Whether welcoming new donors, acknowledging annual gifts, or recognizing recurring donations, a donation thank-you letter serves as a critical tool to increase donor retention and build strong relationships with supporters.
As you explore the following thank-you letter templates, remember the core elements of personalization, promptness, and impactful storytelling. Join us on this journey to discover the essential elements that elevate a thank you letter beyond mere donation acknowledgment.
Read on to learn what to include in your donor thank you letters, how to send them, and additional tips to help you connect with the following donor types:
- Event Attendee
- New Donors
- Annual Gifts
- Recurring Gift
- Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers
- Third-Party Fundraisers
- In-kind Gifts
- Major Gifts
- Planned Gifts
How to Choose the Right Thank-You Letter to Send?
Different donors require different thank you letters to encourage donors and raise money. Regardless of what else you include, the Internal Revenue Service requires you to add the following information to ensure donors can use this letter as a tax receipt.
- Donor's full name
- Organization Name
- Date of donation
- Donation amount
- The fair market value of the product or service they received in exchange for their gift
Event attendance is a common type of nonprofit support. Online fundraising platforms allow nonprofits to send automated tax receipts after individuals purchase tickets or register for an event, but that shouldn't be the only donor communication with event attendees. Thank you emails and texts can be a quick and easy way to start forming relationships with these donors.
💡 Pro Tip: The best time to connect with event attendees is directly after your event. One of the best ways to connect with these individuals is via text. You can schedule an automatic text to be sent out after your event with a link to your website where you share more ways to help your organization.
New donors may find your organization as event attendees, or from a capital campaign, peer-to-peer, or crowdfunding campaigns. Regardless, of how they start with your organization, you now have a chance to develop a solid relationship and turn first-time donors into long-term supporters.
Nonprofits will want to quickly connect with these donors, so an email thank you letter is best. After including tax details, you'll want to strengthen their connection with your organization. You can do this with specific examples of how their gift made a positive impact on your organization and the people you serve.
💡 Pro Tip: Zeffy sends automated tax receipts to all donors when they give online. First-time donors are more likely to ignore mailed letters with tax-related details, but you can make an excellent first impression with a personalized hand-written thank you card.
Many of your supporters are one-time donors who give annually during your year-end fundraising campaign or events. You can send thank you letters via email or direct mail to these donors, but since they are the most likely to lapse, thank you letters are crucial.
When writing an annual donor thank you letter, you must remind donors of the positive outcomes of their past support and offer the opportunity to become a recurring donor and make an even greater impact.
💡 Pro Tip: Regular communication with existing donors is crucial. Lapsed donors say little to no communication is why they ended their support. Add notes to your donor management system and schedule when to send program updates and personal communication.
Recurring donors have typically given your organization consistent support, so it's best to send physical letters that share your appreciation for their generous support. Recurring donations allow nonprofits to plan for events and upcoming program changes. Encouraging more one-time donors to give recurring donations will help you raise funds and have a huge impact on your organization's donor retention rate.
💡 Pro Tip: Be sure to discuss the positive change your recurring donors' consistent support has had on your organization and find ways to excite them about making future contributions.
Peer-to-Peer and Crowdfunding Campaign Fundraisers
The growth of peer-to-peer and crowdfunding campaigns has created a new type of nonprofit supporter. In addition to sending thank you letters to donors, peer-to-peer volunteers and fundraisers deserve equal appreciation for their extra effort.
💡 Pro Tip: It's crucial to send letters and notes via email several times throughout these campaigns to thank them for their continued support in raising money. Be sure to send follow-up communication after your campaign to share how the donations they collected had a positive impact.
Third-party fundraisers can be run by volunteers, local businesses, community groups, and other nonprofit organizations. If you're lucky enough to inspire this type of fundraising, a thank you letter for their extra effort and donors' gifts is not only required, it can help the donor feel valued and be the beginning of a long-term partnership. A handwritten letter that shares the amount of money raised and the impact of these gifts is a vital first step.
💡 Pro Tip: Third-party fundraisers may be long-time supporters or community organizations that know little about your nonprofit. You must do your best to know who your supporter is and find ways to move them onto the next step. Offering a private tour of your facility is an excellent way to excite new donors and inspire them to give more.
In-kind donations can be equally important as cash donations. When sending these donors a thank you letter, be sure to show your appreciation for their gift. A handwritten letter can be a nice touch and may help you further develop this relationship.
💡 Pro Tip: By sharing more ways that their company can have a positive impact, you can turn one-time in-kind donors into long-term sponsors.
Major donations can fully fund your nonprofit organization's programs or develop a challenge gift that inspires other donors to give. However your major donors choose to show their support, you must share your appreciation for their generous major gift by sending a physical letter that includes their donation amount and its positive impact.
💡 Pro Tip: A donor thank you letter is only the first step in donor appreciation for major donors. In many cases, you should have already decided on additional benefits they may receive for their gifts, like naming rights on a building or room.
Nonprofits may receive planned gifts while the donor is living or after their death. This can make sending a thank you letter complicated.
💡 Pro Tip: It's best practice to send a thank you letter when you learn about any upcoming planned gift. You may not have received the funds yet, but it's an excellent way to thank donors for their generous contribution and educate them on how they can receive additional benefits.
Send a physical letter that shares information about how their continued support has impacted your organization's programs. You can also include information on additional ways that donors can give planned gifts, including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
Nonprofits can spend months soliciting corporate sponsorships for a fundraising event. You must continue putting extra effort into communications with sponsors after your event. Companies that have already sent donations to your organization are more likely to give again.
💡 Pro Tip: If you take the time to share your appreciation, send a handwritten thank you letter, and continue with follow-up communication, you can turn a smaller in-kind donation or sponsorship into a significant gift and maybe even entice them to join your board.
Free Thank-You Letter Samples
We're so excited you joined us for our annual 5k run! We hope you are as proud of yourself as we are for challenging yourself and living a healthier life.
XYZ Charity is a 501c3 nonprofit organization
$30 Registration Fee (your donation is 100% tax-deductible)
Your event attendance and registration fee of $30 helps us provide physical, speech, and occupational therapy programs to more children on Medicaid and adults without insurance. We're excited to welcome you to the XYZ charity community and let you know about other options to help make our town healthier. If you're interested in volunteer opportunities or upcoming events, check out our website at www.xyzcharity.org.
Jennifer Shay, Executive Director at XYZ Charity
Thank you for your donation of $25 to XYZ's capital campaign. Thanks to gifts from donors like you, we reached our financial goal of $55,000 and have enough to build a new shelter for homeless dogs and cats.
Community partnerships are a high priority for our organization, and we welcome new donors and volunteers to help make a difference in the lives of thousands of homeless animals. We'd love to welcome you to the XYZ community and offer you the chance to learn more about our organization and various volunteer and membership opportunities. Feel free to visit our website or call 123-456-7890 to schedule a private tour.
Thank you again,
Cheryll Smith, Executive Director of XYZ Charity
Long-time supporters like you make the work XYZ Charity does with the homeless in our community possible. Your gift of $100 during our year-end campaign helped us reach our $100,000 fundraising goal. Thanks to donors like you, we can afford to build an additional home for women and children who are faced with the decision between domestic abuse and homelessness.
In the last ten years, donations from supporters like you have helped us house over 20,000 individuals and families in our community. We couldn't have done it without you. Did you know you could help house a child every year for only $1 a day? If you're interested in learning more about our membership program and how you can easily continue your support for our organization, feel free to contact us at 123-456-7890.
Brad Decker, Board President at XYZ Charity
Thank you for your recent donation. Recurring donations like yours of $20 a month provide reliable funding and help XYZ charity plan for future events and activities at our zoo. This year, we welcomed over 1 million visitors and provided a happy and healthy sanctuary for animals from around the world.
Our Zoo Members are always welcome to visit the zoo for free and bring an additional guest once a month. Zoo membership is one of our primary revenue sources and one we couldn't do without!
Deborah Hansen, Zoo Membership Director at XYZ Charity
Peer-to-Peer and Crowdfunding Campaign Fundraisers
We Did It! XYZ Charity's first peer-to-peer campaign raised $50,000 thanks to volunteers like you. Your hard work in collecting generous donations from your community has made it possible to purchase new land for our facility.
Children around our county will have a safe space to come after school and receive healthy snacks and time to play with friends. By meeting our goal, you have also allowed us to add a quiet room for kids to read and study.
Thank you again! I look forward to partnering with you again to help kids in our community develop and grow.
Katherine Mason, Volunteer Coordinator at XYZ Charity
We want to thank ABC Community Group for holding a bowling event that raised $15,000 for XYZ Charity. Your fundraising efforts and generous donations help us fund sports and extracurricular activities for children in our school.
We take community partnerships with groups like yours seriously and would love to discuss how we can work together in the future. As a private elementary school, we have various volunteer opportunities and events that would match ABC Group's mission.
I look forward to speaking with you soon, and send my warmest regards,
Sherry Watson, Executive Director at XYZ Charity
Thanks to Local Health Spa's gift certificate of $50, we raised over $20,000 at this year's Gala and Silent Auction. XYZ Charity offers seniors in our community food delivery and one-on-one connections to help them live fuller lives as they age.
Most of our revenue comes from annual events. In-kind donations like yours help us meet our financial goals. If you'd like to learn more about XZY Charity's programs and impact on the community, we'd love to schedule a private tour.
Thank you again, and I look forward to speaking with you soon,
Christine Shafer, Executive Director at XYZ Charity
Dear Izabella Cooke,
I'd like to send warm regards for your generous donation of $50,000. Your generosity in providing a matching gift for XYZ's Giving Tuesday campaign helped us raise $163,000 in a single day.
These funds will cover the cost of building a healthcare facility outside of Lahore, Pakistan, and continue our work with women and children in underdeveloped communities. Pakistan holds the leading child mortality rate of 65.2 out of 1,000 live births. Your generous gift will help us lower this rate and ensure more children in Pakistan live healthy and fuller lives.
William Heffernan, Executive Director of XYZ Charity
Dear Edgar Jensen,
I wanted to offer our deepest sympathies for the loss of your wife, Camilla, and thank you both for the generosity your late wife has shown to XYZ Charity over the years.
The news of her passing was met with profound sadness within our organization. We will miss seeing her smile at the children during their therapies and can't imagine our annual Christmas party without her.
We were deeply moved to learn that she included XYZ Charity in her estate plans, leaving a planned gift of $350,000 for our child therapy program. This remarkable contribution will have a lasting impact on the lives of countless children and families who rely on our services.
Jennifer Shay, Executive Director at XYZ Charity
On behalf of XYZ Charity, I extend our heartfelt gratitude for your incredibly generous sponsorship of $10,000 towards our Annual Gala, "Reach for the Stars." Your support plays a pivotal role in our mission to help seniors in our community live fuller lives as they age.
Thanks to your generosity, we will be able to amplify our efforts and continue providing food delivery and one-on-one services. Your sponsorship significantly contributed to the success of our event, we look forward to showcasing your support during the gala.
We would love to extend our gratitude publicly during the event. If you have any specific preferences or promotional materials you'd like us to highlight, please do not hesitate to share them.
Christine Shafer, Executive Director at XYZ Charity
Download a Thank-You Letter Template
As you determine what type of letter to write and how to send it, we've supplied a template you can download and use.
Dear [Donor Name],
On behalf of [Nonprofit Name], I want to express our heartfelt appreciation for your recent [financial/in-kind] donation. Your generosity is invaluable and helps us fulfill our mission to [mission statement].
Your contribution allows us to [describe how the donation will be used]. It is through thoughtful support from donors like you that we can [include specific goals you've reached because of donors like theirs].
Your belief in our mission means the world to us, and we'd love to keep you updated on the impact of your donation. You can sign up for our monthly newsletter, and we'd love for you to visit our facility.
Once again, thank you for your incredible support. Your generosity makes a difference in the lives of those we serve, and we are profoundly grateful for your kindness.
[Your Name, Title]
[Nonprofit Organization Name]
Best Tips to Write an Engaging Thank You Letter For a Generous Donation
Personalize Your Thank-You Letter
A personalized thank you letter is essential to help build and strengthen donor relationships and increase donor retention. While a form letter may make sending thank you letters easier, your donors will quickly see through its insincerity and may leave your organization. A few easy ways to add a personal touch include using first names instead of "Dear Friend" and adding a hand-signed signature from a specific person (preferably the Executive Director or Board Director).
It's also vital to add personal details whenever possible You can use your donor database to find and include past support and events they attended.
Send it Immediately
Online fundraising tools like Zeffy allow nonprofits to send a tax receipt immediately after receiving an online donation. Best practice recommends you also send a thank you letter within 24-48 hours. The sooner you send that letter, the more it means, and your donors feel valued instead of forgotten.
Show Donor's Gift Impact
A nonprofit thank you letter is also a marketing piece. By connecting donor's contributions and donation examples to your organization's programs and mission, you can further promote the work you do and make the donor feel like part of your community.
Most donors won't read your thank you letter, so it's important to include images of beneficiaries in real life or use pictures from free image banks like Unsplash.
Use Donor-Centered Language
Donor-centered language is necessary in donor thank-you letters. Your nonprofit can help donors feel connected to your mission and excited about continuing their support with phrases like:
- Thanks to your contribution, we can...
- Your dedication to (mission) has made a significant difference in the lives of (beneficiaries)
- We are committed to making sure your donation is used effectively
Thank you letters can take time that nonprofits don't always have. Luckily, if you get stuck, you can use ChatPGT to generate content and write these letters.
Add a Call to Action
A Call to Action is a marketing tool that many nonprofits use to inspire donors to give more. In most cases, you shouldn't ask for another donation in your thank you letter. At the same time, there are ways to encourage more participation.
- Share your donation on social media
- Add a reminder about upcoming events
- Volunteer opportunities
- Offer facility tours
Includes quotes and testimonials
Another way to inspire donors to provide continued support is by adding testimonials from your beneficiaries or other donors. Quotes from people whose lives have changed because of the organization can excite donors about the work you're doing and how their gift made an impact. Donor quotes give people a better idea of where the nonprofit stands and treats its donors.
More Ways to Thank Your Donors
Videos from beneficiaries
As we've discussed, quotes and testimonials are powerful fundraising tools. That goes double for beneficiary videos. A personal story from the mouth of a specific person is excellent donor communication. Donors feel immediately connected to the organization's mission and want to help.
Phone-a-thons Live contact
A thank you email or letter is typical, but your organization can take it a step further by scheduling a phone-a-thon. Nonprofits can ask board members and other volunteers to make these calls and provide a list of donors and a script for volunteers to follow. You can also ask volunteers to bring their phones to your facility, order pizza and drinks, and turn your phone-a-thon into an event.
Send a text
A quick follow-up text is an excellent way to connect with new donors. Nonprofits can reach out to first-time donors after an event, welcome them to the organization, and thank them for their gift.
Add a hand-written note
A thank you letter is typically a typed physical letter or email. By adding a handwritten note to your typed letter or mailed separately, you can share your organization's appreciation and make donors feel valued. Nonprofits can also send personalized cards and earn their donors' surprise and appreciation.
You often see donor walls at hospitals, but they aren't the only nonprofit organizations that saw the benefit of thanking donors with this feature. Nonprofits of every size can add a physical display donor wall at their location, list donors in their newsletter, on social media posts, or add it to their donation page.
Thank Your Donors Easily with Zeffy
Expressing gratitude for nonprofits is more than a formality, it's necessary to nurture donor relationships. The art of crafting tailored thank-you letters plays a pivotal role in acknowledging diverse donor groups and contributions. Each thank you letter becomes a gateway to deeper engagement, and lays the foundation for longstanding partnerships.
Zeffy CRM can help nonprofits manage donors, and collect vital donor data to help personalize and send thank you letters. Send free thank-you donation emails with Zeffy donor management solutions.