How to write thank you letters for a donation
Did you just receive a generous donation from a member of your community? No doubt, you’re feeling happy, grateful, proud and thrilled, and already looking forward to investing the generous gift in growing your organization.
The donor is probably experiencing similar feelings - proud and thrilled to be able to give generously and excited to see how their donation will make a positive impact.
It’s important to acknowledge this exchange and thank the donor formally so they realize just how grateful you really are. Not only is it simply good manners, but it’s a major step towards strengthening donor relations, building and nurturing what will hopefully be a fruitful and long-term partnership that leads to many more donations.
In fact, research from the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy found that donors who received an extra thank you letter gave 60% larger gifts than those who did not.
So, in this article we’ll look more at thank you letters for donations. We’ll cover:
- What is a donor acknowledgement letter?
- Why are donation thank you letters important?
- Types of thank you letters for donation
- 10 things to say in a donation thank you letter
- 3 - 5 great thank you letters for a donation
If you want an easy way to take your donations to the next level, you can’t afford to overlook thank you letters. Let’s dive in!
What is a donor acknowledgement letter?
A donation acknowledgment letter, or donation thank you letter, is an important piece of communication- sent as a physical letter or email - given to donors after they have made a donation, charitable gift, or other non-cash contribution. Sometimes it may include a donation tax receipt, although often a donation thank you letter is a separate piece of communication used only to thank the donor for their contribution. It should be sent to both first-time donors and those that are making a repeat donation.
Donor acknowledgement letters build rapport with your nonprofit and are an essential part of your non profit communications plan.
Why are donation thank you letters important?
Many organizations believe sending thank you letters is not worth the time and money. But they’re not considering the return on investment these letters can provide. Research from The Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy found that thank you letters “have the potential to increase average donation amount and response rate, as well as how competent donors feel in making a difference, how well they feel their donations allow them to express their beliefs and how connected they feel they are to the cause they support and to others that they care about.”
In the same way as you would thank a friend for giving you a birthday present, it’s also socially expected to thank people for doing something kind - such as making a donation. Not only does it show gratitude, but it makes the giver feel good about what they’ve done, and in the case of donations, hopefully do it again!
A good thank you letter should do the above listed things, and thus should increase retention and donor life-time value. Master how to say thank you for donations and you’ll reap the rewards!
Types of thank you donation letters
There are many occasions you may want to send out a thank you letter. Here are just a few examples:
- Donor donation thank you letter
- Sponsorship thank you letter
- Attendance thank you letter
- Business contribution thank you letter
- In kind donation thank you letter
- Recurring donation thank you letter
- Church thank you letter
- Thank you letter from one person to another
- Thank you letter for supporting a crowdfunding campaign
- Thank you letter for volunteers
- Thank you letter for fundraising event
Writing a professional thank you letter is the best way to express your thanks, so find out what exactly to include in your donation thank you letters to enhance your donor communication.
10 things to write in a donation thank you letter
- Their first name: Always include the donor's name in the letter greeting. Most programs have mail merge so it’s as simple as clicking a button. This is an easy way to make the donor feel special and can be a great way to build positive relationships from the start.
- Donation amount: Including the $ amount of the donation serves as a reminder for any donor on how much they gave and how it impacted your organization.
Your donor is the hero here, so you should use language that highlights that. Focus on making donors realize what a difference they’ve made with their generous gift. If you’re unsure how to do this, just try to replace “we” and “us” with “you”.
- You allowed us to feed 1000 hungry families last month.
- Your generosity was greatly appreciated.
- Thank you for your leadership and support.
- Your commitment made this happen.
4. Because: Research suggests that using the word ‘because’ when voicing a request will lead to better results. Make it clear why you’re asking for donations and explain why using the word ‘because’ to boost donations.
5. Quick/immediate: Increase the feeling of instant gratification by highlighting how quickly a donation will be put to use. Something like ‘We will be able to start work on the new building immediately thanks to your donation” will do the trick.
6. 100%: Many people are reluctant to donate because they are wary of how much actually gets through to the cause, as opposed to being spent on admin and staff wages. Reassure donors by saying “100% of your donation will be used to feed the hungry.” Using donations from major corporations to pay for the day-to-day running costs will ensure this message is truthful.
7. A personal story: People don’t donate to faceless organizations or buildings, they give to people. So always remember to include a story about how much the organization has helped someone, instead of just rattling off a list of numbers.
8. Contact name: It’s always a good idea to personalize your letter by adding your name, signature and job title at the end of the letter. This not only personalizes the letter, it also gives donors an idea of who to speak to if they wish to learn more.
9. Signature: Make the effort to sign the thank you letter with a real signature. If you have thousands of letters to sign, you can use a digital signature.
10. Simply thank them: This is not the time to ask them to donate again, this is simply a thank you.
3 great thank you for donation letter examples
Non profit appreciation thank you letter for donation
Dear [First name],
Thank you so much for your generous donation of $X in support of our new program - Family Feed Boxes.
Your gift is already being used to create and deliver over 200 family feed boxes every day to local families. 100% of funds raised for the Family Feed Boxes is being spent on purchasing additional food, fuel and other essentials that we need to ensure no one has to go hungry.
We wanted to share a recent message we received from a very grateful recipient.
“I honestly can’t say thank you enough for our food box delivery. It enabled us to cook some of the healthiest, filling meals our young family of four has had in ages, and it meant our kids didn’t have to go to school hungry. In these tough times, it means so much to us to know that people care. Thank you!!”
Receiving notes like this goes to show just how much your donation makes a difference in your community.
Thank you again, and we look forward to sharing more updates and news with you in the future.
Church thank you letter for donation
Dear [First name],
We would like to express our deepest gratitude for your recent contribution to the St John Church Summer Program. Your donation is very important to our congregation. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to send 10 of our youth members to the St John Church summer program. This would not have been possible without your support.
One of the attendees, Chris, wanted to share his gratitude.
“I was so happy and blessed when I found I would be able to attend the summer program. It was such a fun two weeks spent in nature. I loved learning how to build huts, fishing in the river, singing by the campfire and cooking a barbecue. It was also nice to be able to give back and spend the afternoon with the residents at the Paradise Retirement Home. So thank you to everyone who helped make this happen! I will never forget it.”
We always believe that activities such as this help promote the word of God, it forms happy and healthy communities and peace and love. I hope you can continue to support us in activities that promote the teachings of God in the future.
May this letter serve as a receipt for your donation:
We are very blessed to have you in our congregation. Thank you again for your generous support and I look forward to working with you again in the future.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
Thank you donation email
Dear [First name],
Thank you for choosing [organization name]. Your monthly contributions of $x will help to save and protect children in the world’s harshest regions, children who face significant and life-threatening dangers every day.
Your donations enable us to respond to urgent needs, providing aid and safety to those at risk.
You will receive monthly email updates informing you more about how your donation is making a difference, the types of challenging realities we face, and how your support enables us to overcome these challenges.
[insert photo or video link]
You can also follow us on social media at [link] or read our blog at [link] to keep up to date with our recent work.
Thank you again for supporting [organization name].
Make an even bigger difference here [Link to donate].
Reduce the amount of time and effort you spend asking for donations by focusing your efforts on improving your relationships with existing donors. A thoughtful, personalized and timely donation thank you letter can be one simple way to do this.
It will make the donor feel valued, proud and recognized, keeping them invested in your organization for years to come and hopefully generating extra ongoing donations.
Read more helpful articles on our blog:
- How to write a donation request letters + 6 sample letter templates you can use
- What is an in kind donation?
- 10 Important Steps to Planning a Fundraiser
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