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A Great Way to REALLY Thank Your Donors


I want to show you one of the best examples of donor care that I’ve ever seen.

I got it more than 10 years ago, from the Children’s Cancer Institute in Australia. To read the whole thing, click here.

We typically think of a donor newsletter as the best kind of donor care. This letter shows a different — and very effective — way to show donors they matter.

In a personalised, four-page letter, here’s what it does:

  • Specifically thanks the donor for his giving. 
  • Reminds the donor about Anna, a cancer survivor whose story was told in a letter previously sent to the donor.
  • Shares an inspiring quote from a fellow donor.
  • Reminds the donor how important the work he supports is.
  • Describes some interesting recent research projects and thanks the donor for making them possible.
  • Talks about some recent appeals that the donor gave to and thanks him for it, and updates the stories that were in the appeals.
  • Tells the donor about an upcoming change in leadership.

This same content could have been expressed in a very good donor newsletter. It would be a strong newsletter indeed. But there are some advantages to putting all that good material into a letter.

  • It’s much easier and less expensive to produce than a typical newsletter. If you have limited resources (who doesn’t?), this might be a much more realistic project!
  • It’s more flexible than a newsletter. It can be longer or shorter as needed.
  • In a way, it feels more personal than a newsletter. After all, a newsletter is a “publication.” A donor reading it is aware that many others also got the same thing. But a letter is for one person — even if the same number of people get it!
  • When a letter like this is tested against a more traditional newsletter, it performs just as well, and sometimes better.

Telling donors you appreciate them and showing them that their giving matters is a key to successful fundraising. Try this way of doing that!

To discover how you can form a meaningful connection with your donors and transform your fundraising check out our workshop, Donor Love Made Practical. It’s available for members of The Fundraisingology LabThe Fundraisingology Lab by Moceanic will supply you with high-quality training, expert advice, and an amazing community to take your fundraising to a whole new level.

Ready to get started? Click here to learn more.


  • Sean Triner

    Sean Triner is a Co-Founder of Moceanic and Pareto Group. With over three decades of experience in fundraising and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in mathematics, Sean has a wealth of fundraising expertise to share with Moceanic members and blog readers. He is also a coach and available for bookings on the Coaching+ program for fundraisers to help answer your questions and work hands-on directly with you.

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6 Comments. Leave new

  • Sophie Penney
    January 24, 2019 4:03 am

    This is what in a former world in which I worked we called a leaders’ letter. At my suggestion of my clients sends such a letter to long-time loyal donors and major and planned giving donors The letter goes four times per year and touches in greater depth on a topic, and tells a story, that people would otherwise not hear. One letter resulted in a $1,000 gift to support a service that few even realized was provided by the nonprofit.

    One final note, I highly recommend that the ED write a brief personal note at the bottom of letters. While it takes time I can guarantee that donors take notice. A dean with whom I worked did this. When I traveled to see people who received the letters one of the first things they said was please thank the dean for taking the time to write that note.

  • I used to do this at an organization where I worked. I’d ghostwrite something for the ED and then have him sign and personalize the bottom of each.

    Do you include any kind of remit with this? I never did, but am curious about others.

  • The use of red ink and all the dates just confused me. My head hurts now. 🙁

  • Thanks for this example of a great thank you letter! It arrived just in time to help me write a letter (from the ED) to include with the mail out of our 2018 charitable tax receipts.

  • Who would you recommend sending this to? Would it work for RGs who aren’t necessarily giving to a specific appeal?


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