10 Ways to Say Thank You

Your thank you letter has a 2-fold purpose:  (1) to say thank you to your donor; and (2) to provide a bridge to future support. Here are 10 Tips for making your thank you letter just right.

1. Get that Thank You Letter to Your Donor ASAP

Get your thank you letter in the mail within 48 hours of receipt of the donation The sooner the donor receives it, the more impressed the donor will be, and reassured that the donation got to you safely.

2. Do Not Send Generic Thank You Letter

Personalize it with the donor’s name, and write directly to the individual.  Include information about the donor that you may know, such as how long they’ve been a donor, or that you enjoyed seeing them at the last event.

3. Customize the Thank You Letter

Coordinate the thank you with the original appeal. You should draft a Thank You Letter template when you are writing your appeal materials. Think of it all as part of one campaign. If the donation is in response to some other stimulus, such as an event you had and relate the letter to that event.

4. Use the Thank You Letter to Remind the Donor of How You Will Use the Donation

Help the donor visualize how the money will be spent. Include a sentence such as: “Your gift comes at a crucial moment, and will allow us to install personal computers in our computer lab to provide computer training to students in our After School Program.   The computers have been anticipated eagerly by the students. Now, thanks to you, they will become a reality.”

5. Have a Real  Person Actually Sign the Thank You Letter

Never use digital signatures.  Have your executive director, president, or a volunteer sign the letter. Use a blue or red pen for the signature so that the recipient can tell that it is real.

6. Add a Personal, Hand-written Note to the Thank You Letter

If appropriate, ask the Executive Director or Board President to add a personal note to the thank you letter. This is especially gratifying to the donor.

7. Include a Reply Envelope With the Thank You Letter

Including the reply envelope will remind the donor that future donations are welcome. Many donors will keep these envelopes and use them for a donation later

8. Use the Thank You Letter as the Donor’s Tax Letter

The thank you letter can also serve the purpose of a receipt. You must provide a receipt annually for tax purposes.   You can include that disclosure with this letter, or you can wait until the end of the year to send the tax letter. Some donors prefer to receive disclosure letters at the time they are thinking about and gathering documents for their tax returns.

9. Use the Thank You Letter to Invite More Engagement

Provide an invitation in the thank you letter to connect again with your organization by inviting the donor to visit or tour your site. Not many will actually do it, but they will appreciate the offer. For those who do take you up on the invitation, it will be a great opportunity to see how your organization makes a difference in the lives of others.

10. Provide a Contact Name

Provide the name and telephone number/email address of someone in the nonprofit organization that the donor can contact with questions.


Karmen A. Booker is an Attorney, Business Consultant and Owner of Compu-Perfect Professional Services, a business consulting firm specializing in Business Entity Formation (Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, and Nonprofit Corporations), Completing 501(c)(3) Federal Tax Exemption Applications, Grant Research and Writing services, and more.

Attorney Karmen A. Booker has developed the  “Nonprofit Sample Template” e-book that provides templates for the following:

  • Sample Mission Statements
  • Sample Business Plans
  • Sample Donor Solicitation Letter
  • Sample Thank You Donor Letter
  • Sample Press Release
  • Sample Letter of Inquiry
  • Sample Corporate Donation Letter
  • Sample Board Member Application
  • Sample Board Member Agreement
  • Sample Volunteer Application
  • Sample Volunteer Agreement

This Nonprofit Sample Template is a valuable resource for all Nonprofit Organizations who desire to use effective tools that will undoubtedly help them acquire funding and provide quality services for their target markets. 

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