Thanking your donors, the first step in building a long-term relationship

Posted by Alexis Nadin on December 16th, 2010

Hopefully by now the holiday donations are pouring in and you’re busy implementing your carefully crafted holiday fundraising plan. But, among all the chaos it is crucial that you don’t forget to thank your donors! Learn how to craft a compelling thank you email.

Thank you emails are often times the first step in building a long-term relationship with a donor. Your thank you lets the donor know that their money will be used well and meaningfully and that their support for your cause has not gone unnoticed.  The thank you email is also a great way to form a personal connection with your donor. It gives you the chance to ask questions and to offer ways to stay involved.

Jessica, a GlobalGiving donor shared her appreciation after receiving a thank you email from an organization doing relief work in Pakistan: “It felt good! They made me feel like my donation was definitely worth it because they made that personal connection right away. And it was just a simple thank you!” Read more.

How to write a thank you email

So how do you write a thank you email that makes donors feel appreciated, connected, and compelled to stay involved and even give again? Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Follow up right away! This way the donation is fresh on the donor’s mind.
  • Make the donor feel good. The email should be about the donor, not you!
  • Tell the donor about the impact of their donation, no matter how small. Get specific! Use your project donation options as a guide or tell a story about someone who will benefit from the contribution.
  • Do your research. Find out if the donor has given to your project before. If so, make sure to thank them for their continued support. If not, thank them for their first donation to your project.
  • Ask questions. Why did they give to your project? What inspired them?
  • Offer ways for the donor to stay involved—sign up for the newsletter, volunteer, become a recurring donor.
  • Be personal. Help the donor feel connected to you. Provide your contact information.
  • Get creative! Make sure that your organization stands out among the others that your donor is supporting. Make a youtube video of beneficiaries or upload thank you letters or drawing. Have ideas? GlobalGiving can help. Feel free to ask.
  • Do not use your thank you for another appeal. Your donor just gave! Use this opportunity to start building a relationship.

Thank you’s on GlobalGiving

We want to make it easy for you to thank your donors! That is why we help you send a thank you email directly from the donation manager in the Project Entry (PE) system. Here are some neat tricks you can use to make the thank you email process even easier:

  • Manage your thank you emails using the “sent” and “unsent” feature on the right hand column of the donation manager.
  • Save template thank you emails so that you don’t have to start from scratch each time! Learn how.
  • Add your organization’s logo to the email by uploading the logo to the “organization manager” in the Project Entry (PE) system. Learn how.

What’s next?

Remember, thank you emails are only the first step. Stay connected by posting frequent and compelling project reports. Think strategically about ways that you can use your project reports to demonstrate the impact of your project and build a case for making future donations.

Additional resources

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