Thank You Letters for Donations: How To Get Them Right

by Nicola Scoon on Nov 24, 2020 1:54:30 AM

Sending thank you letters for donations should be a major part of your donor retention and engagement strategy. Send them out quickly and with heart, and you’re off to a great start when it comes to creating a loyal supporter for the future. 

To help you perfect your thank you letter approach, we’ve brought together our best tips, ideas, and examples. Here’s our guide to writing and sending thank you letters for donations. 


How To Write Thank You Letters for Donations

Sending a donor thank you letter should be easy. Turns out, they can be easy to get wrong — especially if you try to overcomplicate things. 

Not sure where to get started? Here are our best tips for writing thank you letters for donations. 


Have a Process

Your goal is to welcome as many donations as possible. Without a process and with donations rolling in, sending out thank you letters could quickly become challenging. Set up a process now and see the benefits as you collect more and more donations. You don’t have to make things complicated. 

An understanding of who will manage the donation thank you letters, who will sign them, and how they’ll be sent is often all you need. Think about whether you’ll send handwritten notes, emails, or thank you videos. Next, give someone the responsibility of making sure all your letters go out on time and with the right details. If you’re sending handwritten notes, make sure someone’s available at a regular time each day or week to sign them. 


Send Them Quickly

You want to thank your donors as soon as possible. Aim to get your thank you letters for donations out the door within 24-72 hours at most. This means your donors will get that warm, fuzzy feedback fast. 

With online donations received through donation forms, you could automate most of the process using software and automated email sequences. This gets your thank you notes out almost instantly. For gifts received in person or through different means, you’ll need to make sure you can turn around those thank you letters nice and quickly. 


Focus on Gratitude

Thank you letters for donations: Woman presses palms to her heart

Thank you letters should be just that — thank you letters. Don’t be tempted to use this as an opportunity to make a new donation request or make another ask. Instead, your thank you letter for donations should focus solely on gratitude. 

Keep your letters short and simple. Express your thanks, talk a little about the project they’re supporting, and end with an open invitation to stay in touch. Send any donation receipts separately, and avoid overcomplicating your letter with calls to promote a fundraising campaign on social media, join your membership program, or come to your next event. There’s space for all that in your future donor engagement efforts. 


Personalize Your Thank You Letter

Donors don’t want to feel like a nameless figure sending money into the abyss. Especially if they’re a first-time donor. They want to feel special, recognized, and valued for their contributions. An easy way to do this is through personalization. 

One of the simplest ways to personalize your thank you letter is by referencing the donor’s name. If you have the data, you could also thank them for donating towards a specific program or reference the way they donated. If you can, include a reference to how long they’ve been a donor or reflect on an interaction you’ve had previously. Make them feel like they’re more than just a number on a screen. 


Share the Impact

Often people donate because they’re passionate about a cause, project, or program. Give your supporters a little look behind the scenes and make a reference to the impact their donation will have on the work you’re doing. 

Share that their donation will help you fund a support pack for a family in need or that it’ll go towards the construction of a much-needed facility. This can really help people visualize the impact their donation will have and could encourage them to consider giving again in the future. 


Be Warm and Welcoming

Some thank you letters for donations can end up feeling a little stiff and corporate. Make sure yours doesn’t by being warm and using friendly, casual language to thank your donors. Let your words add a personal touch to what can often feel like a transactional message.

Banish any corporate jargon and stick to familiar words that we all know and love. Think about the language your donors use and how they’d like to communicate with you, then bring that to your donation thank you letters. Don’t be afraid to go a little overboard with expressing your thanks if that’s your organization’s style and your supporters love it. 


Add Photos and Graphics

If your supporters donate to a handful of organizations, they’ll probably end up with a growing pile of thank you letters. Sometimes it’s hard to tell these apart — lines of text on white paper can all merge into one. Help your thank you letters for donations stand out and help build those donor relationships faster by adding some color and interest with photos and graphics.

Share some photos that tell the story of the impact their donation will make. Share a glimpse behind the scenes at construction of a building, a fundraising event, or your senior team. Include infographics that demonstrate impact and value, or warm, fuzzy emojis if that matches your brand style. 

Of course, the ultimate way to make your thank you letters stand out is to make the switch to sending personalized thank you videos. More on that later. 


Think About Your Subject Line

While some organizations send out handwritten notes, a lot of us have swapped to sending emails to express gratitude. They’re fast, easy to automate, and give your donors the opportunity to quickly respond if they want to. 

To help your message stand out, you’ll want to think about your thank you email subject line. People get hundreds of emails a day, and it’s easy to get lost in the noise. Keep your subject line short, sweet, and to the point so your letter stands a better chance of being opened. 


How To Bring Your Gratitude to Life Using Video

Thank you letters for donations: Blogger recording video

There’s just something extra heartwarming about watching someone smile as they say thank you. That’s the kind of feeling you can’t easily replicate with text. But, it’s easy to make the move to sending thank you videos instead. Here are some ideas on how to make the most of it. 


Feature a Senior Figure

It isn’t always easy to pin down your nonprofit’s leader to sign hundreds of thank you letters for donations. It is, however, much easier to schedule a one-off appointment in their calendar to film a segment for a video. 

Sending your donors thanks right from the top of your organization can have a greater impact. Hearing thanks from your leader for their contribution — no matter how small — is much more heartwarming for a donor than receiving a generic letter from an unnamed source. 


Include Clips That Show the Impact

Sure, you can share in words the impact that a supporter’s gift might make to a project, but nothing tells a story better than video. Bring your donors with you as you share video clips of the people who benefit directly from what you do. 

Get into the habit of creating video content everywhere you go. Film clips on the ground at fundraisers and show your teams delivering programs in the community. Ask beneficiaries if you can film testimonials and case studies of their experiences to help show just how much your donors’ support means. Over time you’ll build up a library of footage that you can edit together to form a powerful thank you video. 


Personalize Your Video Message 

Just like you can’t always sign every thank you letter by hand, you can’t always film a unique video for every donor. If you can that’s amazing, but sometimes time gets in the way of what we’d love to do. 

Luckily, our automated video platform makes it easy for you to personalize videos in moments. With our Dynamic Personalization, we’ll take you through a simple process that produces uniquely personalized videos that can reference a donor’s name, amount given, and other data. We’ll guide you through the filming, do all the tech wizardry, and deliver videos that are ready to go. Personalized video messages, without the endless filming commitment. 


Sample Thank You Letter Templates

giving a thank you card

So you’re clear on the basics now: You want to send a heartfelt thank you letter that’s simple, full of gratitude, and doesn’t overcomplicate things. But how do you structure it? And what words should you use? Here are some donation thank you letter examples to guide you. 

Filming thank you videos instead? Use these donation letter templates as the basis for a short and sweet video script. 


One-Off Donations

Show that you’re grateful for your donor’s kind contribution by sending a short, impact-driven thank you letter or email. 

Dear [Name],

Thank you so much for your generous gift to [Organization]. It means a lot that you’ve chosen to support us on our quest to reach [Fundraising Goal]. 

Your donation today will help us [Problem Being Solved]. We’ve done great work in this area already, as you can see from the photos below. This wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of kind-hearted people like you. 

We’re grateful for your support today, [Name], and wish you all the best for the future. 

If you’d like to find out more about the positive impact of your donation, you’re welcome to contact me any time. 


[Your Name]

[Organization Name]

[Contact Information]


Recurring Donations

Sometimes donors will sign up to a recurring donation program or monthly membership. In this case you won’t want to send them the same thank you letter every month. Instead, send one thank you letter to recurring donors at the start, followed by smaller monthly updates that keep them in the loop about what’s going on. 

Dear [Name],

We’re so grateful that you’re here with us again this month! Your ongoing contributions towards [Cause] don’t go unnoticed. Your support helps us make a vital difference every month. 

Last month, your charitable donation helped us do [Activity]. Below you’ll find the link to a video interview with [Person’s Name] who was directly helped by the project. 

This month, your donation of [Amount] will help us [Problem Being Solved]. This support from our community means that together we can help change the lives of others. 

Thank you for your continued support as we work towards [Goal]. 


[Your Name]

[Organization Name]

[Contact Information]


In-Kind Donations

Not every donation will be financial. Often people or organizations will rally around you to donate items or services in kind. This could be anything from IT support to valuable items to raise money at a charity auction.

While this could be a one-off donation, the right approach could help transition this donation into a corporate giving partnership or sponsorship. 

Here’s how to thank your corporate friends and individual donors for their donations in kind.

Dear [Name],

Thank you so much for your very generous donation of [Equipment/Service]. This will allow us to [Action] and make a bigger, better impact on the world around us. 

As a nonprofit organization we’re grateful that instead of investing funds in the [Equipment/Service] you’ve generously donated, we can pour more of our resources into our support programs. This will help us reach our goal of [Goal] even faster. 

Thank you once again for your support. If you’d like to find out more about us and what we do, you’re welcome to contact me at any time. 


[Your Name]

[Organization Name]

[Contact Information]


Delight Your Donors With Personalized Thank You Letters

We all want to feel special — especially when we’re donating towards a cause that we’re passionate about. Repay that feeling and surprise your donors by sending out timely, heartfelt, personalized thank you letters. 

Keep your letters focused on gratitude, full of warm words, and sprinkled with stories about how your supporters’ donations make a difference. Jazz up your email with photos, or go one step further and send personalized thank you videos — without the hassle of filming hundreds of times. To find out more about how we can help you surprise and delight your donors, book a demo with our team today.