Why send a thank you note at all?
After a supporter has made a donation, thank you emails are an easy way to express your gratitude, show your supporters that their donation matters, and make them want to donate again...if done correctly. But too many nonprofits let this opportunity for cementing lasting relationships pass them by. While others settle for thank you messages that are just ho-hum.
So, how do you write a really awesome thank you email? One that will go down in the Mega Book of the Greatest Emails to Ever Be Sent Across the Internet (ok, well, you get the picture)?
Let’s start with step #1 and dissect this ‘thank you’ email from the Polaris Project:
1) Make It Personal
You’re not a robot! And your supporters don’t like being treated like one either. Go the extra mile to personalize your messages.
Use merge fields like "First_Name" and other forms of dynamic content like donation history to make your message stand out. But also remember to sign your name! Who is this email coming from? Whether it's your Executive Director or someone who’s directly benefited from your organization’s work - the From line of your email matters too. So don’t just assign any name, but think about how the tone of your message may change depending on who’s signing it.
Tone matters. If you’re not excited about gaining new supporters, then why will supporters be excited to join you? Let out all those feelings of warmth and gratitude. Don’t just say ‘thank you’ say ‘THANK YOU!!!!!’
3) Show Me the Money!
Give specifics about where donor dollars will go. Will contributions be used for advances in research? to mobilize legislative advocates? to fund a big marketing campaign? or to help directly with programmatic work? Whatever it is, be upfront and transparent. Explain how this specific line of work will impact your overall mission.
4) Make It Timely
In addition to being specific about the campaign or cause supporters are contributing to, also be specific about how long it has taken you to hit your goal. The more open you can be about your campaign goals (and the challenge of meeting them), the more likely you are to inspire confidence among your supporters.
5) Say it in a Picture
You’ve probably heard that images say a thousand words. But these days the power of images is only increasing, so use them! And you don’t have to be a National Geographic photographer to capture people’s attention (sure, it helps). But try to capture the passion behind your work - volunteers passing out information, rallies, fundraising events, families and communities coming together to support your cause. And it’s okay sometimes to use imagery that’s more graphical - again, see the Polaris Project email above. Visually, the big 'thank you' grabs your attention.
See more examples of organizations breaking through with their campaigns on #GivingTuesday using powerful images. And be sure to read more about visual storytelling to learn how to master the power of the image for your emails.
6) Keep it SHORT
At the end of the day, donors keep your organization alive, and you should let them know how grateful you are of that. Take the necessary time to send your donors the thank you notes they deserve. They will appreciate being appreciated, and you will be grateful for their continued support.
7) Share It Out
Here's another 'thank you' from Polaris Project that integrates social media nicely:
And with that, you’re now ready to thank with the best of ‘em!
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