How To Thank Your Donor Like You Mean It

Did you ever receive a thank-you note from a child you had given a present and thought, “His mother made him write that”?

Awkward thank-yous from a child can be cute. From a nonprofit, to its donors, they’re a turn-off.

Why Thanking Donors Well is Worth It

Whether it’s a first-time donor or a loyal friend of your organization, nothing will help you renew their support next time like a good thank-you.

When a donor sends a first-time gift, he or she is testing you. Will your nonprofit even notice the donation? Will you thank them? Will you show them that the gift they just made was a good decision?

If the donor has given previously, they are expressing even more warmth toward your organization by renewing their gift. Will you notice the relationship progressing? Or will you treat them the same way as if this were the very first time you had heard from them?

Too many of us in the nonprofit world are sending perfunctory thank-yous, both to first-time and renewal donors. Our letters sound like “His mother made him write that”—or the IRS did.

If you send thanks that sound sincere, authentic, and human, you will:

  • Make it much more likely that your donor will send another donation
  • Increase the lifetime value of the donor to your organization
  • Make your own day happier!

Say Thanks Like You Mean It, in Writing

You can write your donors the ideal thank-you letter in just a little longer than it takes to send a tax receipt. Feeling stuck? Get started with Pamela Grow’s Donation Thank-You Letter Template.

You can also say thanks by email. If you’re struggling with how to create thoughtful donor thank yous, below are six ways you can write an email that your nonprofit will be proud to send out:

  1. Customize your email to make it personal.
  2. Keep your email short and to the point.
  3. Use a conversational tone.
  4. Make a great first impression.
  5. Let donors know where the money is going.
  6. Don’t ask for more money.

Actions Thank Louder than Words

If you really want to show how much you value your donor, go beyond words on paper or on a screen. Here are some actions you can take to say thanks, loud and clear.

This year, put away childish things like the thank-you that you had to write, and let real gratitude create a relationship of trust between you and your donors.

John Haydon