You’ve worked hard to bring in those donations and drive people to attend your event, but does the work stop there? Absolutely not. In fact, in a lot of ways it’s just starting.
When a donor makes a gift to your organization — especially if it’s their first one — you enter the stewardship phase. This is where you communicate with the donor, express your gratitude, and work on building and nurturing your relationship.
A well crafted, sincere, and meaningful thank you letter can be the difference between a one-time donor and someone who gives regularly for years, volunteers with your organization, and spreads the word about your work among their friends, family and colleagues.
Why Thank You Letters for Donations are Important
A great thank you letter is much more than just a receipt or confirmation that a transaction has taken place. Here are a few reasons why thank you letters are so important:
1. They allow you to express gratitude
There are thousands of other nonprofits and amazing causes out there, yet the donor chose to support yours. Use the thank you letter to express just how grateful you are for their contribution and reassure them that they made the right decision.
2. They make the donor feel valued
Your organization wouldn’t be able to do the work that you do without the support of donors. Make sure they know just how much you need and appreciate them by sending a sincere thank you letter.
3. They help nurture your relationship with the donor
Every interaction and piece of communication you send to the donor helps build your relationship with them. The first thank you letter you send is often the start of that relationship and will inspire the donor to keep giving and keep engaging with your organization.
Types of Thank You Letters for Donations
There are many different types of donations, and there are different thank you letters associated with each one. Here are some of the most common kinds of letters and when to send them:
Regular Gift: Send a physical thank you letter for any gift received and include a tax receipt.
Pledge gift: Send a thank you letter to individuals or organizations who make a pledge — a promise to donate a certain amount over a certain number of years. Don’t forget to send a separate thank you note after each of the installments comes in.
Fundraising: For donors who participate in fundraising campaigns, send a thank you letter to show appreciation for their support and effort in rallying the community. You can include a recap of the fundraising campaign and a personalized note about their impact, to show that they are part of something bigger.
In-kind gift: Send a thank you letter to individuals or organizations who make in-kind donations (for example, items donated to participants in your program or to sell at your auction).
Sponsorship: Send a special thank you to companies who sponsor your events and programs.
Event attendance: Send a thank you letter to every event attendee, especially if part of the ticket cost is considered a donation.
Major gift: For major donors who give a substantial amount and already have an established relationship with your organization, most templated letters will come across as insincere. Instead, consider asking your leadership to write a handwritten thank you note.
Best Practices For Your Nonprofit Thank You Letter
- Use the donor's name
- Send it promptly
- Show the impact of the donation
- Be warm and friendly
- Use donor-centered language (because of you, with your help, thanks to your support...)
- Include a tax receipt
- Update the letter monthly and for each event (recurring donors do not want to receive the same letter twice)
- Do NOT include a direct ask
Sample Thank You Letters For Nonprofits
To help you get inspired, I drafted three sample thank you letters — two for monetary donations, and one for in-kind donations that can be downloaded here.
If you need any assistance with drafting your letter or managing your donor database Schedule a planning meeting so that we can discuss your needs!