5 thank you letter fails

Thank you letters to donors are an important chance to build the relationship. The way you thank is just as important as they way you ask.

Here are some common thank you letter mistakes you can avoid, from the Get Fully Funded Blog, at 5 Things You Should Never Write in a Thank You Letter:

  1. “Dear friend of xyz organization…” Thank your donor by name. When you strip them of their identity and reduce them to what they are in relation to your organization, you fail on a very human level.
  2. “On behalf of the board and staff at xyz organization…”
    That’s stiff, overly formal, and a waste of words that signal “boring” to most readers. Just thank the donor.
  3. “Your donation will help us meet our goals…” Donors are rarely interested in your goals. They give to make things happen. Thank them for that, and do it with a story.
  4. “We have six programs spanning three counties…” Not important to donors. Tell them what their giving helped make possible on a human level.
  5. “Don’t forget to get your tickets to our upcoming event…” Don’t change the subject. A thank you letter should be only a thank you letter.

An effective thank you letter is full of life, connection, and tells a story about what the donor became part of when they gave.


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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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