How to thank your donors right

While “manners” are often used as an excuse to be rude (as in You inferior person — you’re holding your knife wrong), normal, commonsense manners can really help you do a good job of thanking your donors.

Clairification takes a look at polite thanking of donors at What Would Miss Manners Say? Thank You. Miss Manners would advise:


  • Always address your friend by their given name. A thank you is not a form letter.
  • Include a specific description of the gift your friend gave you. A thank you should be personal, and show the giver that you know them.
  • Describe how you’ll use the gift; let the giver know why you loved the gift so much,
  • Use “I.” The letter is coming from you; not from “we.”
  • Do not be rude and describe how you could’ve used more.
  • Do not solicit your next gift.

(I agree you should not use your thank-you message to solicit a gift, but you absolutely should make it easy to give another gift — include a reply coupon and a return envelope.) Remember, it feels good to give, and for many donors, it feels best while you’re being reminded of the power and importance of your giving.)


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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