Tips for Better Nonprofit Thank You Letters

Thank You LettersIt happened again this week. I received a very business-like form letter, really just slightly better than a receipt, in response to a recent charitable donation. What I should have received instead is a warm, welcoming thank you letter.

This is an old soapbox of mine, but it’s time to get back up on it.

Sending out really good thank you letters is an incredibly savvy marketing strategy, simply because so many other nonprofits are doing it so badly.  It’s an easy way to stand out. A very easy way.

Here are some tips on doing thank yous right:

Nonprofit Thank You Letter Dos and Don’ts

Nonprofit Thank You Letters – 3 I Love

Saying Thanks Even When It’s Inconvenient or Time-Consuming

10 Donations. 3 Thank-Yous. 7 Failures to Communicate.

I also teach a webinar on the topic, Writing Thank You Notes That Inspire Future Gifts, for CharityHowTo.


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  • One of my favorite thank-you messages recently came from DonorsChoose—their opening line is, “You’re the best! Thank you for being a citizen philanthropist.” It’s fun, full of personality, and makes you feel like you’re a part of something. Definitely an important opportunity to stand out and build relationships.

  • Will definitely look into all these links…thanks for the info!

  • Rebekah Gienapp

    Thanks for these Kivi. I’ve been working to make our thanks you more interesting (they’ve been a little dull in the past). I write personal notes on all our thank yous, which people have often mentioned they appreciated.
    I was reminded how important this is when I got a very formal thank you this week from a school I have many personal connections with. I know the president personally. His signature seemed to have been photocopied on to the letter from another letter (there was dark shading behind it.) I don’t know if he’s out of town and the development director wanted to get the letter out quickly, but I would have preferred to get the letter later with a real signature. It made me feel my gift was not important to them.

  • Juliemwhitney

    What about TY postcards? We are trying to create one for our organization for donations under a certain amount.

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