This guide provides insights on how to write a professional thank you letter. If the thank you note is about a gift, you should write a message of gratitude showing Option one: You can use a physical thank you card with the simple phrase.
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There are exceptional benefits to sending a thank you card. Thank you notes can be utilized is so many different ways, holding profound importance in both personal and professional scenarios. Determining the situations that call for a thank you card requires a grateful awareness for all the relationships in your life; what they mean to you, what they do for you, and how they help you grow. But what do you say beyond thank you when sending a note or card? How do you display gratitude that is personally representative of your character? And is there any way to actually strengthen the bond between you and you and your recipient into a healthier, more mutually-beneficial, and assuredly long-term relationship?
Perhaps the most obvious time to send thank you cards is when receiving a gift. Birthdays, weddings, holidays, baby showers, religious milestones in the life of a child like a christening, first communion, Bat mitzvah, or quinceanera – if someone put forth the time, money, and effort to send a gift – you must send a thank you card.
If it’s around the holidays you can always include something at the end of your thank you message to call out the season like Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy New Year, and so on.
People send professional gifts too. A company may send another company a gift basket in a b2b relationship. Clients may send gifts to an organization or vice versa. The rule of thumb is, if you receive a gift, send a thank you card, but ensure that you include a personalized message to make it meaningful.
One of the best ways to extend a heartfelt thank you even further is to mention what your recipient sent and how you enjoy it wearing it, using it, eating it, reading it, etc. Here are some suggestions:
Sometimes it’s nice to have your child send the thank you card if the gift was meant for them. Or you can send a thank you card together and include a message like:
For wedding gifts, you and your partner can send an adoring message to your guests thanking them for attending and their thoughtful gifts. Include messages like:
When you receive a gift in a professional setting, like at your company birthday party or baby shower, you may want to include a thank you message like:
If you are a business receiving a giftfrom another company you may want to include a thank you message.
If a client sends a gift, make sure to send a thank you card right away to maintain and grow the relationship. You can include your company logo on the thank you card too, company pictures, a discount or promotion, and a gift as well. Thank you card ideas may include:
If you received a monetary gift, whether for a charitable event, a birthday or holiday, or as a nice reward for achieving some type of goal at your company, a thank you card is also required. You can also call a monetary offering a gift. These thank your card messages are all appropriate:
For the right relationship, and if you are close, you can say something like this:
Thank you cards can be sent for just showing up. If you are glad someone made it to your party or event, send them a thank you card to show just how much you appreciate them. Sometimes the best gift someone can bring is just themselves. Here are some thank you messages you may want to include in your card:
Alternatively, you can thank someone for hosting a party. Or for letting you stay at their home while you were visiting from out of town. An afternoon spent with friends, family, your boss, or some great coworkers at a barbeque can often warrant a thank you card. If you stay at an Airbnb or someone’s vacation home you should also leave a thank you note, expressing what you enjoyed about the place and even a couple of things you did on your trip. Here are some great messages to include in your thank you card:
Did someone water your plants while you were out of town? Did you ask someone to pet-sit? Did a friend or family member take care of you while you were sick – did they perform chores around your house? Did the neighborhood kids elect to cut your lawn or take out your trash? Did someone offer a helping hand during a difficult time? Did an employee go well-beyond their necessary duties – pitching in – staying late – to complete a tough project? When someone offers or provides assistance, especially when they don’t have to, it’s nice to send a thank you card. Here are some messages you could include:
When you are referring to something thoughtful someone has done for two or more people – thanks for thinking of us is appropriate. You can include this message in your thank you card on behalf of your business, team, your friends, or your family. If you are living with roommates and someone sent a housewarming gift – send a thank you card – the same can be said of any household, no matter who resides there. Some people even include their pets on the thank you card. This is of course even more appropriate when someone sends a gift to your pet. If someone does something nice for your children and they are very young – a thank you card from all of you is a nice gesture. Here are some thank you messages you can include:
All of these can be personalized to your specific recipient. Mention how much you enjoyed the gift if they sent one. If the recipient was kind to you in some way, mention how the act of kindness touched your heart. If a customer regularly shops with your business, you may want to send a thank you card with some type of discount or reward. If another business or vendor has done something special for your company, send a thanks for thinking of us card.
Another thanks for thinking of us card to send is thanks for thinking of us during our time of sorrow. This can also be singular, as in thanks for thinking of me during my time of sorrow. If someone attends the funeral of a loved one, sends a sympathy card, offers kind words, or purchases some type of gift or flower arrangement for the service, a thank you for your sympathy card is appropriate. Here are some suggested messages:
Sending thank you cards and delivering physical thank you notes to employees can help to motivate your team, build stronger bonds, and offers a small reward for their continued service. A thank you note to employees shows that you appreciate them and value their efforts, considering them an integral part of your business’s success. Giving an employee a thank you card is a simple gesture – but it goes a long way. Here are some messages you can include in your employee thank you cards:
Businesses should use professional thank you cards to establish, maintain, and cultivate relationships with their customers. Include a thank you for your order card when shipping a customer your goods, send a thank you card for their continued business, and opt to send thank you for your referral cards when customers recommend you to a friend or family member. Customers are sure to appreciate the gesture, and they will show their gratitude with loyalty. Here are some things you can say in a thank you card to customers:
It’s a good idea to send a thank you note or thank you card after an interview. An important job interview will surely benefit from a well-timed thank you card. The hiring manager and staff will appreciate the class and care you show when sending a physical thank you card rather than an email or ecard – it could be the additional effort needed to land the job. If you are rated against another candidate with the same qualifications, but you sent a thank you card whereas they did not, many companies would sway their decision in your favor. When sending a thank you card to a hiring manager here are some messages you can include.
After any type of business meeting, it is a good idea to send a thank you card. Here are a few suggestions on what to write inside your thank you card:
Lastly, you will need to close out your thank you card with a simple sign-off or message. Here are some suggested thank you card closings:
Free Thank You Note Samples, Thank You Note Wording. thoughtfulness in sending me the [ book (name the title), article of clothing, gift card, flowers, etc ].
Our Sample Thank You Note Wording Templates will kick-start your inner muse, and take the hassle out of writing notes of thanks
So if you want to painlessly add fun and flair to your thank you notes, read on. You'll find plenty of examples here.
You'll also get plenty of practical advice that will have you writing better thank you notes in a lot less time.
Ready for a few thank you note wording tips and tricks? Good. Let's get started!
Monetary gifts can be tricky. Some etiquette gurus feel that mentioning the amount of money in a thank you note is the social equivalent of burping directly into the face of your dining partner.
Others think that it's good to do so, as it makes your thank you message more specific; as when you would say "Thank you Nora, for the lovely red angora sweater."
In most cases, it's probably best to not mention the amount of money specifically. Doing so could make the giver of the gift uncomfortable. Better to be safe than sorry.
How generous of you to send me a check for my (name occasion of celebration). Although I missed your being there, I know that your (love/kind thoughts) and well wishes were with me.
Please know that I truly appreciate your gift and I plan to use it to (briefly state how you will use the funds).
Let's get together soon to celebrate. Thanks, again for your very thoughtful gift.
With warmest regards/Sincerely yours/With all my love,
When your gift arrived I was (stunned/blown away). You should have seen my face! The (lovely, gorgeous, very chic, mega-cool, luxurious, awesome) (name gift) (was/were) a welcome surprise!
How can I ever thank you for thinking of me in such a personal and thoughtful way? I will never forget your very kind and meaningful gift.
How thoughtful for you to think of me on my birthday! I truly appreciate the (name gift), and want you to know that every time that I (use it, wear it, see it) I’ll think of you.
Thanks so much for your kind gift. I hope to see you again very soon.
If you'd like to see more thank you note examples, check out our free thank you letter samples
and business thank you notes pages.
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Do you go out of your way to say ‘thank you for your purchase’ to your customers?
I mean, why would you? What’s in it for you?
Well, what if I told you that by simply saying thanks to your customer, you can completely change the way your brand is perceived.
This is good ol' fashion customer service 101.
The most basic ‘thank you for your purchase’ note goes a long way in delighting your customer - and delighting your customer means that they'll remember you.
When I talk about saying thanks, I don’t mean via email, either. Anyone can queue up the stock standard ‘thanks for your order’ email.
But it’s true authenticity in a handwritten note that makes your customer feel truly loved.
It might be for a customer, or a friend, a business partner. If there’s a reason to show kindness, take it and show thanks.
In this article you’ll see how to write a thank you note to your customers, as well as:
Saying thanks requires so little effort and returns so much. In fact, it's so easy to do that you can print it on the inside of a mailer box:
Are you an ecommerce brand that wants to use custom packaging to say 'Thanks'? Check out Packhelp's range of bespoke ecommerce packaging.
Christmas is the best time of year to start thanking your customers. If you want to find out how else your brand can leave a lasting impression these Holidays, read the article 23 Christmas Marketing Ideas To Boost Your Sales This Year [Read Now]
Now let's take a look at the difference a simple thank you note can make for your brand:
‘Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy’
- Jacques Maritain
In business, just like in life, we occasionally rely on the help of others in the pursuit of success and happiness. Without the help an input of others, business would be a lot harder than it already is.
If you’re a small brand that’s selling online, those ‘others’ that you rely on are your customers.
You wouldn’t be doing what you’re doing if it weren’t for the input and support of your customers - no matter how many or how few there are.
When your customer feel like they’re making a difference to what you do, they feel empowered.
They invest more in your brand on an emotional level because they see the difference they make.
Sure, this is great for the customer, but what’s in it for you?
When your customer is more invested in your brand, they like you more. And when they like your brand, they’re more likely to buy from you again.
Below you can see how basic this system actually is.
Things like using sustainable packaging like bio polymailers is a great way to surprise your customer and makes it easier for them to like you more.
The small gesture of a ‘thank you for your purchase’ note is a bit of a shock, your customer doesn’t expect it. This will certainly blow your customer away and give them more of an emotional investment in your brand.
Nowadays when you purchase something online, you pay for your product and then you get it. End of transaction.
So uncommon is an act of genuine gratitude, that when it happens, it builds a relationship.
The relationship between you and your customer.
The act of sending a personalised thank you note is a way to build this relationship. It’s a more traditional old-fashioned way of genuine, heartfelt sincerity.
It doesn’t matter where you sell your products online, either. If you’re selling on a marketplace like Amazon, eBay or Etsy, it’s actually more important to send a note.
Because when people buy from marketplaces like this, they don’t remember your name.
They remember the name of the marketplace. ‘I got this on Etsy, it was discounted on Amazon’.
No mention of the brand name, no reference to the seller or the store name. Etsy takes all the credit.
This same problem happens when we talk about many modern services. Take, for example, Netflix.
"I watched Netflix last night", no mention of what watched.
This diminishes the effect of one of the most potent forms of marketing - Word of mouth marketing.
But by writing a handwritten note for your marketplace purchases, you literally put your brand name in the hand of your customer.
You increase your chances of your brand name being remembered by your satisfied customer. Throw in some custom tissue paper or custom tape to add a little class, and you increase the chances of your customer saying 'Oh I get this from Fred's online store!'
Keep reading to see how your customer’s happiness is the main driver in your sales...
Why not put your branding onto your packaging and use the space to say thanks?
Not sure where to start in the work of custom packaging? Read the article: Why your brand needs to use custom packaging with a logo [Read now]
Here’s you: ‘Handwriting notes is a waste of time, I’m too busy with other stuff’.
Here’s me: ‘Handwritten notes are a better investment than PPC advertising’.
Ask yourself this question:
What percentage of your marketing efforts are focussed on getting people who have never heard of you, to buy from you?
I’m guessing that percentage is going to be quite high.
And that’s fine, that’s pretty normal. Traditionally, we think of marketing as getting more sales by driving traffic to your website.
More sales from new customers.
But what about more sales from previous customers?
Which brings us to the next question:
How much energy do you spend getting people to buy from you for a second time?
Noticed how I said energy, not time or money?
That's because you’re 6 times more likely to win a new customer than to retain an old one.
That means there's so little time or money investing in retaining a customer compared to getting a new one.
Think about that for a second. 6 times harder.
So, by including thank you notes for customers, you’re making it even easier for your old customers to buy from you again.
You’re making your customer feel great about the decision they made.
Ultimately, increased happiness leads to a higher lifetime spend with your brand. That means that in their lifetime, they will stay loyal to your brand and spend more money with you.
Your customer is less likely to go and try other brands because they’re happy with you and your products.
What’s more, a happy customer that has a high lifetime spend is more likely to become a brand advocate.
A brand advocate is someone who spreads your name amongst their trusted friends because they simply love your brand.
All this, from spending less than a minute to write a note.
Here’s a thank you for your purchase note that a customer of velocitybikeco.com received:
Short, simple, to the point - and most importantly, it’s honest.
Are you still thinking it’s a waste of time?
Well, let’s take a look at just a few of the other benefits of saying thank you for your order:
So what’s the main thing to take away from all this?
Everything good happens when you stop and thank your customer for their purchase.
Let’s take a little look at how and why these things happen:
When your customer is engaged with your brand, it means that they’re following you and paying attention to what you do.
This is obviously a good thing, as it means that your customer genuinely likes you. A customer who liked your brand is a satisfied customer.
Customer engagement comes in many forms. Here, you can see Buffer to support and engage users on Twitter.
Because there is trust between Buffer and it’s customers, they don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to the company.
Remember how you felt when your favourite aunt sent you that birthday card? What about when your doctor sent you a birthday card, too.
It made you feel special, important and valued.
You then went made a phone call to your aunt or went back to that doctor the next time you got sick.
So by doing something similar with your customers, you’re reinforcing the idea that your customer made the right decision to buy from you.
It’s obvious that loyal customers are a good thing. It means that they’re not going to go and buy from another brand because they value your brand so highly.
It means that they’ll keep coming back to you.
A loyal customer is also likely to spend more money with you in a single transaction.
This is valuable, as it’s harder to make a first-time buyer spend a lot in their first transaction.
As mentioned earlier, a loyal customer is more likely to become a brand advocate and tell their friends how happy they are with your product.
That may happen through a word of mouth mention. It may also happen through a social media share.
Today, a happy customer that’s using social media is a powerful powerful asset to you.
So by now, the benefits of a simple thank you note should be evident.
No matter what you sell or where you sell it, a thank you note can do a lot at empowering your customers.
So now that you know why they’re important, let’s take a look at how to write a ‘thank you for your purchase’ note.
There is one golden rule you need to know before writing your note.
Don’t say ‘Thank you for your order’ or ‘Thank you for your business’.
Yes, these are business thank you notes, but you don't want to be seen as a 'business'.
By labelling touch-points with your customer with words like ‘order’, ‘patronage’ or ‘business’, you devalue the transaction. You make your customer feel like just another number in your finance books.
Have a think, what other phrases sound a little too ‘business-ey’?
These just sound bad. Using phrases like this don’t make your customer feel warm and welcome. It makes them feel like you’re just glad they’ve finally paid you.
Avoid thank you for your order by using something like:
The main takeaway here is this:
Business means a transaction. Support means a relationship.
Here are a few other things to remember when writing your thank you note:
The thank-you note is about your customer, not you. Focus on being sincere and honest. Don’t think ‘more sales’.
Now that you know the dos and don’ts of your thank you note, let’s get stuck into writing one!
For some people, writing is hard. Whether it’s a lengthy letter or a simple ‘don’t forget to feed the cat’ note, writing can be tricky.
Which is exactly why you’re now going to see a step by step guide to using the perfect elements in your thank you letter.
By the time you’re done here, you’ll be able to create your own template and modify it for each and every customer.
You only get one first impression, so start off on the right foot by you know, using your customers’ name.
Get straight down to business. You’re writing to say thanks, so say thanks straight away.
You can really push your sincerity home by offering a little personalisation, something specifically for that one buyer. Be honest, don’t be weird.
The most important part here is that you’re honest. If there’s nothing you can personally relate to, don’t make something up just for the sake of a few extra letters.
Close off your thank you note in a casual manner.
Don’t forget though that each part of your thank you note needs to be written for specifically who you’re sending it to.
Not each one of your customers is named Mike.
Also, ensure that what you’re sending is relevant to the reason you’re sending it to.
The above examples aren’t going to work if you’re thanking someone for recommending you to their friend.
Still not confident to write a thank you note yourself?
Look at the following examples to see how a ‘thank you for your business’ note can be written.
So now you know the different elements that come together for a genuine thanks for your order note, it’s time to see how to write a thank you note yourself. Feel free to use these following examples to create your own thank you for purchasing template for whatever purposes you need.
There's one thing you need to remember - they are examples. Each example will have to be customised for your own brand, product and message.
I’m Tom, the co-founder of Barbarian belts. I’m sending you a little note just to say thanks. The Viking belt and buckle you bought are some of my personal favourites.
Try them out and let me know your thoughts. I’m very interested to know how you find them.
Remember that you can swap them over, no questions asked, if you’re not happy.
After talking with you for the last few weeks about our merger problem, I’m feeling a lot more comfortable. Thank you so much for your support, insight and direction.
I’m personally excited for a future working alongside Transparent Inc. and I can assure you that the rest of us are, too.
Our competition won’t know what’s hit them.
It’s not often we get people who make a first purchase as big as you just have. That’s why I’m writing you this note, firstly to say thank you (thank you very much!) and secondly to get your feedback.
Our new range of Angel foundation brushes are growing in popularity, but I’d still love to know what you think.
To sweeten the deal here’s an extra 15% off your next purchase - Just use WELOVEYOUSALLY at the checkout.
Once again, thanks, and please tell us your thoughts!
I’ve seen your name come up quite a few times in recent months, so I thought I’d take the time to personally thank you.
Judging by your purchases, you have a killer taste in fashion. I guess you won’t need me to tell you how good our new Winter range looks with a well-cut jacket.
Thanks once again, I’m just an email away whenever you need me!
PS - Your name looks Spanish - Muchos Gracias!"
The other day, you bought a few little accessories from us. I just thought I’d take a moment to say thanks.
In our industry, it’s obvious that there’s a lot of competition. It’s loyal customers like you that keep us at the top of the industry.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
I’ve noticed that every few weeks you’re placing an order with us.
It means a lot that you constantly keep coming back to us. We’d love any feedback on how to make you even happier.
On a side note, I can assure you that the packs you’ve been buying from us are some of our most popular even - thanks to your efforts!
All the best
Now you know how to write a thank you note for a wide range of situations!
Remember that you need to customise each and every one specific for your situation, but these should help you out if you’re stuck.
But writing a thank you note doesn’t end there - let’s take a look at how to continue the customer appreciation.
The whole point of writing a thank you note is to make your customer feel as special and as important as they actually are.
And if you’re already sending these notes, you may be already benefiting from an increase in customer loyalty.
But combine a ‘thank you for your order note’ with a few other customer appreciation techniques, and you’ll see your brand’s popularity skyrocket.
So, how else can you make your customer feel well and truly appreciated?
Pair up with a charity and donate to them. Either a certain percentage of each sale or hold an annual drive to raise funds for them.
By aligning your brand with a charity whose message resonates with your customers, you improve the way your brand is perceived.
Is there something that all your customer have in common? Find a charity that’s relatable to that, and work with them.
If your customer knew that their purchase would help this little guy from N.E.A.D.S become someone’s helper, would they be more likely to buy from you?
I think they would.
Which charities do we like?
Every now and then, pick a random past customer. Send them a small gift pack full of freebies.
Your customer has a sense of winning something. Plus it reactivates them and can get you some fantastic social media content!
One very overlooked metric of selling online is lifetime value.
By creating and implementing a loyalty program, you encourage your customers to increase their lifetime value. Loyalty programs are often cheap to implement but have a very large ROI in the long run.
Selling cookie jars? Surprise your customer with a pack of cookies.
Selling teapots? Surprise your customer with a pack of tea.
See where I’m going here? Surprise your customer by including a free little treat, something that compliments what they bought from you.
If your products come at a tiered level, considering giving out the occasional free upgrade. Does your ‘Model S’ have more bells and whistles than your ‘Model X’?
Give one lucky buyer a free upgrade to the top-shelf version.
From time to time, throw a gift card into a random package. It may be a gift card for your own store, it may be a gift card for Amazon or eBay (since everyone has an account there).
By giving your customer the sense of winning, you’ll help build that rapport with them.
If you’re regularly asking your customers for feedback (and you should be), show them that they’re making a difference.
If you’ve changed the way you operate because of customer feedback, show that to your fans.
Even if a customer didn’t suggest the change, you’ll be saying ‘Hey, I listen to you and because one of you said this, I fixed it’.
Every brand knows the importance of good quality branding.
You spend a lot of time building your image, your tone of voice, visuals, everything like that.
But when writing your ‘thank you for your purchase’ note, it’s important that you don’t let your branding take over.
While it may be tempting to pull out a bit of paper with the fanciest letterhead and logo on the top, that might not be your best option.
Considering using just a stock standard piece of notepaper. By going the ‘branded’ route, you increase your chances of coming off as a bit of a salesman.
If you really want to push your branding home, throw in a few branded stickers - everyone loves stickers and can find somewhere for them.
1 - Your handwriting is great
Yeah, sure, your handwriting is bad. Everyone’s handwriting is bad.
But that’s where the charm is. If you plan on printing your notes, well then don’t both.The trust is built on your non-perfect handwriting. Go with it!
2 - Keep it short and to the point
You’re writing a thank you note, not a novel. Keep it short and get straight to the point and you’ll keep your reader engaged. Think between 30 and 60 words.
3 - Yes, this will take time
Thank you notes are an investment in your time. If you get hundreds of sales a day, writing for each one may be a bit much. But the point is, that you spend some time each day writing something personal for a select few customers.
This investment will come back with a return in many areas.
4 - You’re not selling anymore
By this point, your customer has already bought from you. It’s your job to now enhance their trust with you by being an open, relatable person.
Don’t spend this time promoting new products or upselling products.
Making your customer happy is a relatively simple process once they’ve bought from you.
But delighting them takes a little more effort. That effort pays off in the form of a bigger lifetime spend and more advocates of your brand.
Therefore it’s safe to say that investing in ‘thank you for your purchase’ notes, as well as customer satisfaction goes a long way in helping your brands’ image.
Do you send out thank you notes to your customers? How do you show customer appreciation?
Let us know in the comments!
The header image is a resource from Etsy.
An Aussie living in Warsaw. Specialising in the field of SEO, digging into analytics and getting graphs trending up and to the right.
6 days ago Use these to inspire you on what to write in a thank you note or card. Ideas include funny, sincere, gift, and general thank you messages.
Whenever you ask people how to fundraise for a non-profit, the conversation immediately goes to how to get new donors.
It’s what most people think of when they’re trying to raise money. It’s the visible work that gets a lot of attention. But that can come at a cost because retaining existing donors is just as important to your organization's finances.
Efforts to get new donors should never come at the cost of retaining existing donors. One important piece of donor retention is writing donation thank you letters.
Penelope Burk, of Burk’s Blog, illustrates the power of a personal thank you note with this story:
“A community hospice sent their new donor-centered thank you letter to a first-time donor who had just made a $100 contribution. The delighted donor called the organization because she ‘wanted to meet the person who had written such a beautiful letter’. Donor and Fundraiser fell into conversation about the Hospice and its future plans. The next day a check arrived via courier with a post-it note attached which read, ‘For your hopes and dreams.’ The check was for $25,000.”
The work of getting a new donor was done—they’d already received the $100 donation. But the work of following up with a personal thank you letter led to personal conversation and ultimately a much larger donation.
Thank you notes are an easy way to improve donor retention and should never be ignored. In This article we’ll discuss the significance of following after donations, what you should (and should not) include, and a lot of donation thank you letter examples.
The strategy you used to gain the support of your donors is still relevant when you are reaching out to thank them after the fact.
Rather than just sending a simple thank you, remind them of the work their donation is allowing you to do. Use your thank you letter as a chance to zoom in on specific projects.
Don’t just copy language that you’ve used in your promotional material. Actually connect this donation to work that you’re currently doing.
In an interview with Network for Good, Lynne Wester, author of The Four Pillars of Donor Relations, was asked where most charities fall short in their donor retention.
“Nonprofits don’t take the time to tell the donor the impact and power of their gift, where the money went, and how it was spent. Instead, they’re too eager to obtain the next gift which leads to horrific retention rates. We have to make the donor the hero and tell a story, not overwhelm them with news and information about the organization or ask them for more money. First we have to thank them, and then tell them the impact their money had.”
Make your donor the hero in the story of your organization.
Aim on getting your thank you letters in the mail within 1 to 2 days after the donation. This shows that you are aware of the gift, and that it has had an effect.
It can seem awkward reaching out to donors so soon after their donation, but being prompt in your response is vital. This shows the donor that you are monitoring what is coming into your organization and gives assurance that their money isn’t lost.
According to Wester “in order to have an optimal effect on donor retention, donors want to receive their acknowledgment within two weeks of their gift.” That includes mailing time on both ends, and gift processing. “Any more than that and the donor feels as though their gift is unimportant and one in a series of many that the institution receives daily.”
You want your donor to feel special, not that they are lost in the crowd.
From a psychological perspective, receiving a thoughtful note produces the chemical high. If the action of sending a donation is not met with a quick response the chemical response will be delayed, thus minimizing the good feeling for the donor.
A common mistake when charitable organizations send thank you notes, is that they forget the purpose of the note.The purpose of your thank you notes is just that, to thank your donors and show them your gratitude.
This is not a reminder to donate again, this is simply a thank you from you to them. It is important to highlight personal gratitude in the message, as well as show the donors the impact their donation is having.
Do not try to solicit new donations or advertise upcoming events in your thank you note. If you are having an event you think a donor would be interested in, send them a separate letter.
The notes should be personal and show your genuine emotion. Do not be afraid to use a familiar tone or exclamation points when appropriate. Your thank you note should be sincere. You should also address the note to the donor specifically.
A first name isn’t always necessary, but please don’t use a general salutation. That vague opening will clash with any personal connection you’re trying to establish.
According to trials run by the Charitable Aid Fund (CAF) in conjunction with the Cabinet Office Behavioral Insights Team there is significant response when there is a personal touch.
“Interestingly, [receiving sweets] was about as effective as receiving a more personalised email from the CEO (‘Dear David’ rather than ‘Dear Colleague’). 12% of people in this group gave a day of their salary to charity.”
— Applying Behavioural Insights to Charitable Giving
Here’s an example letter that follows this advice:
Dear [Donor’s name],
Thank you for your generous gift to [name of organization]. We are thrilled to have your support. Through your donation we have been able to accomplish [goal] and continue working towards [purpose of organization]. You truly make the difference for us, and we are extremely grateful!
Today your donation is going toward [problem]. If you have specific questions about how your gift is being used or our organization as whole, please don’t hesitate to contact [Name] through [contact information].
If this particular donor has a history of giving to your organization it is beneficial to you—and honoring to them—for you to mention it.
You can mention it in the letter itself, a sample paragraph is provided below, or you could also make mention of it in a personal, hand written note at the bottom of the letter.
“Your support through the years has been greatly influential in accomplishing [specific accomplishment] and [specific accomplishment]. It is your continued support that sustains our mission and makes all the difference.”
Adding a one to two sentence update about a specific person or group who have been helped over time is a great addition. Customizing the story for each donor is a nice touch, if possible. Giving connecting factors between donor and recipient would increase a sense of bond and investment in your organization.
“Cindy was helped by our organization last October and has since been able to find a steady job to support her family. Through the help of your donation we supported her through childcare, transportation, interview coaching, and resume review.”
“When an identifiable victim is made into a cause, people appear to be quite compassionate and generous.” argues Deborah Small in her paper Sympathy and Callousness. Giving a specific cause evokes our sympathy, while statistics can simply cause the donor to feel helpless.
It is beneficial to keep the length of the letter manageable. This is because all you need to convey is the gratitude and the impact of the gift. Any additional information can make the letter seem like a chore to read and deter your donors from donating again.
You do not have to have every aspect mentioned here, but this will add variety to your thank you notes. For newer donors you may want to include contact information for someone in your organization who can answer questions.
Your thank you letter should always be signed with a real signature. This adds that personal touch again, showing that a real person took the time to sign the letter.
Additionally, anything after the signature should be handwritten. Nothing says impersonal like a p.s. or personal note that is typed.
As mentioned to in the earlier CAF quote, an additional note—or email—from a board member or high-ranking individual in the organization has a positive impact on donor retention. You also will get some leniency on the timeframe of your follow up letter as long as you acknowledged the gift promptly.
To expedite the process for writing your thank you notes, it is good practice to have some thank you templates that can be customized for each donor.
It’s really important to keep the receipt and thank you separate. If you combine the receipt and thank you letter it can feel like they only received a letter because of the size of the donation. You aren’t thankful that the gift was $500 in the form of a check, you’re thankful that they gave a donation to an important cause.
To ensure the charitable donation is tax deductible, your receipt must contain 6 key elements:
If you’re using donation management software like Donor Tools, you can use the receipts that are automatically generated. If you don’t use a donation management system you can manually create receipts that include these 6 elements.
The pressure of finding donors can be overwhelming, but you can drastically impact your overall fundraising efforts through retaining donors. The simple act of writing a thoughtful donation thank you letter is one simple way to show that your organization cares not only about your mission, but also about donors that make your work possible.
These notes shift the focus from highlighting your organization to the good your donor is doing by giving to your organization. This brings home the sense of accomplishment, and gratification for the donor, which will keep them invested in your organization for years to come.
Dear [Donor’s name],
Thank you for your great generosity! We, at [charitable organization], greatly appreciate your donation, and your sacrifice. Your support helps to further our mission through [general projects], including [specific project or recipient].
Your support is invaluable to us, thank you again! If you have specific questions about our mission be sure to visit our website [link] or reach out to [contact]!
[Name and title]
Dear [Donor’s name],
Together we are making a difference! Your continued support of our mission is deeply gratifying to us, and we hope it is the same for you. We were honored to see that you have chosen to increase your donation this [month/year]. Your gift has already started to [impact].
Please feel free to contact [name, number] if you have any specific questions, we would love the opportunity to thank you again!
With deepest gratitude, and warmest wishes,
Dear [Donor’s name],
It is with great joy I write to you about the impact of your recent gift. It was only last week that the case of Spot was brought to our attention. Thanks to your gift, Spot could receive his necessary shots and immunizations. He is currently being fostered in hope of finding his forever home!
A little thank you note can show anyone you appreciate them. expense of a gift, a shout-out to the gift giver is basically the best way of saying, “Hey, you know.