How to Write Nonprofit Thank You Letter ( + FREE Templates)

Philip Manzano • Sep 12, 2018
thank you letter templates for nonprofits

Thanking your donors, sponsors, or volunteers is an important step in nurturing long-lasting relationships with the goal of continued support.

We know creating a thank you letter or email from scratch can be a challenge. Here we share our top thank you letter tips, plus our seven best thank you letter templates. They’re customizable so you can create the perfect thank you for your nonprofit organization.

Say ‘Thank You’ The Right Way

We know creating a thank you letter or email from scratch can be a challenge. We create a guide and 7 customizable templates to thanks donors, volunteers, sponsors, and more!

Thank You Letter Writing Tips and Best Practices

When writing thank you letters, it’s important to be genuine and thoughtful. This step is a vital part of donor retention.

You want to be personal with your reach-outs, and the more catered your messages are, the better. This is the reason that a lot of fundraisers tend to stay away from templates. But we think that this is a bit of a flaw — templates help to organize your ideas in a logical flow.

Before we look at the best way to structure your Thank You letter, let’s look at some of the best tips around sending these types of notes .

Before we discuss the structure of your thank you letter, let’s first look at five nonprofit thank you letter best practices to keep in mind throughout the process. 

1. Send your letter as soon as possible: A timely response is an important part of supporter recognition. Donors, sponsors, and volunteers wish to be thanked for their contributions, and expressing your appreciation goes a long way in maintaining the relationship. The sooner your team can reach out , the better. 

2. Consider the format: Consider the format: Understand your audience. If you have an older demographic of supporters it might be preferable to send a physical letter through the mail. However, if you have a younger demographic of supporters, you might want to send an email. You could even include a video. This will increase the likelihood that your supporters will receive the thank you and that it will resonate with them.

3. Tone: When writing thank you letters, it’s important to be genuine and thoughtful. Take the time to personalize your message as much as possible.

4. Be concise and clear: Let the focus of your message be strictly about thanking them for their contribution. Avoid strong calls-to-action which can make your gratitude seem disingenuous.

5. Proofread your work: Every touchpoint a supporter has with your organization is an opportunity to demonstrate your dedication to the cause.. Your messaging should be professional and free of grammar or spelling mistakes— especially when it comes to the supporter’s name!

Nonprofit Thank You Letter Outlines and Templates

It’s time to begin writing your thank you letter. Below you will find outlines tailored for different types of supporters from donors to volunteers, each with a corresponding template. The templates are free and customizable so you can easily create your perfect thank you.

Donor Thank You Letter

Structure of a Donor Thank You Letter

Salutation: Unless your donor has insisted otherwise, address them by name to continue nurturing a lasting relationship with the individual.

Paragraph 1: Start by thanking the donor for their contribution. But take this as an opportunity to be very specific about the gift that you received. This helps to personalize the letter.If there was a specific campaign or impact area that the donor contributed to, you can mention it here as well.

Paragraph 2: Use this paragraph to talk specifically about what this gift will do. For instance, do you have giving categories that provide a breakdown of what each amount will achieve? Do you have a project that is closer to completion because of the contribution? Do you know how many people will be positively impacted by this donation? Sharing these numbers and details fosters a connection between the donor and your work, leading to future gifts of support. 

Paragraph 3: Here’s your chance to talk more broadly about your organization’s work and mission. This is a great place to detail how your donor’s contribution actually helps to accomplish the larger mission of the organization.

Close: Thank your donor one final time. There’s no such thing as over-thanking here. Let them know that they are important to the mission, and tell them what will happen next with your relationship. Will they receive more information? Will they get progress reports? Detail those points in your conclusion.

Signature: It’s important to have a handwritten signature at the bottom of your letter, ideally by a leader within your organization. This gesture further demonstrates your gratitude and creates a human connection.

Thank you SO MUCH for your generous donation of $250 to the Seed Library Initiative! Donors like you help keep our mission of feeding our community’s most vulnerable neighbors, alive.

Because of your $250 donation, we will be able to bring in 50 new types of plants into our community garden. Each of these plants should be able to feed a family of four. So, your donation is actually helping to impact the lives of 200 people!

Because of you, these individuals have access to food security, locally.

Take Michelle, a young woman who lives in Vancouver, Canada. Michelle lost her job last year and has struggled to buy food for herself and her child. Thanks to your support, she gets a bag of fresh fruits and vegetables every week. On top of that, she found a new purpose in life: gardening! Michelle is now a proud member of our gardening team and couldn’t be happier.

Thank you once again for your generous contribution. We will send you updates over the next few months so that you know exactly what is happening with your donation, and the impact that we have been able to create together.

With all my gratitude,

Sarah Craigen

Executive Director

Sponsorship Thank You Letter

Structure of a Thank You Letter for Sponsorship

Salutation: Address this letter to the individual you have been working with to secure the sponsorship. This personalized greeting will mean a lot to the sponsor.

Paragraph 1: Begin by thanking the sponsor for their specific contribution. Also mention if there was a specific event that the sponsorship supported.

Paragraph 2: Tell the sponsor what impact they have made through their sponsorship. Success in the world of sponsorship often revolves around ROI or return on investment. This can come in the form of impact, reach, dollars raised — the list is endless. Clearly recounting the positive effects the sponsorship had boosts trust and demonstrates what is possible with future sponsorships.

Paragraph 3: Talk more broadly about your organization’s work and mission. This is a great time to share how your sponsor’s contribution helps to accomplish the larger mission of the organization

Close: Thank them again. Let them know that they are important to the work, moving forward and tell them what will happen next with your relationship. 

Signature: A founder, director, or board member signature is always best for a sponsor thank you letter. 

Thank You Letter Template For Sponsorship

I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for the support you provided to our Plant Sale fundraiser on Earth Day.

Your contribution was crucial to the success of the event. You helped us gather almost 2,000 plants and seeds from local farmers — all of which were sold as part of our fundraiser.

In total, we raised $16,300. A huge success!

Here’s what a donor said about the event: “It is important for our family to make a difference in our local community. Your organization is making a tremendous impact on so many people while teaching us how to adopt an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Thank you for organizing such a great event! We’ll come again.”

This year, we aim to feed over 100,000 people across the region, and your support is helping us achieve this goal.

We plan to organize more events of this kind in the future and eagerly await the opportunity to partner together again and further our relationship.

With all my gratitude,

Sarah Craigen,

Executive Director

Volunteering Thank You Letter

Structure of a Thank You Letter For Volunteers

Salutation: Volunteers are the backbone of every nonprofit, so it is important to address each volunteer personally by name. Feeling appreciated will inspire volunteers to help in the future. 

Paragraph 1: Start by thanking the volunteer for their specific contribution. Speak to the amount of time they have dedicated to the cause, and the programs they have volunteered with.

Paragraph 2: Share the impact they have had during their volunteer time. Have you been tracking metrics? Did they help you achieve a very important goal? Talk about those metrics and achievements here to tailor this message. 

Paragraph 3: Express the importance of volunteering to your organization’s work,pointing out the volunteer’s role in your organization’s overall mission and vision for the community.

Close: Thank your volunteers one final time. Invite them to be part of your organization as a volunteer, moving forward. Let them know how important they are to you, and that you want them to stay involved.

Signature: Typically we recommend a founder, board member or leader sign a thank you letter however, in this case it may mean more to the volunteer if the person working closest with the volunteer or the program director signed this particular letter. 

Thank You Letter Template For Volunteers

It was a pleasure to have you at our Plant Sale Fundraiser on Earth Day.

Our community really appreciated the event and it was only possible because of you. Your efforts helped us raise $16,300. A huge success!

Your idea to partner with local gardeners and have them share their expertise is a big part of what made this event successful.

All the organizing team appreciates the energy and passion you gave to our event.

Thank you so much for sharing your time and ideas.

I look forward to seeing you again and especially at our next event.

With all my gratitude,

Sarah Craigen

Volunteer Manager

Event Attendance Thank You Letter

Structure of a Thank You Letter For Event Attendees

Salutation: Events can be tricky, because you might not have had the chance to meet everyone and build a personal relationship. We would still use this as an opportunity to address individuals by their first name. This makes it more personal, even if you missed that chance at the event.

Paragraph 1: Thank the event attendee for coming to your event. Be sure to reference the name of the event so the recipient knows exactly what this is referring to.

Paragraph 2: Talk about some highlights from the event and mention any positive outcomes. Was there a fundraising goal that you hit? Were there any special prizes given out? Talk about those here.

Close: Thank your attendee again. Conclude with some follow up items, if you have any such as photos or videos from the event, links to a survey, etc.

Signature: The main organizer of the event should sign off here. You can also ask someone higher up in your organization to do the sign off to make the recipient feel a bit more important.

Thank You Letter Template For Event Attendees

I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for attending our annual gala.

It was a massive success and your support means a lot to me.

The gala helped us raised $22,000. This money will be put towards our mission — making food accessible for those who need it.

This year, we aim to feed over 100,000 people and your participation is helping us providing assistance to entire communities.

I invite you to take a look at the photos of the event.

Once again, thank you so much. Grandview Heights Community Garden could not do what it does without the generous support of a caring community.

May you have a happy and prosperous year.

With all my gratitude,

Sarah Craigen,

Executive Director

Using Nonprofit Technology to Thank Donors

Nonprofit technology is so important for the modern nonprofit landscape, especially for those nonprofits who want to make data-driven decisions. And there are a few ways that technology can help you thank your donors better. Here’s one way that your tools can help you dictate the type of messages you should include within your Thank You note. Create Smart Lists Using a CRM software ( the ideal piece of nonprofit technology) create lists of donor segments, ideally based on when they have given to your organization. One suggestion would be to use these parameters: Given in the last month , Six months since last gift , and one year since last gift. Using these three lists, you can create some pretty robust, and catered Thank Yous. • For those who gave in the last month: focus your messaging on the immediacy of their gift, and how it will contribute to your most recent appeals and initiatives. Thank your donor for joining you in the fight to support your cause — especially if it’s a timely thing! • For those who gave their last gift six months ago: focus your messaging on impact. Talk about what has happened within your organization since they donated. Donors love to feel connected to their cause, and appreciate knowing where their dollars are going. But remember to thank them for their gift — even if you already did after receiving it. The impact that you’re reporting on is a direct outcome of the contributions these donors have made. Don’t forget that. • For those who gave their last gift a year ago: focus your messaging on your mission. Talk about what drives your organization and your long-term goals. Helping your donors — especially donors from a year ago — understand the long-term vision, will help to connect them back to your nonprofit in a tangible way. Thank them for their support in furthering your mission, and invite them to be a part of the impact moving forward. A well-timed thank you might be the best way to re-engage a lapsed donors. 

Putting it all together

Writing thank you letters is an important step. But it can be hard to get the ball rolling, especially if you don’t know what to say. Using these templates, we hope to help you break through the writer’s block. Just remember these things:

Be genuinely grateful Create personal and catered messaging Be prompt with your delivery

Doing these things will help you nurture relationships with your donors, volunteers or partners, and hopefully retain them long-term for your nonprofit organization.

Perfect Thank You Letters: The Complete Guide

We know creating a thank you letter or email from scratch can be a challenge. We create a guide and 7 customizable templates to thanks donors, volunteers, sponsors, and more!

7 Templates, 7 Ways 
to Give Thanks