donor thank you letters

donor thank you letters – Pro Guide

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When someone donates to your organization, especially if it’s their first time, you enter the stewardship phase.

This is when you communicate with the donor, show your appreciation, and work on building a strong relationship.

The goal is to encourage the donor to continue giving and actively participate in your community for many years to come. And it all starts with a thank you letter.

A well-written thank you letter that is genuine and meaningful can make a huge difference. It can turn a one-time donor into someone

who gives regularly, volunteers with your organization, and tells their friends and family about the great work you’re doing.

Are you wondering how to write such a letter? Keep reading to discover our top 15 tips for writing the perfect thank you letter.

You’ll also find three inspiring letter samples and three customizable templates that you can use right away to express your gratitude to your donors.

The importance of writing donor thank you letters:

The importance of writing donor thank you letters

Creating an impactful thank you letter for a donation goes beyond just encouraging more generosity. It is an essential practice that fosters a sense of belonging and significance among your donors. Imagine yourself in their position: You contribute even a small amount to a cause close to your heart.

What would make you feel more valued: receiving no communication from the organization (or worse, a generic “Dear Friend” letter) or receiving a personalized, well-crafted thank you letter that places your donation within a broader context and empowers you to believe in the impact of your support?

We believe the latter option resonates with you. Now, where do you begin in crafting the most heartfelt expression of gratitude that will leave a lasting impression on your donors?

Inspiring Ways to Elevate the Impact of Your Donation Thank You Letters and Cultivate Lifelong Supporters:

Inspiring Ways to Elevate the Impact of Your Donation Thank You Letters and Cultivate Lifelong Supporters:

Following are some ways for donor thank you letters 

Add a Personal Touch

The most important advice we can offer is to make it personal, personal, personal! Avoid using generic “dear supporter” letters that make your donors feel anything but special.

Once you have their name and donation details, make an effort to communicate with them as you would with a close friend.

This will make them feel like a unique individual, not just another faceless contributor. To develop a deeper understanding of your donors, refer to our comprehensive guide on creating donor personas.

Highlight the Difference

This is where your storytelling abilities come into play. Describe the projects and missions that the donation will support, emphasizing the positive impact it will make.Phrases like “Your kind donation helps us to…” are very important.

Take a look at the example below from Doc Wayne Youth Services—they even include a heartfelt message from one of the children who will benefit from the funds. This effectively demonstrates the tangible impact of donations!

Separate the Tax Receipt

The tax receipt is an email or attachment that confirms the donation details, and sometimes it’s sent together with the thank you letter. However, this approach can appear formal and rigid.

Instead, it’s best to keep the tax information separate and infuse the thank you letter with your organization’s unique personality! You don’t want your supporters to perceive your nonprofit as solely focused on transactions.

Share the Appreciation on Social Media

Encourage your donors to share their donation experiences on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook (and make sure they follow your organization there!). Make it effortless for them by including social sharing options on the thank you landing page.

People love to showcase the good causes they support, whether it’s through a pre-written tweet, a special photo filter on Facebook, or an enjoyable picture they can share on their Instagram accounts.

Understand Your Tone

To effectively connect with each recipient, tailor the writing style of your thank you letter accordingly. Refer to your donor personas to determine which tone would resonate best with different individuals.

For instance, the letter you send to a youth volunteer may not be the same as the one you send to a major corporate donor.

Keep your donor persona guide handy while crafting the language in your letter, ensuring you strike the right balance between being direct and lighthearted.

Add a Personal Signature

Avoid creating the impression of a generic, mass-produced letter. Personalize your thank you by having it signed by an individual rather than the organization as a whole.

Aim high and consider having a director or CEO of your organization sign the letters—it leaves a strong impression.

This demonstrates your organization’s commitment to acknowledging donors and highlights the value you place on expressing gratitude.

Ensure Your Thank You Letter Team is Prepared

Make sure you have a designated team responsible for signing the thank you letters. It’s essential to outline the process in advance to avoid last-minute scrambling or, worse, leaving the task undone because it slipped someone’s mind.

To save time, consider drafting and getting approval for your thank you letter before your initial donor meeting. This way, you can promptly send it after the excitement of receiving a significant contribution!

Consider a Greeting-Card Style

As suggested by Kivi Leroux Miller in her article “9 Clever Ways to Thank Your Donors,” adopt a warm and friendly approach reminiscent of a Hallmark card rather than using formal, technical language.

Keep the message short, genuine, and welcoming. Imagine the type of thank you that you would appreciate receiving yourself.

While it’s okay to be more direct when the situation calls for it, such as when addressing a major corporate donor, it’s still important to maintain a human touch.

Create a Personalized Video Message

Take advantage of the cost-effective and popular medium of online videos. Your staff members can use a smartphone or laptop to create heartfelt and authentic “thank you” videos.

Consider making custom videos where staff directly address donors, expressing gratitude in a sincere or humorous manner, or both! You can even explore platforms like Instagram or Snapchat to create short messages that can be easily shared on social media.

Promote Your Nonprofit’s Social Media

Harness the power of social media by including links to your organization’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other platforms at the end of your donor thank you letter.

Encourage donors to connect with you on social media and sign up for more information. If you haven’t already, it’s a great opportunity to establish social media accounts for your nonprofit.

This not only helps spread awareness of your good work but also provides another avenue for expressing your heartfelt appreciation.

Provide Specific Details

Donors crave personalized information about the impact of their contributions. Make sure to segment your donors based on the funds and programs they supported.

Tailor your thank you letter to provide specific details about their impact on the particular program they contributed to, rather than general information.

By focusing your thank you letter content on what truly matters to individual donors, you’ll ensure that their attention is drawn to the aspects that hold significance to them.

Tell a Compelling Story

Your donor thank you letter is an excellent opportunity for engaging storytelling. Take inspiration from the example below, where Toronto Cat Rescue explains how funds will be utilized, shares a story about a foster cat and the nonprofit’s assistance, and reinforces how donations contribute to the cause.

The charity even encourages readers to follow their social media accounts—a best practice that holds great value!

Ideas for Writing Your Donation Thank You Letter

Ideas for Writing Your Donation Thank You Letter

When it comes to fundraising, two main functions are crucial: attracting new donors and keeping existing donors engaged (and encouraging further donations).

If you focus solely on acquiring new donors, your existing support base may weaken and dwindle over time.It’s crucial to put in extra hard work to ensure your kind donations keep coming in and grow.

Donation thank you letters offer a straightforward way to foster ongoing communication with your current donors while cultivating a sense of gratitude that can inspire future contributions.

These letters show your donors that they are valued and provide specific details about the positive impact their gifts are making.

Showcasing the Impact of Donors’ Contributions in Thank You Letters

Donation thank you letters that highlight the positive outcomes made possible by donors’ contributions can be incredibly inspiring. Remember, they donated because they believe in your mission.

When you demonstrate how their funds are making a difference, it keeps them engaged and enthusiastic about supporting your cause. Feel free to use these templates as a guide for your “thank you for your donation” letters:

Dear [Donor’s Name],

We want to sincerely thank you for your kind and generous donation!It’s because of donors like you that we are able to carry out our important work. Your contribution is playing a vital role in achieving [specific goal], and it is also propelling us closer to our overarching mission as an organization.

We are thrilled that you have chosen to join us on this journey, and we look forward to nurturing a long and fruitful relationship. Once again, thank you!


[Your Name]

Recognizing Your Loyal Supporters in Thank You Letters

It’s important to give special recognition to your recurring donors. By acknowledging their ongoing support,

you show them that their commitment hasn’t gone unnoticed and encourage them to continue their contributions.

Here’s a sample donor acknowledgement letter that will help strengthen the dedication of each recurring donor to your cause:

Dear [Donor’s Name],

We want to take a moment to express our heartfelt gratitude for your consistent support of our organization.

Your recent online donation marks the third consecutive year that you have generously contributed to our fall fund drive.

It is the unwavering dedication of long-time donors like you that keeps our organization thriving and enables us to fulfill our mission. From all of us here at [Your Organization’s Name], we extend our sincerest thanks!


[Your Name]

Creating Personal Connections in Your Fundraising Efforts

To encourage repeat donations, it’s valuable to introduce your donors to the individuals their contributions have directly impacted.

By personalizing their experience and expressing gratitude for the specific good their donation has achieved, you can foster a deeper emotional connection to your cause.

Here’s an example of a letter that provides a relatable story and reminds donors of the reason they embraced your cause:

Dear [Donor’s Name],

We want to express our sincere appreciation for your recent donation! Your generosity is making a real difference in the lives of people within your community and across the country.

Let us share the stories of Leslie and John with you, whose lives have been positively transformed because of the efforts of dedicated volunteers and the support our organization provides.

It’s because of compassionate individuals like you that we are able to create such impact. Please accept our heartfelt thanks today and in the future!


[Your Name]

Express Gratitude for Every Donation, Regardless of Size

It’s important to show appreciation for every donor, regardless of the amount they contribute. Even a small donation holds great significance for some individuals, and they make sacrifices to support your cause.

Therefore, it’s crucial to acknowledge and praise both multi-thousand dollar donors and those who contribute smaller amounts. Mentioning the specific gift amount in your thank you note demonstrates that each donation is valued individually.

This approach fosters donor retention and cultivates a sense of appreciation. Remember, the ultimate goal is to establish recurring donations.

Dear [Donor’s Name],

We wanted to express our heartfelt gratitude for your recent contribution, which we received yesterday. Your generous gift of $25 is incredibly meaningful and will have a profound impact on those in need.

We are already channeling these funds into critical projects that align with our primary goal of [your organization’s primary goal]. Your support is making a difference, and we cannot thank you enough!


[Your Name]


1. Why are donor thank you letters important?

 Donor thank you letters build strong relationships and encourage continued support by showing appreciation and turning donors into long-term supporters.

2. How can I write an effective thank you letter?

To write an effective thank you letter, make it personal, highlight the impact of their donation, tell stories that connect donors to the cause, and separate the tax receipt.



Donor thank you letters are important for building strong relationships and encouraging continued support.

These letters show appreciation to donors and aim to turn them into long-term supporters who actively engage with your organization.

A well-written and personalized thank you letter can make a big difference, inspiring donors to give regularly, volunteer, and spread the word about your work.

To write an effective thank you letter, it’s crucial to make it personal and avoid using generic greetings. Highlight the impact their donation will make and tell stories that connect donors to the cause.

Separate the tax receipt from the thank you letter to maintain a personal touch. Encourage donors to share their experiences on social media and tailor the tone and content of the letter to different donors.

Add a personal signature and ensure your thank you letter team is prepared to send them promptly. Consider adopting a warm and friendly greeting-card style and use personalized video messages to express gratitude.

Promote your nonprofit’s social media accounts and provide specific details about the impact of donors’ contributions. Finally, tell compelling stories in your letters and acknowledge and thank loyal recurring donors regardless of the donation size.

By following these tips, you can create impactful thank you letters that cultivate lifelong supporters and express gratitude to your donors.

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