure to consider the tone of your letter. Keep it courteous and respectful, even if you disagree with the recipient’s views.

CHECK FOR ERRORS

Small typos or mistakes can cause confusion and make readers question your credibility. So make sure you proofread your work for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors before sending it off.

EXPRESS YOURSELF

Finally, don’t be afraid to inject some personality into your letters. Using humor or storytelling can help keep readers engaged while allowing them get to know more about you as a person.

Nine SAMPLE TEMPLATES TO GET YOU STARTED

Let’s see this advice in action. You can use these templates as-is or alter them fit your purposes. As long as you hold to the general structure, your thank you letters should be effective.  Use these letter templates for all of your donor appreciation needs.

Honor New Supporters for Their First Donation

When a new donor joins you, it’s important to show your sincere appreciation. New donors are most susceptible to losing interest and falling away. You need time to cultivate a long-lasting relationship so make sure they feel appreciated immediately. Celebrate their decision to invest in your cause, and they’ll likely become loyal supporters. 

 Dear Friend, 

 Thank you for joining our mission as a first-time donor! We truly appreciate your generosity and are grateful for your support. Your donation will help us provide valuable resources and services to those who need it most. Thank you again for joining our team of supporters and believing in the power of our mission! 

 Sincerely,       

 [Your name]

Recognizing Frequent Contributors

Recurring donations often form the foundation for an organization’s everyday operations. It’s crucial to recognize consistent benefactors regularly, both to remind them of their commitment as well as invigorate their devotion to your cause.

Dear [Donor’s name],  

 We love our longtime contributors here at [your organization’s name], and we wanted to recognize your continued support. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for four years of consistent donations. Your generous and predictable support is critical for maintaining basic operations as we strive to fulfill our mission. From all of us on the frontlines, we wish you the warmest of thank-yous.   

Sincerely,  

  [Your name]

An aid worker handing someone a food package.

Let Donors Know What You’re Accomplishing with Their Money

If you can get your donors excited about the good their donations are doing, they’ll happily give more! Mention specific gains your cause has made due to the generosity of your donors. You’ll be thanking them and priming them to give simultaneously. 

 Dear [Donor’s name],  

 We can’t thank you enough for your recent donation! We get to accomplish a lot of good in the world, and it’s all thanks to donors like you. In the last six months, we’ve been able to [include specific accomplishment] and [include a second accomplishment]. Each step brings us closer to realizing [include your organization’s driving purpose]. We’re so happy to have you onboard, making these exceptional gains possible. Thanks for your support!   

Sincerely,  

  [Your name]

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Mention Your Backer’s Gift

The unfortunate truth about charitable donations is that larger donations sometimes get bigger cheers, and that’s not fair. A wealthy person donating $10,000 is equivalent to someone of more modest means giving $100. Every contribution is meaningful because each is a sacrifice for the giver, regardless of the amount. By mentioning specific gifts, you’re letting your donors know that you appreciate them equally. 

 Dear [Donor’s name],  

 Charitable donations are a sacrifice. You give what you can to help others, and whether you can afford a little or a lot, the result is the same — good things happening in the world. We wanted to let you know how thankful we are for your recent $30 donation. It will join thousands of others to push us ever closer to [your organization’s primary mission]. Thanks for your generosity.   

Sincerely,    

[Your name]

SEE ALSO:  How to Write a Thank You Note - Best Tips and Examples

An older woman helped by charity.

Help Your Donors Meet Their Beneficiaries

Another way to spread the word about the good your donors accomplish is to introduce them to the people they’re helping. Include in your thank you letter for donations a note of gratitude directly from someone that benefited from the work you do. 

 Dear [Donor’s name],  

 At the end of our summer fund drive, we like to recognize committed donors like you and the people your generous donations help. Like Shelly, who [include a short description of how Shelly benefitted], or Steve who [tell Steve’s story in a sentence or two]. Your donation has forever improved their lives. So we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, but more importantly, so do Shelly and Steve. Let’s hear it in their own words. [Include quotes of gratitude from both beneficiaries] 

  Sincerely,    

[Your name]

Honor Your Major Donors

A major donor generally expects positive attention for their kind acts. Of course, you should thank all of your donors, but it can't hurt to lavish extra attention on those that make a generous donation. 

 Dear  [Donor’s name], 

 We are so humbled and honored by your continued support. Your recent donation of $1000 is an incredible show of generosity that will help us to continue our mission and make a positive difference in the world. We could not do what we do without you, and we cannot express how grateful we are for your commitment to our cause. Your investment in us will allow us to continue doing what we do best: making a world of difference. Thank you again for your generous gift! 

 Sincerely,   

 [Your name]

Send Warm Thanks to Your Recurring Donors

For donors that give on a regular basis, it’s important to express your appreciation for their consistent generosity. Let each ongoing monthly donor know how much you value their commitment and dedication. Honor your donor's gift, and they'll continue with you for years to come. A recurring donation is very valuable to your organization. 

Dear  [Donor’s name], 

 We at our organization want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your ongoing support! We are so grateful that you have chosen to invest in our mission month after month. Your consistent donations are essential in helping us achieve our goal and make a real difference in the world. With your help, we can continue to provide valuable resources and services to those who need it most. Thank you for being part of our team! 

 Sincerely,     

 [Your name]

Kicking Off a New Fundraising Campaign

When launching a new fundraising effort, it’s important to get your donors excited about the potential of what you can accomplish. Show them that their donation can make a real difference and inspire them to join your mission. 

 Dear [Donor’s name], 

 We are so thrilled to launch our new campaign! Our goal is ambitious: to raise enough moneyto provide essential resources to those in need. We believe that with your help, we can make a difference and achieve our goal. Your donations will mean so much – they will help us provide vital resources and services and make the world a better place. Please join us in making this dream a reality! 

 Sincerely,    

[Your name]

Honor Your Most Generous Donors

Some donors are incredibly generous and go above and beyond with the size of their donations. When you receive a substantial gift, it’s important to recognize and honor the donor for their commitment to your cause. Make sure they know they are appreciated and valued, and give them special recognition for their contribution. Showing your gratitude will encourage others to donate and keep the momentum going. 

 Dear   [Donor’s name], 

 We cannot thank you enough for your generous donation of $5000! Your commitment to our mission is inspiring and will have a real impact on the lives of those we serve. Your support is invaluable, and it means so much to us. We are incredibly grateful for your generous gift! 

 Sincerely,              ​ ​ 

 [Your name]​​ ​​

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