Thank Your Donors: Three Tips to Better Fundraising with Thank You Notes
With 2020 wrapping up, you still have much to do to ensure your fundraising efforts end on a high note. 

Don’t let the global pandemic stop you from cultivating strong relationships with your donors, and what better way to do that than with a simple but sincere thank you letter? 

It’s no secret non-profit organizations would be unable to achieve their missions without their generous donors. Unfortunately, not all organizations remember to prioritize donor thank you notes. Not only are thank you letters critical for proper fundraising etiquette, but thank you notes also reap financial rewards. 

Thanking your donors helps your organization forge better relationships with supporters, and better relationships are closely tied to increased contributions. 

Here are three tips you can use to craft successful and personal thank you letters.

1. Be sincere

Sincerity goes a long way in a letter, and lackluster thank you notes are easy to spot. Even with the rise of digital communications, snail mail has not lost its effectiveness. 

Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a letter in the mail? 

Take advantage of the reader’s initial excitement and enclose a sincere message that communicates your organization’s gratitude. One way to do that is to avoid generic language. For instance, never end a thank you letter with “thanks to people like you.” Does that help communicate to the donor that you value them as a unique individual? 

2. Make it personal. 

In an in-person meeting, you wouldn’t read from a script. The same should be said for your thank you notes. 

Avoid sounding rote by considering to whom you are writing and make it personal. Personalizing your thank you letters requires time and research, but it makes all the difference. As you learn about your donors, use that knowledge to craft your thank you notes. 

What makes a thank you letter more personal? Here are a few important features of a personal thank you letter. Address your donor by name. Reference their specific donation. Describe how their contribution helped. 

Make the donor the hero in the story of your organization. For instance, write to them and tell them how their gift made a difference to your organization’s mission or the conservative movement as a whole. 

3. Be prompt in your thank you notes. 

Timeliness is essential for maintaining strong relationships with donors. Make sure your development team is committed to a quick turn around after a donation comes in. Aim to have letters in the mail within 48 hours. 

A quick response communicates sincerity and enthusiasm for their contribution and shows the donor that they were not overlooked. 

4. Focus on saying thank you

A common mistake in fundraising is using the donor thank you note as a vehicle to ask for more money. Do not solicit new donations or mention upcoming events. That is not the purpose of the letter. Focus on saying thank you and show your organization’s gratitude. 

Unquestionably, this year has had its ups and downs, but one thing is for sure, you can end the fundraising year strong with a “thank you.” 

Your thank you letter should be sincere, include personalized content, and be sent in a timely manner. 

Crafting effective but personal thank you letters will help your organization forge better relationships with donors, which results in a stronger fundraising program.

The Leadership Institute’s Kirsten Holmberg manages LI's fundraising trainings to help conservatives succeed in their missions. After all, as Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell says, you can't save the world if you can't pay the rent. Kirsten hosts many online trainings. Grow your fundraising skills here.