Tips for Showing Appreciation in your Donor Thank You Letters

By Amy Hansen

Of course, it goes without saying you should show your donors gratitude all year long! But as Thanksgiving approaches, it is a good reminder of how important donors are to your organization. One of the simplest ways to show appreciation is with a donation thank you letter.

Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind when you craft thank you letters:

  • Personalize the letter (no “Dear Friend” salutations).
  • Check the spelling of the donor’s name and make sure it is correct.
  • Note the gift amount and provide required tax-deductible language.
  • Start your letter with something other than “thanks for….”
  • Be specific about what you are thanking the donor for (sponsor a child, holiday appeal, disaster response, etc.).
  • Make sure you say thank you more than once and in more than one way.Include contact information if the donor has questions, and please make this a live person not a generic phone number or email address.
  • Share something new, exciting or timely with the donor.
  • Keep your letter short and sweet by condensing to 3-5 paragraphs and all on one-page.
  • Let the donor know what they are making possible for your organization. Your donors want to know how they are helping you change the world!
  • Make the letter donor-centric, and use “you” and “your” as often as possible.
  • Spell check, spell check and spell check again!Hand-sign as many letters as possible.
  • Send thank you letters within 48 hours of receiving a gift.
  • Do not ask for another gift in your thank you letter.

For more great information on the donation thank you letter, consult Penelope Burk’s book, Donor-Centered Fundraising, chapters 5 & 6.