How to Write Thank-you Letters and Emails to Donors

June 26th 2019

Growing up, many of us were taught to write thank-you letters after we received gifts. Even if it was your grandmother gifting you that perfectly knit Christmas sweater with flashing lights, you had to write one.

This same appreciative mentality is also important in the nonprofit and business world, but it’s more than just sending a “thank you” for the interview or the Thanksgiving ham your organization gifted you. Don’t get us wrong, these small notes of appreciation are greatly encouraged, but in today’s world thank-you notes are considered a marketing strategy too.

Research shows us that 65 percent of first-time donors do not make a second donation, but 80 percent of these donors say they would donate again if they received some form of gratitude.

As a church running primarily off donations, tithing, and other forms of giving, these statistics might inspire tackling the next donor you see with a huge hug, but there’s an easier, less intrusive, way to thank your donors and make the same impact: write a simple thank-you letter or email to each donor.

“Thank you for your donation” is a good place to start, but here we’ve expanded on key elements to include in your letter to make it more meaningful.

Be Personal

In any thank-you letter or email, it’s important to be personal. Addressing the letter or email by using the donor’s first name is one way to show your donor they are not just another name in your database. If you want to write handwritten letters, gather together a few people from your staff and spend an hour writing letters to those who have given to your church. Perhaps you could bring your letter writing team their favorite coffee drinks to brew extra enthusiasm.

If you are overwhelmed with the idea of writing a ton of letters, emails are a great way to thank your donors, too. Writing emails is a quicker way to respond to each donor. If you are still overwhelmed, try using a bulk email tool, such as the one offered by Elexio, which allows users to create one template email and the first name of your donor is automatically inputted before it’s sent. It’s a brilliant way to save time and still remain personal.

Lastly, sign your thank-you letter or email personally. It should have the signature of a real person to make it more credible to the donor. If you are sending an email, make sure the email is sent from someone’s actual email address, not the generic email address your church uses for all other information. The more personal you can make your thank you letters and emails, the better.

Be Specific

The body of the letter or email is where many people get stuck. After “Thank you for your donation!” many people’s brains go blank and they don’t know what to say. After your initial thank you for their donation, describe how their donation will be used. If they made a donation to your church missions, tell them about a missionary who receives support from your church. If they made a donation to your general church fund, tell them how grateful you are that they help keep your church running. People like to know where their money is going when they give, and this is one way to make that connection with your church donors.

Be Inspiring

After you’ve written the introduction and the body of your thank-you letter or email, end the letter by telling your donors about the future plans for your church to inspire continued giving. Perhaps you want your church to get involved in international missions. Tell your donors about your excitement and tell them if they want to know more to talk to you. Maybe you want to expand your church building so you can welcome more people. Use this one-to-one correspondence to share your ideas for church growth, including your vision for future buildings. You want your donors to be a part of what your church is doing. This is one way to keep them in the loop and thank them for their part in the past.

Free Thank-you Note Templates

To get you started, we’ve written out two church donor thank-you note templates for letters or emails you can use.


Donation to Church Missions Fund Template


Dear John,


I wanted to write you a personal note to say thank you! We have received your donation to our church missions fund and we sincerely appreciate the support you have provided.


We are currently supporting Jane Doe in the Middle East. She is doing great work by taking the Gospel to unreached places and is constantly telling us how grateful she is to our church for the support we provide. Jane praises God for us and the work God is doing through her because of our church. We hope to send more missionaries to her area and other areas around the world soon. If you want to learn more about our vision, we’d love to talk to you about how you can get involved.


We are truly grateful for you and look forward to seeing how God moves in our church in the near future.



Pastor James


Donations to General Church Fund Template


Dear John,


I wanted to write you a personal note to say thank you! We have received your donation to our church and sincerely appreciate the support you have provided. Without people like you, we would not be able to welcome the many individuals who come through our church doors.


Currently, we are welcoming more than 200 people each week! We are thankful we get to share the Gospel this many times each week. We hope to welcome more people in the near future by hosting more Bible studies for women and men. We also have plans to open our doors to different internationals in our area so they have a safe place to worship. If you’d like to hear more, let me know. I’d love to talk to you about what that looks like.


We are truly grateful for you and look forward to seeing how God moves in our church in the near future.



Pastor James


For even more ways to thank your donors, be sure to check out this article.

Next Steps

Just because personalization is important doesn’t mean you can’t work to automate some of your processes when it comes to thanking donors. Learn how to create workflows and simplify your process with Elexio.



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