How to Write the Perfect “Thank You” Email as a Nonprofit

by Victor Green
3 mins read

Donors are the lifeblood of virtually any nonprofit organization. Without this active and engaged portion of a target audience, enacting the vision of a brand and helping those in need simply isn’t a reality. Even with these realizations standing front and center, many nonprofits and charities simply don’t know how to compose a “thank you” email that conveys gratitude and ensures that these donors renew their commitment later on down the road.If your organization is counted among this unfortunate segment of the charitable community, it’s time to start taking the creation of this vital piece of email marketing content seriously. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when your donation rates dip and this once prosperous connection with your inbox following fades away.

Start with Positive and Personable Introductions

So how does a nonprofit right the ship and start sending out engaging thank you emails? According to Kivi Leroux Miller of the Nonprofit Marketing Guide blog, you need to set the tone with a positive and personable introduction that places the reader at the heart of the experience.Greeting this contact list member and donor by name, having a fun and lighthearted headline that addresses the subject matter of the message without being too stiff or formal, and evoking positive feelings based on this commitment are all powerful examples of this winning approach in action. The big key here is that if you’re able to look back at your subject line, initial greeting, and first sentence or two and say, “This is upbeat and thankful,” then you’ve hit the mark on being both positive and personal on behalf of your nonprofit.

Highlight Your Results

Once you’ve set the tone, Miller suggests jumping headfirst into the results generated by this charitable drive. It might seem a little strange to jump right into the details regarding this campaign at first, but one of the best ways to express gratitude for a contribution is by showing just what these donations accomplished.Enacting this “results first” strategy also has the added benefit of giving your donors a tangible way to see their donations in action. People are more likely to commit to future assistance if they’re able to associate their contributions with hard numbers, facts, and results that go beyond ephemeral or vague claims.

Keep the Little Details on Point

Writing the perfect thank you email also requires a keen eye for details. Specifically, the National Council of Nonprofits offers up a few considerations that may seem small or insignificant initially, but can severely diminish the impact of your message if you don’t give each its proper due:

  • Send Soon! – Wasting time in the deployment of these thank you messages comes across as lazy or lackadaisical. Sending a message in a timely manner verifies that your organization received the gift and helps cement this relationship with the donor in question.
  • Include a Disclosure Statement (if Necessary) – Some states and provinces require a disclosure statement regarding the value and nature of the donation for tax or legal reasons, so make sure you find a way to incorporate this technical talk within your message – or as an attachment to the main email.
  • Don’t Forget Brand Logos – Leaving out your branded logo and organization name is a simple mistake that creates confusion and inhibits your nonprofit’s ability to generate name recognition with newer donors.

These considerations might not seem all that important initially, but taking care of each one is vital the success of your thank you email and inbox relationship with these valued contributors.

Finish with a Signature

Finally, don’t be afraid to finish with a warm, personalized signature or sign off that highlights a member of the team and shows your donors that there’s more to your nonprofit than simply a bunch of nameless, faceless staffers. Doing so also taps into the reality that a thank you from a living, breathing person will always carry more weight than one offered by an intangible organization.Aside from the fact that this practice offers up a more meaningful ending to the inbox experience for your audience, it also paves the way for future interaction with these valued community members. Signing off with the name, face, portrait, and contact info of a donor-facing staff member ensures that these contributors always have a point of contact for future questions, feedback, and donations to your organization.When paired with the rest of what you’ve learned here, this tactic is the perfect capstone to a new – and powerful – take on crafting thank you emails. The only thing left to do now is to put this knowledge to good use and let your audience of donors know just how much you appreciate their commitment to your cause.

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