Roberta Helmstadter, Account Director  ●  1/28/2021

Thank You, Thank You, THANK YOU!

thank you note



At the start of the pandemic, I admit I indulged in some retail therapy.  I ordered a pair of shoes, and when they came, there was something extra in the box that caught my attention.  It was a note card, thanking me.  But it was different than just the standard “thank you for your order” text.  It felt sincere, genuine, and acknowledged the current global situation in a subtle way.  It made me want to buy more shoes to support this company.

When every day started to feel the same, I liked that this note was a little different.  I thought about how The Salvation Army can also incorporate this ‘something different’ in their thank-you notes to donors.  Of course, every donor should receive the printed, automated thank-you after each gift — that is a must.  But I am referring specifically to sending your special high-end donors (those you should already be communicating with) a personal note.  When your major donors also support several other nonprofit organizations, how can you stand out in the crowd?

What is going to be that extra thing that makes a donor take notice, feel compassion, and want to continue to support your programs?


Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  •  Include a copy of artwork that a child made during an afterschool program, or while attending summer camp.  Be sure to identify their first name and age.
  •  Add a compelling photo of the mobile canteen with people waiting for a meal or the food pantry showing a line of people in need.  Remind the donor that because of her support, these programs exist and are helping those in her community.
  •  Share a scripture that you hold close to your heart or that ties in with your message of gratitude.
  •  Provide details on an upcoming event (in-person or virtual).  Or record a tour of your facilities and programs, then post it online.  Provide the link so donors can view the good work being done in your area.

TIP: Be prepared in advance, so this doesn’t feel like a chore.  Get organized with thank-you note supplies, and when the time comes to write your notes, everything you need is at your fingertips.  If you are including a photo or printed Bible verse, have a stack of them to rotate each month.

By adding an extra personal touch, you have now engaged with your donor, made an extra connection, and strengthened your relationship with her.  When the next appeal letter arrives in her mailbox (surrounded by other charities) asking for support, she may remember that additional care you took to recognize her generosity, and ultimately choose your organization over the others.

This is true in many areas of life, not just acknowledgements: Sometimes it takes a minor effort to make a big impact.

How are you thanking donors during this crisis?  Let us know and you might be featured in a future The Ringer article.


Get More Insights Into:


Read The Latest Posts

The Ringer wordmark

Our blog shares tips and insight specially tailored for our friends at The Salvation Army. Subscribe to have Salvation Army fundraising news delivered to your inbox.

Get straightforward thoughts and insights every month.