How to Thank Donors

Dec 19, 2011 | Posted by Guest Blogger | Post a Comment

Over 20% of giving happens within the last two days of December. So get your pens and word processors ready: your January will be full of thank you letters. But there are more ways to thank your donors and your non profit should look into incorporating one or more of these techniques . Donors are far more likely to continue donating to an organization that has thanked them and thanked them often. It is more cost effective for a non profit to foster and grow their current donors than to solicit new ones.

Formal Thank You

Does your organization have a plan on how thank you’s are handled? It should. For donations over $250, the law requires a written “receipt”, which can and is done in the form of a thank you letter acknowledging the gift and when it was received. While it is required for those donations over $250, an organization should do it for each and every donation it receives.

Newsletter and Web Acknowledgement

If your organization creates a regular newsletter, highlight the contribution. Thank the donors who have taken the time to contribute to the success of your organization. If you create a paper newsletter, it is easy to turn it into a document suitable for emailing and email it, if necessary. Many non profits now produce digital newsletters and few send paper newsletters out. If possible, let one issue of your newsletter each year focus on those who contributed and made a difference in the lives of those you serve.

Phone Calls

Have the Executive Director and the Board Chair pick up the phone and actually call the donor. Thank them for their support and explain how much their contribution means to the organization and to those you serve. Illustrate the value of that donation by telling them, for example, “thanks to your generous contribution, XYZ organization can provide five meals to homeless children, buy enough material to build one home for the elderly. Concrete examples bring the value of the donation to full focus.

Send Program and Organizational Updates

A few times a year let your donors know how you are doing. Let them see how their donations are helping your programs and allowing you to further meet the needs of the community. Use this opportunity to give them the opportunity to feel good about the good they are doing in the community and continue to engage them in your program, mission and services.


Send action photos of their donations at work. Take photos at every opportunity. Having not only the historical reference for future use, this allows you to take that photo and write a note to accompany it. Let the donor see the happy, smiling kids receiving their new school supplies. Send the photo of the completed house you built for the elderly woman who’s house burned down. Having that concrete, tangible illustration of the benefit of their donation will continue to fan the flame.

Invite Donors

This useful guide was prepared by the Grammarly grammar checker team to assist non-profits in establishing effective communication channels with their donors. Proper writing is key to maintain the professional image of your organization. Always utilize a grammar checker before hitting send.

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