It’s Time to Update Your Acknowledgement Letter

By
Jamie Klobuchar
December 1, 2021

It’s time to update your acknowledgement letter. 

Trust me, I understand: with just a few weeks left until year-end, this is a crazy time of year. Updating acknowledgement letters is likely not high on your priority list. 

But I think it should be. Although nonprofits are required to send acknowledgement letters for tax purposes, your organization’s acknowledgement letter shouldn’t only be about checking a box. 

Like all donor communications, it’s an opportunity to share your nonprofit’s story and demonstrate the impact of their gift. And of course, show your donor sincere appreciation. With year-end rapidly approaching, every touch point counts. 

So, how do you make your acknowledgement letter stand out from the crowd? Here are a few of our top tips: 

  1. Share the impact of the donor’s gift. You can do this by sharing a narrative story, including statistics, or highlighting a new initiative made possible by donor generosity. 
  2. Update your acknowledgement letter regularly. This is especially important for repeat donors. No one wants to receive the same letter over and over again. We recommend updating monthly and acknowledging the season or milestones at your organization. 
  3. Include photos. People are more likely to engage with and remember your acknowledgements if you include photos that demonstrate the impact of their gift. 
  4. Send a physical copy and sign it by hand when possible. Everyone loves receiving mail! Including a signature adds another personal touch that can set your acknowledgement letter apart. 
  5. Personalize the letter. If the donor gave to a specific program, make sure you acknowledge that in the first paragraph. Foundation acknowledgements shouldn’t just include boilerplate language but also speak to your history with the foundation and their specific interest in your work. Updating the language regularly will also make these letters more personal. 
  6. Include opportunities to engage beyond donating. Maybe it’s a volunteer opportunity, or simply inviting donors to reach out to your CEO or development team with any questions. 
  7. Keep it short and sweet. There’s no need to fill the page with anecdotes or data; just pick one or two things to share per letter. There’s always next month! 

So, are you ready to update your acknowledgement letter? Download today’s freebie, a Sample Acknowledgement Letter, for a template you can easily modify to fit your nonprofit’s needs.