We spend a lot of time creating the perfect solicitation letter but how much time do you spend on your donor thank you letter? We know the thank you letter is the next step in getting that next gift so don’t drop the ball with this communication. Here are some tips to help you perfect your thank you letter.

Keep it short – It should only be a few concise paragraphs that fit on one page.

Be specific – Use your donor’s first name.  Use lots of personal pronouns (we, I, and you).  What are you thanking them for?  Thank you for your gift of (insert correct $ amount).  What did that gift enable your organization to do?  Share a very brief story of how their donation helped.  You want your donors to have that personal connection with their gift.  Help them visualize the change their donation made.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate but it needs to be specific.

Encourage More Engagement – Mention volunteer opportunities, upcoming events, opportunity to sign up for newsletter, and how to follow you on social media.

Consider who signs the letter – Sometimes, if the donor has a relationship the thank you letter should come from that person.  That makes it more personal than someone with a big title that the donor doesn’t know.

Add a hand-written note on letter – This is a great way to add a personal touch to a form letter.

Double and triple check you have all the donor information correctly on your letter.  Name, address, gift amount.  Nothing is more insulting than getting a thank you letter addressed to the wrong person.    If your donor was generous enough to send in a gift, please be professional enough to get their name and donation amount right.

Don’t send a formulaic business letter.  Make it personal.  If they have given once, this is a way to build on that relationship so you are ensuring the next gift.  Is this their first gift? If so, you might want to acknowledge that this is their first donation and that you look forward to their continued support.  If it is a long time donor or major donor, you will want to make it very personal and probably send a hand written thank you letter.

Get it sent in a timely manner. Ideally a thank you would be sent within 72 hours.

Sign the letters personally.  If possible, have the letters signed personally, not by a digital signature.

Include the name and contact information of someone in your development department.  Make sure that you include the name of someone in your development office in case they have questions or want to learn more about volunteering. Depending on your organization, you might turn some of your donors into volunteers.  Offer them a tour of your facility and list upcoming volunteer information sessions, and volunteer opportunities.

Don’t ask for another donation in the thank you letter. 
There are differing opinions on this one, but I think it is a mistake to ask for the next donation in the thank you letter.

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At HEPdata we have an extensive Learning Center where you can view over 50 free on-demand educational webinars given by leaders in philanthropy, covering best practice for matching gift administration and other fundraising topics. You can also find a weekly blog that provides fundraising tips. Email: info@hepdata.com or call 800-681-4438 for more information.

10 Tips for Improving Your Donor Thank You Letter
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