A great thank you letter is more than just good manners and basic donor care. Consider it another tool you can use to help you fulfill your mission.

That’s because a great thank you letter does more than just acknowledge a gift. It brings your donor closer to your cause. It makes her feel more connected to your organization, which in turn means she’ll be more likely to give again.

The last thing we want to do is make our donors feel like we’re just not that into them, so consider the following the next time you write a thank you to your donors:

Timing is Everything

Tom Ahern says that when a donor receives a thank you letter within 48 hours, she is 4 times more likely to give again. With donor retention rates averaging at 30-40%, that’s a stat that can’t be ignored! Even if you can’t turn a thank you letter around quite that quickly, it should give you pause the next time a folder of letters sits on a desk for 2 weeks waiting to be signed by the Board Chair.

It’s Not Me, It’s You

Don’t tell her about how great you are. Tell her how fantastic she is! Your thank you letter should gush with emotion (or at the very least be warm and sound more human than robotic), and celebrate your donor for sending more kids to camp, for protecting more at-risk wildlife, for feeding more of her hungry neighbours.

When Can I See You Again?

Let her know what’s next in her journey with you. Whether it’s an end-of-year update on the number of animals rescued or simply the next issue of your donor newsletter, let her know that you’ll be reporting back on how you used her gift.

Those are just 3 thank you considerations to help make sure your donor doesn’t swipe left.

For more thank you letter tips, register for my “Do You Need A Gratitude Adjustment?” workshop at AFP Ottawa’s Fundraising Day on May 21st.

And be sure to plan to attend these upcoming sessions featuring my fellow Good Workers:

  • Everything I Needed To Know About Storytelling I Learned From Dungeons and Dragons, Charlotte Field, Nonprofit Technology Conference March 23
  • The Giving Brain, Holly Wagg, AFP ICON March 30
  • Telling the Perfect Story, Fraser Green, AFP Ottawa Fundraising Day May 21
  • Building Your Digital Legacy Factory, Charlotte Field & Holly Wagg, AFP Toronto Fundraising Day June 3
  • Legacy Storytelling, Melanie Scholz, Maritime Fundraising Conference June 8
  • Keynote Speaker, Fraser Green, Maritime Fundraising Conference June 9