Friday, January 25, 2013

How to Write a "Thank You" Letter Beyond Those Two Words

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Expressing gratitude in your writing requires more than a simple "thank you." It is a difficult task for many organizations. How do you get past the first two words?
In terms of monetary donations, people generally want to know two things:
1. that their gift was received and recognized; and
2. where their money is going.
The following is a very basic template for writing a thank-you letter.
Paragraph 1:
Thank your financial donor for their gift and acknowledge their goodwill.
Paragraph 2:
Discuss the "need"-the reason you needed money in the first place. Paint a picture of the benefactor(s) of the funds.
Paragraph 3:
Discuss the "solution"-how the donor's money will solve the need mentioned in paragraph 2. Use language to make the donor feel like they are personally making a difference.
Paragraph 4:
Restate your gratitude. Encourage the donor to stay in touch. Promise to keep them updated on how their donation is helping your cause (but be sure you can follow through on that promise before you send the letter).
Above all else, it is important that your gratitude is woven throughout the letter. You do not need to lay it on thick, but should ensure that you choose words to properly communicate your thankfulness.
Using the formula above, here is an example of a very basic (emphasis on the basic) thank-you letter:
Dear X,
Thank you for your donation. We very much appreciate your generous financial contribution to ABC Non-Profit.
Since late 2008, thousands of people in [country name]-infants, children, mothers, fathers and grandparents-have lost their lives due to a lack of water, or because they drank unclean water. Many continue to suffer. But it doesn't have to be this way: they can have access to clean, fresh water and an improved quality of life-thanks to people like you.
Your donation is going towards an exciting initiative that is going to save thousands of lives. Later this year, we will send a team of volunteers to [country name]. There, they will work with community leaders to build state-of-the-art facilities to provide citizens with access to an abundant supply of clean, fresh and safe water.
We hope to have an update for you in the coming months as we embark on this project. Until then, once again, thank you so much for your donation. Simply put, we could not do this kind of work without people like you.
It may take time to write the perfect thank-you letter, but by properly expressing your gratitude, you will greatly increase the chance that the donor will give again.


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