Thank you letters are a great way of retaining existing donors, of showing your donors exactly where their funds go and, quite simply, of making people feel good.
Here’s a guide on writing an excellent and impactful thank you letter for donations, including a few template donation thank you letters to get you started.
Why is it important to write a thank you letter for monetary donations?
Often a thank you letter is seen as a simple receipt for donations. A purely transactional letter without any real thought behind it. However, donating money is an emotional act, one that is kind and that makes a donor feel good.
Writing a thank you letter that is personal, sincere and grateful becomes an important part of this emotional process, allowing your donors to feel good about helping your cause.
Not only that, but ensuring that your donors are aware of how their donation made an impact on your club and how grateful you are can be the exact thing that cinches a future donation, helping you to retain your donors and lessen your club’s financial burden the following year.
What should you include in a thank you letter?
It is often the case that your club secretary or treasurer will write your club’s donor thank you letters.
A great donor letter is personal, specific and prompt. You must always address the donor by name. For your letter to have impact, your donor will want to know how their donation specifically helped your club.
Tip: Keep a spreadsheet or a digital file with a note of all of your donors, how much they donated and when you wrote to them with a thank you note. This will help you to keep track of funds raised, will ensure no donors get missed from the thank you letter pile - and will also help you identify when you were last in contact with each donor, helping you to avoid spamming them with requests for cash!
Your letter should come from a person, where possible, to continue the personal feel throughout. Whether it’s your secretary or treasurer sending the message, try to add your name and signature to the bottom of your message.
If the funds were raised for a specific reason - e.g, for a new sports kit for the football team, you could send the letter from the captain of the football team to create a powerful connection from funding to impact.
Further reading: How to get funding for your sports club
When should you send a thank you letter?
Send your donation letter as promptly as possible. You should aim to respond within 72 hours of receiving said donation in order to communicate how grateful you are for receiving the funds. This will allow your donors to feel appreciated immediately and will remind them that they gave funds to your club.
While your turnaround time needs to be tight - if you can evidence the impact of the individual donation made in your letter, then by all means do so. This means telling your donor explicitly:
- what their funds were used for
- how their money helped
- what that meant to the club
It may be the case that you will be sending your thank you letter before the funds will be used, in which case, making a note to follow up with a further letter evidencing the proof of how the money was spent will further solidify your relationship with each donor.
For example, perhaps a donor sponsored an event, and you wish to thank them in advance of the event. You could then get in touch a week after the event with pictures, a brief summary of how their money was used and a further thanks.
It’s important to note that your thank you note is an opportunity to build on your relationship with your donor, so by all means tell them a bit more about your club, what you do and how you help the community!
Further reading: 12 Fundraising ideas for your club
How to write a thank you letter
A thank you letter would traditionally be written by hand, but it can be just as effective to email your thank you letter - not least because this makes it significantly easier to attach images or videos to evidence how you spend their donation.
You could also type your letter out before printing it and posting it, adding your signature to the bottom for an extra personal touch. If you’re opting for a printed or hand-written thank you letter - be sure to post it promptly and pay the extra for a speedy delivery! A first class stamp shows that your communication with them is a priority for you.
If you’re against the clock, we would advise emailing your thank you letter, just be sure to make you create an individual email for each donor and avoid mass copy and pasting.
8 Top tips for writing a thank you letter
- Use the right tone
Always use a friendly tone of voice in your thank you letters. Avoid corporate speak like ‘on behalf of x sports club’, and instead stick to sincere language that’s informal. End with kind regards and try to talk to your donors like they’re friends.
2. Make it personal
Place your donor at the centre of your letter. Let them know the impact that they specifically have had. Language like ‘because of you’, ‘thanks to your donation’, ‘thanks to your generosity’. Not only are these things true, but they’re great for donors to hear too.
3. Maintain professionalism
While you need to be friendly - don’t forget your professional side when writing. Be clear about who you are and which club you’re writing from, leave contact details and proof read your letter before you send.
4. Be clear
Avoid any club-specific jargon that’s difficult to understand. You want to be clear, concise and easy to understand, so avoid any abbreviations or internal lingo in your letter.
5. Don’t make any specific asks
You may be looking to secure even more funding, for volunteers for an event or perhaps to invite your donors to a specific event - however, your thank you letter should be just that; a letter of thanks. Don’t dilute your grateful message by asking for something else in the same letter. Keep it simple, then reach out again should you need to.
6. Include quotes or anecdotes (if you can)
Whether your donor provided funding for an event, a sports kit or some club repairs, be sure to gather some quick quotes about the impact their funding has made to make your letter extra personal.
7. Maintain the relationship
If your donor has a history with donating to your club, be sure to reference it in your letter. If they’re a regular giver - don’t forget to acknowledge their ongoing support over the years/months.
8. Keep it short and sweet
While you want them to be personal and heart-warming, they don’t need to be essays.
Donation thank you letters [Templates]
Dear [donor’s name],
Thank you for your generous donation to [name of sports club]. We are so happy to have your support. Thanks to your donation, we have been able to accomplish [accomplishment], and your funding contributed to [specific item/expenditure]. We are very grateful for your help, and you have made an incredible difference to our club.
[insert quote or story about specific event/donation]
[Name of sports club] are looking forward to the upcoming events in our calendar, including [name of events], none of which would be possible without the help of donors like you.
Thank you once again.
[Name of your club]
Dear [donor’s name],
My name is [enter name], and I’m writing to you to thank you for the generous donation you made to [name of sports club]. We will be using your donation to fund [insert where donation is going], and without your kindness, we simply wouldn’t be able to do so.
[insert picture of club/team].
Please know that your donation will be making a huge difference to many members of our club, allowing our [example of what funding will allow] - and for that we cannot thank you enough.
We will be in touch in a few weeks to show you [evidence of where money has gone].
Thank you once again.
[Name of your club]
Dear [Donor’s name],
It is with great joy that I write to you about the impact of your recent gift to [name of sports club]. Your funding allowed us to invest in [example of where funding went], which would have been impossible without your help.
[include pictures to reference funding]
[include quote that references what funding helped to achieve]
We are so grateful for everything you’ve done to help us. [reference long-standing relationship with club if applicable].
[Name of your club]
Both writing and receiving a thank you letter should feel good - but more than that, when you’re writing them on behalf of a club, ensuring your thank you letter is personal, friendly and well thought out could be the difference between securing a one-time donation, or a recurring one.
The above article should equip you with everything you need to write an effective thank you letter that makes your donors feel great, so be sure to take note of the top tips and follow the templates to send a great letter of thanks to your donors every single time.
Further reading: How to be a good club treasurer