A donor thank you letter is the perfect opportunity to cultivate a relationship with a supporter and show she’s personally important to you. Send it immediately (within 72 hours of receiving a gift).
And plan it with care and thought.
Specify the amount of the gift and what it will be used for. This is an ideal way to open your letter. You’ll jog donors’ memory about their gift and reinforce your cause. Plus, you’ll provide them with a tax receipt. Here's an example.
Please accept my deepest thanks for your generous gift of $100 to Children’s Hope, which we’ve already put to work providing tutoring and school supplies for children in our twelve Indian orphanages.
Show how the gift is being used. This is where you can explain what you do (your mission) through examples of real-life people (your ministry stories). Weave together concrete examples that demonstrate how the donor’s gift meets a need and impacts lives. Here's an example.
Nearly all abandoned Indian children who come to us are illiterate. But because of caring partners like you, they have a chance to lead productive lives because we help each one to read and write. Sudeep, for instance, was orphaned at age 5 after both parents died from complications with AIDS. When he came to live at Children’s Hope in southern India, he couldn’t recognize numbers or letters. Now, after just a few weeks in a primary class, Sudeep is reading simple words, writing his name, and learning math facts. He’s taking important first steps in becoming self-reliant!
Salute your supporter. Explain how important she is to you and how much you appreciate her partnership. This "hats off" at the end of your letter reinforces the good your donor has accomplished, paving the way for her to give again. Here's an example.
Paper supplies, reading books, and pencils are easy to take for granted here in the U.S. But I do not take you for granted, because you have helped provide these simple necessities to Indian children in need. On their behalf, thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping and caring and giving.
More on writing donor thank yous
Content by award-winning content writer and author Kathy Widenhouse, who specializes in writing for nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
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