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The Donor Note: How Soon Should You Write a Thank You Letter?

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. (Luke 17:15-16, NLT)

A Word For Writers

Fundraising experts tell us to write a thank you letter within 72 hours of receiving a gift to your nonprofit or ministry.

How soon should you write a thank you letter? An online devotional for writers with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #FreelanceWriting #nonprofits

Why the urgency?

There’s more to it than simply making your donor feel valued (although that's important.) 

I began to see the significance of timing when I looked at the parable of the ten lepers. These outcasts met Jesus at the border of Galilee and Samaria and begged for healing. Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priests, who were considered to be the local health officials of the time. 

The lepers left in faith. On the way, all ten were healed. 

Nine continued on their way to see the priests for confirmation that they had been cleansed.

One leper, however, first returned to thank Jesus – even though he had not yet been declared cured by the authorities.

For this man, healing was more than an unexpected surprise. It was a wonder. First, leprosy was considered incurable at the time. Beyond that, this leper was a Samaritan. Even his fellow lepers, all Hebrews, thought he was an unclean half-breed.  

The other nine may have thanked Jesus later (or not), but this one was driven to express his appreciation right away. The tenth leper didn’t need an “official” to acknowledge what he already had experienced: overwhelming gratitude. 

Why write a thank you letter right away? Timeliness is certainly respectful and appropriate. But check your heart, too. Urgency reflects deep gratitude.

A Wise Word

Write a thank you letter to donors right away.

A Word To Pray

Heavenly Father,

Thank you that You show up in my life in ways I do not expect. I am grateful. Keep me from taking others for granted. Let me show appreciation thoroughly and quickly.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.  

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