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Powerful Thank You Notes

Dear Susan,

Thank you for your recent donation. Because of you, we were able to give 10 more kids Weekend Backpacks of food. Our families deeply appreciate the extra help, especially since so many parents have lost their jobs due to COVID.

Thanks, again. Jenny

A handwritten, personally signed thank you note is the most powerful tool you have as a fundraiser. Thank you letters and handwritten notes from your board, staff, volunteers, and clients can mean the difference between a donor staying engaged or not.

Thank you notes and letters are part of the donor relations and stewardship plan and an integral part of the fundraising cycle. I would suggest this is the most important part of successful fundraising efforts. Taking time and careful thought to craft your thank you notes will leave a positive and lasting impression with your donors and improve your retention rate.

Across the nonprofit sector the average donor retention is quite low at an average of only 45%. This means that more than half of all donors do not give a second gift. Donors stop giving because they were never thanked and/or they didn’t receive any information about how their donation was used. How you steward your donors’ gifts for long term retention is extremely critical to your overall fundraising success. Do you have a stewardship plan that will keep your donors informed?

Intentional stewardship addresses the root causes for low donor retention. The purpose of stewardship is to keep (or retain) donors and to encourage them to become more engaged with your organization and eventually upgrade their financial support.

Dear Josh,

The team at ABC Warriors was so excited today when we received your donation. Your gift will make a huge difference to our sports program. We will now be able to offer our midnight basketball program in three more rec centers and give teens a safe alternative to the streets.

Sincerely yours, Kenny

My favorite and most powerful thank you notes are ones I receive with strong stories that illustrate the impact of my donation. A quote, a short testimonial, and, even better, something written by a someone who benefitted from the organization’s work, remind the donor that they are changing lives for the better, and that’s what matters.


Michelle Crim, CFRE

Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in startup and smaller nonprofits because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.

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