I received an email from Lindsay B. Groff, executive director of Barth Syndrome Foundation after she attended my Writing Thank You Notes That Inspire Future Gifts webinar. Lindsay wanted to share the before and after with me, and then agreed to share her example with you too! Take a look below.


Barth Foundation Thank You Letter BEFORE


Barth Foundation Thank You Letter AFTER

You should notice a difference immediately. Instead of  just random “families and individuals affected by Barth syndrome,” you see Christopher who is only 4 years old. Narrowing it down to Christopher puts a face to the problem and that has a greater impact on the reader.

The first line also shows a dramatic shift in focus from the organization to the donor.  The old letter began with the boring “On the behalf of [insert organization name here]” that many nonprofits use. Now it starts by praising the donor and letting them know they are the reason a difference is being made.

The Barth Foundation also made the letter shorter by taking out the information on conferences and pilot programs (zzzz . . . .). While those things are important, frankly, they aren’t why people are giving. Donors wants to know their money is being used to fight Barth Syndrome. This is better reflected in the revised letter by, again, emphasizing the donor’s role.

Finally, the PS is a great idea, as it gives a way for donors to get involved. It’s a call to action without asking for more money.

If your donor retention rates are low, perhaps think of a better way to thank your donors. To start:

  • Make the letter about the donor
  • Explain how their money will be used
  • Show who (or what) it will be used on
  • Include follow-up opportunities (that don’t include another donation)

Thanks for sharing your great thank-you letter makeover, Lindsay!

Published On: March 13, 2013|Categories: Fundraising|