To show your donors that you appreciate them and their efforts, you should send thank you letters immediately. Although your nonprofit purpose, and hence the type of donation, may vary, the basic goal is to say ‘thank you for your donation’. Email templates are easy to find but for a truly meaningful thank you letter, you should consider a few things.
Firstly, you should know some things about the person you’re thanking:
- Who is the donor?
- Which campaign did they donate to?
- How will you make their gift impactful to your cause?
Knowing the answers to these questions lets you craft the kind of thank you that shows the donors that you appreciate their gifts and that it is important to your nonprofit.
Who is the donor?
A scripted, form letter is easy to recognize. Whether it’s a direct letter or an email, a generic greeting followed by something vague is a dead giveaway of the fact that the message is not personal. In a thank you letter, this lack of specificity undermines the gratitude.
You want to address your supporters with their name, and not with a generic label like ‘donor’. This shows your donors that they are not nameless, faceless figures, but important and indispensable members of your community.
However, you can also easily use commands to add a name to a form letter. What truly makes recognition personal is when you know and reference the history you have with your donor. This detail shows that you’re listening and paying attention to your donors and that you care.
Which campaign did they give to?
When thanking someone for a gift they gave you, you need to mention what gift it was. It’s a personal touch to show that you appreciate their gift specifically. Similarly, when thanking donors, you should mention the program or campaign they contributed to, to show that you appreciate their donation for you cause.
You can also update them on the results of the campaign and remind them of how they supported the cause and the impact it had. This also helps strengthen the connection they have with your work.
Don’t ask for another donation in your thank you message. You want to appreciate what they’ve done and the difference it will make, not ask them to do more.
How will you make their gift impactful to your cause?
A good thank you message leaves the donor feeling like they’ve made an accomplishment, or done something to move your cause forward. This is why you must explain how you will put their donation to good use.
Naturally, this will follow the part where you acknowledge the donation to a specific campaign or program. However, you should get more specific. You should tell the donor how their contribution is going to add to your cause. Whether it’s to feed the hungry, or the location of where you’re planning to build the old home. You need to help them envision the future they are helping you create.
You should also consider the tone and language you use. How you say something sometimes makes more of a difference than what you say. At the end of the message, add a point of contact. Receiving a thank you from an individual is more impactful than a thank you from an organization.