The Art of a Thank You

While perusing various blogs on non-profit communication, I came across an article on Kivi’s Non-Profit Communications Blog about how to write a superb thank you letter electronically on the behalf of a non-profit. My parents, being of the baby-boomers generation, have always stressed the importance of delivering a hand-written thank you to people, whether it be a relative or an employer. I’m definitely someone who loves handmade tokens of appreciation, but this option isn’t always the most practical these days, especially for a non-profit that has to send out hundreds of thank yous to donors and volunteers in a short amount of time. This leaves email as a safe and efficient option.

One of the key components to a successful thank you email is to make it meaningful for the person receiving the thank you. The worst thing that can happen is that the person feels like they are just another email address in the long list of thank yous when they open up a generic mass email. In this case, they are less likely to contribute again, which is counterproductive for the non-profit.

Through the example thank you email in the article, Kivi shows the importance of creating a welcoming and appreciative tone by stressing how the recipient’s donation or services meant to the non-profit. In addition, it helps to include a photo or other visuals of the people/animals/etc. who benefit from the work of the non-profit. By putting a face to a cause, the recipient may feel more inclined to continue to offer their resources when they more of a connection to the organization.

Donors and volunteers also want to see how much progress was made due to their contribution. Whether they helped an child attend school or helped a whole community, it’s important to show some statistics or numbers so they feel as if the contribution was meaningful. Lastly, make sure to include the recipients’ names in the email, especially if it is an automated message sent to everyone. The little details and effort put forth to personalizing the thank you email goes a long way.

Even though a hand-written thank you letter tends to bring out more warm, fuzzy feelings than an email, there are always way to spruce up an email to make it seem just as heartfelt and appreciative for any recipient. It is simply a matter of taking the time to build a relationship with the recipient through the letter, which can make all the difference!


Hello everyone! My name is Nicolette and I am a junior at the University of Michigan studying Communications and English. Growing up, I liked to spend time volunteering and working with kids, whether it be at the after-school reading program at the library or as a camp counselor for the summer. Even though my plans for my future have changed approximately 1000 times, I’ve always come back to the same idea of empowering children in some way and that has been my goal ever since. This is ultimately what led me to want to work for a non-profit organization.

In terms of experience, I’m currently the VP of MStars for the Make-A-Wish Foundation at U of M and have been involved with the organization for the past 3 years. We raise money to donate towards the children’s wishes and have the opportunity to meet the kids, all who have been the most appreciative group of kids I have ever met. If seeing their smiles isn’t motivation enough to help the cause, I’m not sure what is!

In the past few years, I’ve also been in charge of the social media and marketing for the club, but I have yet to set foot in the wonderful world of blogging. I’ve had some experience with writing as a journalist for the Monroe Street Journal, a newspaper for the business school on campus, and have dabbled in creative writing in my free time (not quite worthy of a Pulitzer, I assure you), but I am still in search of my blogging niche. This is why I am especially excited to combine two of my favorite things into one blog and explore marketing for a non-profit through new media.

On that note, I also love feedback, so comment away. Thanks for following me and enjoy!