How to write a wonderful thank you letter to your donors

Why do so many fundraisers just fail to say thank you? And why do so many who do thank do it in a heartless, perfunctory way?

I think it’s because it feels like an annoying chore that gets added to the larger project of doing fundraising. By the time you’ve really nailed down the asking, you might feel too drained to spend time, energy and heart on a thank you.

So you bang something out and hope it’s good.

Here’s some encouragement (and tactics) for thanking from the Hands-On Fundraising Blog, at Why you should write a thank you from the heart:

  1. Think of a thank you as relationship-building, not a chore.
  2. There’s nothing wrong with being effusive. It’s not a business letter.
  3. You do not have to rank your warmth based on gift size.
  4. Go over the top to start. Tell yourself you can always pull back later. Then don’t pull back.
  5. Think about the person receiving the thanks. Picture them. How do you want them to react?

I find it helpful to write the thank you letter before I write everything else in a fundraising project. Because then I’m fresh, not tired. And the act of saying what the outcome of the donor’s gift will be helps me ask more effectively.


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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.