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How Do You Thank a Donor? Include These 4 Tactics.

How Do You Thank a Donor? Include These 4 Tactics.

How do you thank a donor? That’s a great question because, unfortunately, it’s not always done well.

To begin with, thanking volunteers and givers sometimes falls to someone with the least amount of knowledge of the value of the gift. Second, rarely is there any guidance as to what makes a good thank you. And finally, who has time to be creative with so many givers and volunteers to thank?

The first rule of thanking donors is that you can’t thank them enough. But sometimes, how you say it can make all the difference in the world.

Thank a Donor with Power Words

Power words are words that influence. A Yale study identified the most influential words in the English language. It turns out the top two work very well in thank you messages:

  • “You”  
    The study ranked “you” as the most powerful word. An Inc. Magazine article explained that “you” relays compassion and empathy, which are important for any type of persuasion. The article added that the only thing more powerful than “you” is following it with someone’s name. For example: “It’s people like you, Mary, who enable our church to do what we do.” Or “Your gift, Bob, provided ____ for ____ people.
    Try not to start a thank you with “WE.” Being donor-centric means talking about the giver and the gift before mentioning what “we’re” doing. Even then, it’s what the giver is doing to help “our church” achieve an outcome: “Together, our church was able to ____.”
  • “Imagine”  
    “Imagine,” the second most powerful word, conveys openness and opportunity. It lets the reader bypass worries, critical thinking, and the word “NO,” taking their brain directly to a positive outcome.
    Imagine thanking your giver with this statement, “Imagine if every giver was as generous as you, John. Our church would be able to help even more single moms and their kids.” John might feel inspired to give even more or promote the giving opportunity to others. At the very least, John feels good about giving, which is an important goal of expressing gratitude. Why? Because he can imagine the impact.
    Here’s a little known fact about incorporating the word “imagine” into your message. It has the same effect on your writing, opening it up to naturally become a more expressive and heartfelt note. Why? It forces you to imagine, too. Try it!

Thank a donor by sharing the impact of the gift

It has become very important to givers these days to align their treasure with where their hearts are. Your givers have a lot of options for giving to a million causes. They want to make sure gifts to their church are impacting their community. They want to know how their tithes that are applied to the “general fund” are making a difference.

The solution is not to share your electric bill or staff salaries. The idea is to promote how their gift helped expand the kingdom with 9 baptisms last month. Or helped 7 underserved teenagers. Or raise $XX toward paying off a major expenditure so the church can be freed up to pour into the community.

If your givers have the option to earmark their funds for specific ministries, share the specific impact of the ministry they’re giving to.

Vision2 online giving software takes earmarking possibilities to a whole new level with visual ministry designations. Take a peek at one of our client’s Give Stories page, designed to inspire greater giving by showing impact.

Thank a donor with automated, personalized emails

When thanking your online givers, you have a unique opportunity built right into your giving software. You can customize your gift acknowledgment screen (that shows their gift has been accepted) and your automated thank you emails.

You may not be able to make each email unique to each giver. But you CAN divide your email list to tailor your messages to different gifts and giver types, such as first time giver or major gifts. Then more relevant and personal thank yous are automatically sent to the right givers.


Wondering how to personalize your messages? Download A Ministry-First Approach to Giving to learn 26 specific tactics for different types of givers.


How Vision2 Helps You Thank Your Givers

Vision2, a comprehensive donor management platform for online giving, was designed to provide a simple and personal experience for givers. It includes:

  • Visual ministry designations
  • Customizable thank yous that can even include video
  • Analytics that enable automated, personalized emails
  • Our Managed Services, here to help with all your messaging

Reach out to learn more about Vision2 and creating a better giving experience for your givers, back office staff and ministry leaders.

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