We use cookies to help us provide you with the best experience, improve and tailor our services, and carry out our marketing activities. For more information, including how to manage your cookie settings, see our privacy notice.


Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Community-made content which you can improve Case study from our community

Top 3 elegant ways to express gratitude to your donor

Do you know that children learn five “magic” words as soon as they enter the kindergarten? That’s because they are going to use these expressions in all sorts of situations through their lives.The magic words are: please, sorry, welcome, excuse me, and thank you.


“Thank you” is what you say incountless situations but in certain fields, it is also a professional responsibility. For nonprofits, this phrase has an utmost importance since they need to show appreciation for their donors.

It is not only a question of good manners but also a precondition of future contributions by the same donor. In this article, I will discuss top 3 elegant ways to express gratitude to the people who support your mission.

How to show appreciation for the donor with style
Giving almost $400 billion each year to charity purposesall around the globe, donors certainly deserve a big “thank you” for their help. But the generic approach is not enough in this case as each one of those contributors has to be aware that nonprofits really respect his or her actions.

Donors exchange value for value: they give money to charity programs because they believe in ideas and feel good while supporting them. But at the same time, most of the donors make donations because they seek for social recognition.

Things you'll need

  • It is important to know their motives because it can help you to customize a “thank you” message to your donor. Let’s check out the 3 most appealing ways to express your gratitude.

Thank You Letter

There is a reason why most of the nonprofits write “thank you” letters – they are stylish, classy, and traditional but not obsolete. This is a standard model and you will hardly make a mistake if you choose it to express gratitude to your donor. At the same time, “thank you” letters don’t require using state-of-the-art technology or any other special skill. All you need is a few kind paragraphs. But this is often harder than it seems.

According to professional fundraisers at “thank you” letters give you the opportunity to address donors more personally and call them by names, not titles. Be friendly in a polite manner but don’t get too informal. You should also add a short but true story about the peculiarities of your campaign and emphasize the results you achieved thanks to the donor’s help. If possible, try to create a handwritten message. In case you don’t have enough time for it, always remember to sign it yourself. 


Social media thanks

A“thank you” note posted online has become a big deal in the charity sector recently. The reason is simple – while it still gives you pretty much the same design to acknowledge donors’ support like in the standard “thank you” letters, it allows you to share your gratitude with online users at the same time.

Needless to say, you will also indulge donors this way and make them look more important in the eyes of the world. Don’t think that this sort of promotion is meaningless. Think about it this way – Facebook alone gathers more than 2 billion users, while other social networks also attract hundreds of millions of people. Is there a better way to let the world know how generous your donors are? 


Video message

When you really want to emphasize the importance of one’s donation, you can invest some time in it and create a “thank you” video. It takes only a solid camera and a nice idea to do it but most nonprofits don’t want to bother with it.

Make it short but sweet and remember to reveal the human side of the story because donors will remember you better this way. Besides being a beautiful way to thank the donor, videos are very modern and still provide you with the opportunity to share them online. So give them a try – it will be a unique “thank you” message and the world will get to see it. 


The don’ts of thank you messages

Creating a good “thank you” message is not only about what you should do but also about what you can’t do, say, or write. Here are the most important don’ts of this process.


  • Don’t be late

Donors expect to receive a “thank you” note within one or two days the most. This is the usual period during which they still think about their actions intensively and you will indulge them the most if you express recognition soon.


  • Don’t generalize

Sending a generic message is by no means acceptable. If you currently don’t have enough time to design a personalized “thank you” letter, it’s better to send it later than to send something that your donor can’t relate to.


  • Don’t forget to mention the cause

Donors love to know that you used their money for the concrete action and you should always emphasize this. It also allows charity givers to tell their friends and colleagues what they did, which increases your chances to receive some extra donations later on.


  • Don’t sound like asking for more

Of course you would love to see donations keep coming. However, this doesn’t give you the right to be pushy and don’t ever send a message that sounds like you are asking for more. It will make you look like a gold-digger and you will probably chase away the donor.


  • Don’t make typos

If you write a “thank you” letter, please mind the grammar and spelling. Everybody makes mistakes but you can’t afford to skip the proofreading part. Sending a message with typing mistakes reveals sloppy work and carelessness.

Further information

Letting your donors know that you appreciate their giving is almost as important for nonprofits as the fundraising itself. That’s why you always have to create an appealing “thank you” message after donation. 


Page last edited Oct 12, 2017 History

Help us to improve this page – give us feedback.