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Write Meaningful Thank You Letters for Your Donors

By October 21, 2016January 17th, 2020Donor Outreach
How can you write better thank you letters?

Whether you’re a recent graduate, a bride after a wedding or an donor-relations employee at a nonprofit, thank you notes are an important element in any giving or gifting process. Not only are they just polite, but at your nonprofit, they might actually help transform your donors into reoccurring donors for months or years to come.

Before you thank your donors, you’ll need gather information about the people who are supporting your organization. Tom Ahern, donor communications guru, reveals that the key to writing meaningful thank you letters is to focus completely on the donor. If each letter is not covered with “you’s,” you might have done something wrong, he says. After all, people want to feel like their donations matter. Here are a few tips about how to write meaningful thank you letters at your organization:

How can you write a perfect donor thank you?

Get creative with your openers
Whether it’s an email message or handwritten note, you want to personalize your letter’s opening greeting. Stay clear of form letter openers such as open with “Dear Donor…” or even “Thank you for…” Instead, think of snappy openers to draw the recipient in, and show them that you really care about their continued support. Nonprofit Marketing Guide suggests using lines such as “You just made my day” or “I have an important story to share with you” to make it seem like you are writing straight to the donor, and not to your entire donor base.

Reveal some progress
Depending on what the person’s donation was used for, you’ll want to tell them! People want know what impact their donation made. Share new statistics or a sweet story about the people or cause you help at your organization. The rule of thumb here is not to let donors fall into the “donation black hole” where they never know where their money goes. Every little bit of progress shared is important.

“You want to personalize your letter’s opening greeting.”

Invite them to something
…But this “something” should not a request to donate more. Instead, invite your donor to an open house, to sign up for your monthly newsletter or even to volunteer, according to Nonprofit Hub.  Your donor thank you is a tool to make your donors feel appreciated and that their help matters to your organization. So take this time to show them how else they can get involved – without money.

Pay attention to who is doing the “thanking”
Donors pay attention to who is “signing” their thank you letter. Therefore, you might want to switch up who the letter is “from” each time, depending on how their donation was used, what news you want to share or what is happening at your organization. One letter may be signed by your CEO, talking about the future vision of your nonprofit, while others might be from the Executive Director, Board Chair or someone helped by your organization. Try to avoid ending it with a generic thank you from your entire organization, as this might feel less personal.

After you have crafted the perfect donor thank you letter, you’ll need to access essential details about your donors. Instead of wasting valuable time searching for details in multiple spreadsheets and files, you should make it easier for yourself and use Eleo online donor management software.

With Eleo, you can record and access all your vital donor information in a centralized database, which will help you sustain long-term stewardship and improve the return on your fundraising efforts. To learn more about how donation software can help, visit Eleo Online and sign up for your free trial today!