Start 2016 Off Right: How to Thank Well


Every time your donors make a donation you have a free opportunity to thank them.

If you want to really connect with your donors and build a mission-driven relationship with them, you should thank them promptly and emotionally for their gift.  Here’s why.

After a donor makes a gift they tend to ask themselves three questions:

  1. Did you get my gift?
  2. Did you appreciate my gift?
  3. Are you using my gift for what you said you were going to use it for?

It is your job to answer these questions as soon as possible via your receipts, thank you letters, and personal phone calls.

In addition to being prompt and emotional with your ‘thank yous’ it is important that you tell her what their gift is going to do.  Don’t tell her about your programs or your processes.  (Your donor cares more about what her gift will do than she cares about how you will do it.)  And don’t thank her for helping your organization, thank her for what she has done; given a generous gift, helped a beneficiary, helped make the world a better place, etc.

Review your receipts and thank yous today.  Is your organization answering your donor’s three questions?  If so, you’ve nailed the all-important first step to building a relationship with her that can grow over time.


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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