What’s the Purpose of a Thank-you Letter?

By Simone Joyaux
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)



Thank you
Sure, the letter acknowledges receipt of the gift. Yes, the thank-you letter is part of tax reporting with government.

But, certainly you realize that the donor thank-you letter is much more than either of these first two statements.

Sadly, too many nonprofits behave as if the thank-you letter is a pro forma activity. This is so bad!
Sometimes nonprofits treat the thank-you letter as the end of the relationship with the donor. We got the gift. Yippee! The donor is now ours. Let’s move on to acquiring that next donor.

And for those loyal donors? “Hey, you already like us, so you don’t need anything special in your thank-you letter.” This approach should be called the “how to lose a donor easily” strategy!
Instead, ask yourself again, “What’s the purpose of a thank-you letter?

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