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How to Write a Donation Thank-You Letter That Gets You to Your Goal

GoFundMe Team
|6 min read

Fundraising Strategy

Your crowdfunding fundraiser comes with a list of donors—but to think of it as a mere list is a mistake. More than just a record of past transactions, your donor list allows you to develop relationships with everyone who’s supported your cause. In the fundraising community, we call this donor stewardship.

As we’ve seen at GoFundMe, good communication with donors doesn’t just help them feel good about the value of their donation; it can even lead to additional donations. One study on donor-centered fundraising found that 85% of participants would donate again if they received a personal thank you, and 86% said they would even give a larger amount with that second donation.

In short, thanking your supporters is a must. Surprising them with a personal thank-you letter is even better. A good personal letter requires careful consideration of both your cause and the recipient—but it doesn’t have to be hard to write. To make it easy to share your gratitude, we’ve put together some helpful hints, along with a handful of donation thank-you letter templates.

Five tips for writing a donation thank-you letter

1. Be punctual

When someone donates to your fundraiser, think of it as the beginning of a conversation. A prompt thank you demonstrates your dedication to the cause and shows gratitude for the help you’ve already received. If you can, send a thank-you letter within 48 hours of receiving each donation.

2. Be sincere and inspiring

A prompt response will have more impact if it comes with a positive update or an inspiring message. Instead of simply saying “thank you” to donors, find ways to make your letter come to life. It could be as simple as including an inspirational quote that’s relevant to your cause or offering a brief personal note. Be sincere and speak from the heart. What did their donation mean to you personally? What did it mean to other people involved?

One caveat: When you’re deep in fundraising fever, it can be easy to ramble on about small fundraiser details. Avoid dragging your donors into the weeds of your fundraiser—instead, give them the 30,000-foot view.

3. Show them the money (where it’s going, that is)

An important part of your thank-you letter is showing exactly how the donation has contributed to your cause. Show donors that their money is going to good use. Include photos if possible. Describe what each donation has helped you accomplish, and keep your donors in the loop about future plans. If you’re hosting any fundraising events or donor appreciation parties, let your thank-you letter double as an invitation.

4. Add a personalized touch

For a thank-you letter to be personal, it needs to be written from your perspective—in the first person. Make sure the letter is personally addressed to the donor, including his or her full name, and include the donation amount and the date given. Shine a spotlight on the giver’s generosity.

5. Reread your letter

To make sure your thank-you letter is well-received, read it out loud before you send it. Would you want to receive this message? You want your letter to sound casual and friendly, but it should also be thoughtful and free of errors. Spell-check everything you write.

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Sample thank-you letters

Here are some simple templates to start with. Be sure to add a personal touch, customizing each letter for its recipient.

Thank-you letter template for a donor

Dear [donor name(s)],

I want to take the time to sincerely thank you for your donation to [fundraiser name]. As you know, we started this fundraiser to [insert reason for fundraiser], and your $[insert donation amount] contribution on [insert date of donation] helps us get one step closer to our goal.

Thanks again for your generosity and support,

[Handwrite your name and fundraiser name]

Thank-you letter template for event attendance

Dear [attendee name(s)],

I appreciate you making the effort to come to our fundraising event for [fundraiser name]. We had an amazing turnout, and we managed to bring in $[amount] more in donations for the fundraiser! Your attendance and support have played an important role in our fundraiser’s success—thank you.

With your contribution, we’ll be able to [reason for fundraiser]. Your generosity and support is an encouraging reminder of why I started this fundraiser—to help [beneficiary name].

With gratitude,

[Handwrite your name and fundraiser name]

Thank-you letter template for a business

Dear [business name],

I want to extend my sincere gratitude for [company name]’s contribution to [fundraiser name]. [Company name]’s generous gift will have a major impact on helping [reason for fundraiser].

On behalf of [beneficiary name], I want to thank you for helping us make a positive difference. Your support encourages our continued commitment to reaching our goal.

Thanks again for your generosity and support,

[Handwrite your name and fundraiser name]

Three ways to say thanks

Now that you’re versed in how to create a well-written donation thank-you letter, take some time to explore different ways to send your thanks. Traditional letters or inspirational cards are a great, personal option. On the other hand, technology offers other creative (and often less expensive) ways to show your appreciation.

1. Letters

You may choose the traditional route and write your letters by hand, one by one. Another option is to use a site like Postable, where you can create your own thank-you cards, using your own photos, words, and designs. Although this does cost money, buying in bulk may get you a discount.

2. Email

This is a solid option when you need to reach donors, but don’t have access to their mailing addresses. Unlike print, where including photos can be prohibitively expensive, email gives you the opportunity to easily share photos, videos, and more—so take advantage of that strength. Ideally, photos you share in email thank-you letters will show what your fundraiser has accomplished so far.

3. Social media messages

If you created a Facebook page for your fundraiser, you’ve probably interacted with some of your donors on Facebook already. While you can use private messages to send thank-you notes on Facebook (and other social media platforms), doing so can be perceived as less personal than sending similar notes via mail or email—and the impact of your message may be diluted amid the stream of social media content. One approach is to use private messages only for certain kinds of updates, or as supplements to email and/or print.

Thank you

Thanks for reading these tips on writing the perfect thank-you letter! It’s never too early to start cultivating relationships with your donors, and a donation thank-you letter is the first step. If you’re looking for other unique ways to show your gratitude, check out these 20 affordable ways to say thank you to donors. For more crowdfunding advice, check out these tips and ideas

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GoFundMe Team

About GoFundMe Team

The GoFundMe Team creates fresh content to help answer common fundraising questions and share proven fundraising tips and tricks to help you reach crowdfunding success.

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