Home Donor Management How To Write A Donor-Centered Thank You Letter

How To Write A Donor-Centered Thank You Letter

by Eric Burgess

By and large, donors are generous and caring people who unselfishly give money to support your cause. They usually ask for nothing in return, but when donors receive a well-written thank you letter, it reminds them why they gave in the first place, which often helps to secure continual gifts from them in the future.

Let’s take a few minutes and review the sample thank you letter below. Afterward, we’ll go part by part to explain and highlight the important aspects of each section.

Sample Thank You Letter

Mr./Mrs. First and Last Name of Donor or Name of Organization
City, State, Zip

Dear [Donor Name or Organization Name],

Thanks to you, Felicia is busy planning her future.

This year she’ll be graduating from St. Joseph’s University—the first in her family to graduate college. She’s applied to nine medical schools with plans of becoming a pediatrician. In 2001 when Felicia began the [XYZ] program, thoughts of becoming a doctor had never entered her head.

Her parents had arrived in the United States from Jamaica. “They’ve supported me in everything I’ve ever wanted to do,” she says, “but they’ve never been to college.”

Your gift of [$X] has helped to buy the books, pay the teachers’ stipends and grow our summer programming so kids like Felicia have a chance.

We look forward to sharing the program’s success with you in our quarterly newsletter. In the meantime, if you would like to schedule a visit to see firsthand the difference your gift is making, please contact [Mary Development at 555.555.5555].

Again, we’d like to offer our sincere thanks for all your support throughout the years.


Your Signature

Johnny Q., President
City, State, Zip

Sections Of A Good Letter

First, the letter starts out with a strong opening that focuses on the donor, saying, “Thanks to you.” The key here is to make it about them and make them feel special.

Second, the thank you letter tells a story and lets the donor know exactly what you’ll do with their donation. After all, almost everyone who donates to a cause wants to know their money was put to good use.

Third, the letter tells the reader when they can expect to hear from you, and it offers a phone number and a contact person. Again, it’s written in a very personal way, and it provides an open invitation for them to reach out to you if they have any questions.

Fourth, the donor’s loyalty is acknowledged. You could even take it one step further and note the exact number of years they’ve contributed. There’s nothing more upsetting to a donor than getting a cookie-cutter letter that doesn’t call this loyalty out.

Finally, someone from within the highest ranks of the organization signs the letter. Generic letters from your organization’s administrator are no fun. Make your letter count by having it signed by the president or executive director.

That’s all there is to it. If you like the sample letter we used, feel free to borrow from it and utilize parts of it for your next thank you letter.

If you found this helpful, check out the recording of our latest fundraising webinar, “10 Things You Can Do Now To Jumpstart Your Fundraising.“, or our article about donor-centered fundraising.

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