7 Tips To Make Thank-You Messages Memorable

If you’re like most people, you appreciate recognition for your kindness or generosity.

I’ve donated to many organizations in the last few years. But when I think about all the thank-you messages I’ve received, only two made a lasting impression.

One was a call from a board president. The other was a personalized message from a volunteer. Both were thoughtful and remain top-of-mind.


The most memorable thank-you messages focus on the donor.

Whether you say “Thank You” with a letter, a phone call, or a handwritten note, consider how each part of your message affects the reader.

Here are a few ideas along with some sample language to consider as you craft your telephone script or write your thank-you message.

  1.  Make it personal: to promote feelings of warmth and friendship. Everyone likes to be known; always address the donor by name. Your message should be about the donor and the great things their gift will do—not about the organization. Remember to use “you” more than “we,” “us,” or the organization’s name. “Dear [Name], what a wonderful thing you’ve done!”
  2.  Use words of gratitude: to evoke feelings of appreciation. Thank the donor for their gift using specific information, including the amount. “Thank you for your membership renewal of [amount] to help [mission].”
  3.  Be consistent: to strengthen donor trust. Steven Screen recommends writing appeals and thank-you letters at the same time to keep the language consistent throughout. Use phrases from the appeal or campaign that prompted the gift. “Your gift is already working to [fulfill the mission mentioned in the appeal].”
  4.  Acknowledge shared values: to reinforce the connection. Include a value-based statement that expresses the organization’s mission and the donor’s philanthropic goals. “I’m so thankful for compassionate people like you who want to make a difference by helping [organization’s mission].”
  5.  Mention updates: to build anticipation. If your organization sends email updates or printed newsletters, tell the donor that you’ll be sending an update soon. Your donor will look forward to receiving information that isn’t asking for another donation. “In the next few [days, weeks], you’ll receive a [newsletter, email] with updates about the work you’ve made possible.”
  6.  Encourage contact: to help the donor feel important. Whether you write thank-you notes or make phone calls, invite each donor to reach out for more information. If you’re writing, be sure to include a phone number and your email address. “I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me anytime at [phone number and email address].”
  7.  Include an invitation: to engage donors and make them feel welcome and included. If your organization has an upcoming event, volunteer opportunity, or an interesting article posted on your website, invite the donor to check it out. This is perfect content to include in a heartfelt P.S. or at the conclusion of a phone conversation. “[Name], thank you so much for your support of [mission]. I’d like to invite you to [join us for an event, check out a recent article, call me at any time]. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

When someone receives a warm, friendly donor-centered thank-you from your organization, they will feel seen, appreciated, and connected. Sincere gratitude with a personal touch can build a trusting relationship that lasts for years.




Moceanic: Lisa Sargent’s How to Write Your Best Ever Donation Thank-You Letter Every Time Workshop