Thank you letters do a lot more than say “thank you” to a donor. A thank you letter is the start of a conversation, and a relationship. Given that a lot of our customers are nonprofits and our staff is involved in nonprofits on the side, we want to give you some pointers on how to write a thank you letter for a donation – pointers that can help you cultive and steward your donors. You may also want to reference our previous blog post about best practices for donation thank you letters. Remember – giving isn’t a one-way street. Your job as a nonprofit isn’t over when a donor writes you a check or gives online. In fact, it’s just beginning.
There are several ways you can thank your donors: an automated email (which MoonClerk provides anytime someone makes an online donation), a handwritten thank you letter, or a phone call. But keep in mind that a good thank you should be more than an acknowledgement of a gift and a tax receipt. It’s a way to start a a dialogue with your donors so that you can increase their giving, loyalty, and interaction with your nonprofit.
5 Tips On How to Write a Thank You Letter for a Donation:
1) Make Donors Feel Valued
A well-written thank you letter says far more than “thank you.” Imagine you’re a donor: you respond to an annual appeal that is urgent, inspiring, and calls for you to make a difference. You check the box or click the link that says “Yes! I want to make a donation!” and enter your credit card information. You wait to hear that your gift was received and appreciated. If you never even receive a confirmation, you might wonder why you even bothered donating. But, if you immediately receive a confirmation email and a few days later, you get an honest and genuine thank you from a real person, you will know that your gift wasn’t just received, it was truly valued.
2) Make Donors Feel Informed
Donors aren’t giving gifts solely due to their philanthropic attitude. A charitable gift is an investment in your organization and the work you’re doing, and donors need to know they’ve really made a difference by opening their wallet. Donors want to know their money is being well spent and a well-written thank you letter is your chance to illustrate to your donors the work that you are able to do because of their commitment. Highlight the people you serve, the successes of your programs, and the real difference donors make. This will lay the foundation for converting them into repeat donors.
3) Make Donors Feel Like They Made A Difference
Donors are responding to your call to action when they give you a gift. They need to know that gift really does matter. A donor who never hears from you, or who receives a canned “thank you for your contribution” email won’t feel inspired. They won’t know how they’re helping. They won’t be able to channel the passion and excitement of giving into something much more than a one-time monetary contribution. Thanking them is just one way of letting them know they made a difference in the world, and their money translated into real change.
4) Inspire Confidence in Your Organization
There are over 1.5 million registered 50(c)3 organizations registered in the U.S. The sad truth is not all of them are well run, or putting their donors’ dollars to good use. If you’re cultivating donors, you want them to know you’re achieving your mission with integrity and their dollars are being put to good use. A thank you note that is prompt, well written, and highlights the successes of your organization is a way to open the door to a dialogue with your donor about the work you do and the integrity of your organization.
5) Inspire Loyalty with Your Nonprofit
A donor who sends a gift to you and feels appreciated, informed, and empowered to make a difference is a donor who will give again. A good thank you letter – one that inspires your donors and puts a smile on their face – is an invitation to donors to invest in your organization, and give again and again. Consider your thank you letters as a powerful way to show your appreciation to your donors, and to remind them of what their gift really means to your mission.
We hope this blog post has provided you a few pointers on how to write a thank you letter for a donation. Soon we’ll be posting some sample thank you letters from imaginary nonprofits so that you’ll have some examples to go by. If you have any questions about how Moonclerk can act as a tool to help your nonprofit collect donations on your site, check out our page for nonprofits or shoot us an email.