You’ve likely heard the saying that you get one chance to make a first impression.

It’s definitely true with your Thank-You letter.

The first sentence of your Thank-You letter is your first impression with your donor in acknowledging their gift.  Get it right and they’ll read on.  Mess it up, and they’re done reading.

How do you mess up the first line of a Thank-You letter?  Make it boring and predictable.  Put your reader to sleep, like this:

“On behalf of the staff and Board of the XYZ organization, thank you for your recent gift.”


If your letter sounds like that, it’s time to change it! You’re boring your donors!

How do you start your letter off on the right foot?

Make it warm, sincere, and most of all, unexpected.  Imagine a letter that starts like this:

“We needed you and you were there.”

or like this:

“You just made my day!”

The point of your Thank-You letter is to let the donor know you got their gift and that you appreciate it.

When you can be real and authentic in your letter, not dry and institutional, you will score points with your donor.

Donors love knowing that they’ve made a good decision to give to your organization.  And your well-written, warm letter will give them that reassurance.

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