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Tips for Thanking (and Keeping) Donors

Thanking those who give to your nonprofit is more than simply good manners. It’s vital to turning one-time donors into longtime supporters, and to bringing in more revenue.

Yet many charities’ efforts come up short. Research shows that the lack of acknowledgement of a gift is one of the main reasons donors stop giving.

Take a few simple steps to reinvigorate your thank-yous and ensure that donors feel valued. If you do nothing else, make sure to send an acknowledgement, says Lisa Sargeant, a donor-communications consultant, in “A 13-Point Checklist for Writing Better Thank-You Letters to Donors.” The sooner you can deliver this message the better, experts say, but aim to respond no more than a week later.

“Act fast, but with heart,” she says. “If you can get a warm, personal, and engaging thank-you letter out the door within five to seven days of receiving a donation, you’re going to be far more effective than the organization that sends a heartless template letter that arrives in 48 hours.”

This collection offers more guidance and tools to help you show appreciation to supporters, keep them engaged, and inspire them to continue giving for many years to come.