Donation Thank-You Letters Made Easy

February 12, 2021 Brian Isaac

Earlier this year, I decided to become a regular supporter of a local charity.

Unfortunately, their donor acknowledgement process was so lacking that I cancelled my regular gift shortly after.

Here's how the donor experience started

They didn’t get in touch once, despite having a high-powered Customer Relationship Management system containing my address, phone number and email details.

However, I still wanted to help local animals, so I started to send donations to different charities here and there each month. What started out as a simple act of kindness quickly transformed into an intriguing journey of Donor Acknowledgement Discovery.

Each month, the response I received (if I received one at all) was drastically different.

Sometimes I’d get a simple “Thank you for your support” donation thank you letter. Other times, I’d be snowed under by what felt like a tree’s worth of paper in my mailbox.

Is your giving experience disappointing or reaffirming?

The range of emotional reactions I had to these was astounding: everything from disappointment (“Why have they used my entire donation on printing and posting?”) to happiness and a sense of accomplishment, which lead to an immediate repeat donation and a membership application.

The second part of that is the key: it's all about the "thank you."

The secret: send thank you notes to each of your donors and fundraisers to create an even stronger relationship.

The secret behind a thoughtful thank you note

So what was it that led to such a positive, immediate and decisive response?

The charity had taken the time to thank me.

The charity took the time to write me a donation thank you letter.

And that simple "thanks" made SO much of a difference.

Inside a simple greeting card that looked like it had been designed and printed in-house, they said 'thank you' with a short handwritten message from a volunteer, letting me know they were grateful for my help and support, which made me feel appreciated.

Is your donor "just another donor"?

They didn't treat me like 'just another donor' - instead, they took the time to show their gratitude through a donation thank you letter to a person who had taken their time, money, and passion to make a contribution that would impact the cause.

Plus, they’d taken the time to spell my name right - you wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve been addressed as Geneva, Guenevere, Glenn or even Stephen! If you take the time to get the details right, your supporters will love it and thank you for it.

In the thank you letter, the organisation made sure to include their latest newsletter, which I enjoyed reading. Inside it held success stories and details of a recent event, which was a bonus for me.

The last page

The last page contained a short donation/membership form for those willing or able to help, which I eagerly filled out and returned that same day.

With it, I sent a brief letter telling them how impressed I was with their letter, and that I looked forward to receiving one in future. The charity replied shortly after, said "thank you" for my letter and additional donation, and said that they would make sure I got the next newsletter issue.

Sure enough, a month or so later, there was my newsletter with “As promised!” written at the top - no way!

You're never too important for a 'thank you'

Amazingly, this all came from a small, volunteer-run charity.

And before long, I was the one saying "thank you" to them.

I don’t know how many volunteers or donors there are, I don’t know whether they have a fundraising database or what kind of turnover they have, but the effort they put in to thank me and make me feel important was above and beyond anything I could have imagined.

The "thank you" and the small, personal touch of “As promised!” made me feel like I was truly valued and not just another name on their list. Their stewardship is truly remarkable and ensured my continued support.


Two donation thank you letter templates for amazing thank you notes

We want to show you two example thank you letters you can be writing to any donor or fundraiser to show them how much you appreciate their contribution.

Sample Letter 1 (for a donor)

Dear {Name of donor}, (or Dear Friend),

Thank you so much for your generous gift of {donation amount}. Because of you, we're able to use that money to {what you do specifically to help your cause area}.

Thank you again - every bit will help us make a difference.


{Your name}


Sample Letter 2 (for a fundraiser)

Dear {Name of fundraiser},

Thank you so much for the incredible effort you've put into raising money for {a few words about what you do to help your cause area}. Your total gift of {donation amount} is more appreciated than you know!

Because of you, we'll be able to {something specific your organisation will now be able to do with this person's funds, examples: feed X amount of kids, build a new school, find a home for X amount of dogs, help X number of children learn to read)}.

Thank you again - every bit helps us make a difference.


{Your name}


Try these sample donation thank you letters

As you can see, template 1 and 2 above include language that not only thank the person, but genuinely show your appreciation.

Remember, this is like a very personal journey for people who chose to give to your organisation, and you want to make sure they feel good about that choice they've made. A 'thank you' note also reminds them how much of an impact they've made and makes them want to keep giving and share their experience with your organisation.

Bonus thank-you and impact awareness strategies

Marcus Blease, Co-Founder of Donor Republic, shared his thoughts with us on some of the best methods of saying thank you and showing your impact.

We recently worked with a charity that had 24 asks a year. That’s almost one ask every two weeks. And yet, there was not a single unconditional thank you throughout that whole time.

So, what can we do to ensure we’re delivering first-class donor loyalty programs that keep our supporters coming back month after month and year after year?

Your CRM solution can help you move from an organisation that relies on a ‘mass marketing’ approach, to one that creates custom experiences for individual donors with advanced segmentation and message framing based on individual data.

Once you’re armed with strong data about your supporter base, you’ll be in a much stronger position to create effective campaigns and programs that lead to increased donor loyalty.

This could include strategies such as:

  • Building an onboarding journey for newly acquired donors providing four to five thank you communications through various channels
  • Creating a thank you postcard that is delivered with every receipt letter and closes the loop on each appeal
  • Using new technology, such as Facebook® Messenger, to create ‘background’ journeys that reinforce the impact of their gift and the effectiveness of the organisation
  • Sending certificates of support after every year of loyal giving
  • Creating impact reports highlighting where a donor’s money has been invested
  • Inviting select donors to see the work you are doing on the ground level

Organisations that commit to donor retention and invest appropriately in technology, people and programs will thrive over the coming decade.


Donation thank you letters: the takeaway

What started as a frustrating donation experience turned into one of the best.

In short, your donation acknowledgement process doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated to work. You don’t have to have top-of-the-line graphics to thank someone who's donation does something amazing for you. And you don't have to overthink the process.

It's as simple as sending them a letter or an email with a sincere "thank you". It's as simple as showing what impact they've made to your cause and your organisation. It's as simple as sharing your success with them. And it all comes down to how you make them feel.


Increase your donations with Blackbaud - Book a Demo Now

We hope you've enjoyed reading these tips about the foundations of fundraising: creating relationships that will last a lifetime by thanking your supporters and demonstrating their impact.

Built for nonprofits, Blackbaud's cloud software and services can help you meet your fundraising challenge, reach your best prospects, and create lifelong supporters. Contact us now to take your organisation to the next level.



Deliver the perfect supporter engagement at the perfect moment!

For more information on donor management, long term donor relationship management, donor retention, creating meaningful communication and relationships through fundraising, download Powerful Relationships Through Meaningful Moments now!



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