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Fundraising Basics Last Updated: Apr 12, 2009 - 12:22:55 AM

The Thank You Note
By Kim Klein
Apr 11, 2009 - 9:37:06 AM

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Your donors like to be acknowledged for the contributions they make to your agency. It shows you care, you are organized, and you value their help. Failure to send some type of thank you note may engender resentment and feelings of not being valued and appreciated. The likely outcome: a smaller donation from that person in the future or no donation at all.

Here are some tips on thank you notes:

• Everyone Gets One. Send notes to all contributors, large and small. A small donation may mean a lot to that donor, and a thank you note might lead to bigger contributions in the future.

• Be Prompt.  Send notes promptly after receiving donations—within a week at most.

• What to Say.  The basic points to cover in a thank you letter are: thanks for your gift of $__; the donation will be put to good use in _____; and, optional, is any other personal messages tailored to the gift or your agency’s work.
• Content/Format. Handwritten notes are best. Options include nice note cards you buy from a card store or cards you’re your agency logo/name embossed. Typed letters are okay as well; some databases will even generate the letter after you enter the donors name in your donor database. However, avoid form letters that are obviously form letters (e.g., text where the donor’s name is inserted every so often in the letter). And try to personalize form letters if you use them (i.e., use of the person’s name in the right format, sign the letter, add a personal note).

• Who Should Send Them.  If you have lots of thank you letters to send, consider using board members to help do them. However, make them complete the letters at your offices; you don’t want thank you letters sitting around at a board member’s home for weeks on end until they finally get around to it.

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