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!