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You'll thank us later.

As we approach the halfway mark of the calendar year, you’ve probably got a good handle on your fundraising plan* for the year. Maybe you’ve already sent out a spring appeal or a gratitude report. Maybe you’re collecting stories for your fall newsletter, or are already thinking about your digital plan for your year-end campaign.

Have you also dusted off and refreshed your thank you content?

We don’t mean your highly personalized, appeal-specific thank you letters to donors (although yes, please change that with every new appeal you send).

We’re talking about the generic thank you messages that pop up on a donor’s screen after they give online, or the standard thank you note you send by mail or email when a donor makes an unsolicited gift.

If it’s been a while since anyone has looked at those, now’s the perfect time! We’ve shared leading practice on how to write great thank you letters before, but here are some quick tips:

  • Make it personal, heartfelt and warm, not cold, formal and robotic.

  • Approach it as a one-to-one communication. Don’t write it as though it’s a form letter than hundreds of people will read, and avoid phrases that lump the recipients all together, e.g. “donors like you”.

  • Rather than boring the donor with stats about your organization’s effectiveness or number of people served, consider sharing a short impact story as an illustration of how today’s gift will be put into action.

  • Share the email and telephone number of an actual human at your organization, and let the donor know they can contact them with any questions.

Good luck, and have fun with it!

*And by the way, if you feel like you haven’t got a good handle on your fundraising plan for the year, let us know—we’d be happy to schedule a no-obligation Zoom call to see how we can help.

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Holly H. Paulin, CFRE and Brock Warner CFRE are the co-founders of Broccoli, and have over 30 years combined experience helping nonprofit fundraisers and charities do more. 

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