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How to thank your supporters

As a charity, your supporters are essential – so making sure they know how much you appreciate their donations is key to maintaining your relationships with them. This guide looks at ways to thank your supporters effectively.

 

1

Acknowledge the stage your supporter is at

Make sure you acknowledge the supporter’s relationship with you – is it a first gift, a repeat gift, a reactivation gift, or a regular gift? Acknowledge and reference each appropriately. Supporters are at different stages of their relationship with you, by showing you understand this and directly acknowledging it, you demonstrate that you are treating them as an individual and make them feel more valued by your organisation.

2

Make your content engaging

Too many letters and e-mails start with a generic thank you, make fleeting, predictable reference to the work and finish with some lacklustre offer of providing more information if needed. Let’s be honest here, no one is excited by a letter that starts ‘Thank you for your gift of £x’. Instead try writing in your own style, be more personal and look for something to grab the reader’s interest straight away. An unusual opening can work wonders – try a startling fact or statistic, a personal observation, a rhetorical question, a description of the beneficiary.

Avoid the predictable, over-used phrases (“it really is greatly appreciated”, “you really are making a difference”, “thanks to people like you”) and find a better way of genuinely saying thank you for a gift that is making a difference to the work you do. This can be done in a number of ways – make your communication more memorable and inspiring by adding quotes, a case study, an extract from an e-mail – something that gives proof of impact and demonstrates the difference supporting your charity can have. Above all, supporters want to know what impact their gift has had – so be specific.

3

Use inclusive language

Write in a style that connects you to the supporter and makes them feel involved and part of something. Use “you” rather than “we” or “us”. Be inclusive not exclusive. 

4

Don’t ask for another gift

A thank you letter with an ask in it is not a thank you letter at all – it is an ask with a secondary thank you for supporting, and that is exactly how it will be seen by your supporter.

Further information

  • John Grain contributed to this guide – he commissioned a project by The Commission on the Donor Experience

Contributors

Page last edited Mar 30, 2020 History

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