Ever since you were a kid, you were taught to say thank you for any gifts you got from anyone around you. Running a nonprofit is no different. When donors give gifts, you should thank them for it.
Research shows about 65% of first-time donors don’t return, and that 80% of these donors would be convinced into making a second donation if they received a thank you. This shows that something as simple as a ‘thank you’ letter can bring in more funds into your nonprofit.
But how to go about crafting them? You could find a template or a sample ‘thank you’ letter that addresses donors and use it as a guide.
Regardless of whether you start from scratch or get help, there are some things to keep in mind.
Make it personal. Personalizing your letters to the individual donor will make them feel special and acknowledged.
Demonstrate the impact. Use your storytelling skills to let your donors know what they managed to do for society with the money they contributed. Toronto Cat Rescue does this brilliantly in their ‘thank you’ letter.
Keep the tax receipt separate. Don’t send the donation receipt along with the ‘thank you’ letter, but attach it to another email or send it as a separate letter.
Sign it personally. You don’t want to make your ‘thank you’ letter look like you took it off a conveyer belt. By signing it personally, you show that your organization takes its donors seriously and give them importance.
Add an invitation. Use your ‘thank you’ letter to invite your donors to support you in a way that doesn’t involve another donation. By getting them to sign a petition, attend a free event, or follow your social media, you can invite them to do more while thanking them at the same. Helping Hands Monkey College did just this in their ‘thank you’ letter.
Personalize the opening. Don’t go for something typical, and don’t make all your thank you letters the same. Change it around a bit and use expressions that have a more personalized feel, such as ‘you made my day!’ If the first line that your donor sees in their inbox is interesting, they’d think the rest of the email is also worth reading. Nevada Public Radio uses this technique in their ‘thank you’ letter.
Customize it. When you write your letter, be sure to utilize software that allows you to customize what you’re sending out, so it includes features of your nonprofit such as logos, design, etc. This helps your letter stand out to make your donors more likely to read it because they will instantly know it’s from you. Guide Dogs of America formatted their letter with their logo and photos of their puppies to catch attention.
‘Thank you’ letters are an important part of your donor retention strategy, so you have to be sure not to fall short on this step.