For anyone raised with an Emily Post–reading and etiquette-loving parent, you know that it is obligatory to send thank you letters whenever you receive a gift.
Prompt and thoughtful gift acknowledgments are central to effective fundraising. IRS regulations govern what documentation donors need in order to claim a deduction for their charitable contribution. The IRS website provides a comprehensive section on gift substantiation.
Nonprofits want to make sure that donors feel appreciated and recognized for their generosity. In addition, IRS regulations require that before a donor claims a tax deduction for a charitable contribution, the donor must have a bank record or a written communication from the charitable nonprofit documenting the contribution. As a result donors expect a nonprofit to provide a receipt for their contribution. IRS regulations place the responsibility on donors to make sure they have a written gift acknowledgment "for any single contribution of $250 or more." There is no legal requirement for gift acknowledgments for contributions of less than $250 unless the donor receives something of value in return for the gift, which triggers special rules for “quid pro quo” contributions. For more background, see IRS Publication 1771 - Charitable Contributions: Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements
IRS guidance suggests that gift acknowledgments should contain:
Generally, if the donor directs a grant to be made to your organization though a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) such as Fidelity Charitable or Vanguard Charitable, a DAF held at a community foundation, or through one of the DAFs that are set up to receive online donations such as Network for Good or PayPal Giving Fund, you’ll be given the donor’s name and contact information along with the grant. You’ll want to send an acknowledgment thanking the donor for the gift, but you don’t need to include language about the gift being tax-deductible, because the DAF already provided a tax receipt to the donor. Some experts recommend that your acknowledgment read something like, “Thank you for recommending the generous grant of $500.00, that we received on <date>, through your donor advised fund at Fidelity Charitable.”
If the grant comes with no donor contact information, there’s not much you can do about that, because the donor chose to make the contribution anonymously.
Here is how you can write a letter when making a donation in case you are not using the Donation Letter Templates. . Sample Donation/Gift Ask Letter. sample .
Are Donation Thank You Letters Really Necessary?
Yes! In fact, the savviest fundraisers have learned that it’s imperative to send thank you letters to their donors.
After all, it is the polite thing to do.
And, many donors will become offended—to the point of denying future donation requests—should they fail to receive one.
So, forgetting this simple step could contribute over time to the shrinkage of repeat donor funding.
Okay, so much for the "why". How do I write a good donation thank you letter?
I’m so glad you asked!
When writing donation thank you letters, or “acknowledgment letters” as they are sometimes called, keep these five basic elements in mind:
Below, you'll find sample donation thank you letters to get your creative juices flowing:
We are writing to express our deepest thanks for your recent donation to (Name of Organization). Generous gifts from donors like you provide the financial and and moral support needed to continue our mission.
With your faithful financial contributions over the years, you’ve demonstrated your deep commitment to our work of (work your organization does--feeding the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless, etc.)
Your support has repeatedly played a key role in our success in (a recent accomplishment of your organization--reducing illiteracy in third world nations, reducing crime in inner cities, etc.)
There is no way to fully express our gratitude for your loyalty. We at (Name of Organization) are continually inspired by the the dedication and generosity of donors like yourself who answer the call to give again and again.
It is our hope that this small gift of (name of gift--personalized mailing labels, lapel pin, etc.) will help to communicate our very big thanks for your generosity. We look forward to a continuing partnership with you.
Thank you for your kind donation. Your caring support of the Children With AIDS Foundation will make a great difference in the lives of thousands of sick children.
Your gift is already being used in Uganda to pay for the life-saving antibiotics that help prevent infections that throw HIV positive children into full-blown AIDS. Just $30 provides a full month’s worth of medical treatment for an HIV positive child.
There's no doubt that the need is huge. There are an estimated 100,000 children who are HIV positive in Uganda alone.
However, the support of donors like you is helping us to make it possible for children living with HIV to lead happier and fruitful lives.
Thank you again for your compassionate support. We hope that you will continue to partner with us in our commitment to prevent the spread of AIDS and HIV in Africa.
With warm regards,
If you're interested in other notes you can use in your workplace, please see our business thank you notes or our business note phrases pages.
Return from Donation Thank You Letter to Thank You Note Examples Home
Example request for donation letter, seeking assistance to fund a youth program for boys.
Number One Non Profit
123 Anywhere Street
Best Town, Best State 88889
Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Francom
456 Somewhere Road
Best Town, Best State 88889
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Francom,
In 2009 Number One Nonprofit helped over 350 underprivileged boys participated in Boy Scout activities in our community. They had a chance to learn to swim, learn basic survival and first-aid skills and learn how to work with other boys. More importantly, they were given the chance to develop confidence, to feel wanted and to develop dreams for their future, dreams that have included becoming engineers, accountants, doctors and politicians.
Here is what some of our alumni our have to say about the impact Scouts had on their lives:
"I don’t know where I would be without Scouts. My dream of becoming an Engineer really started with my first model rocket built in Scouts." - Bill
"Scouts gave me somewhere to go after school and kept me from getting into other trouble. Frightens me to think of where I would be without the help of my leaders and friends from scouts." - Tom
Our goal for 2010 is to help 420 boys participate in scouting activities including a full week at summer camp. Thanks to generous sponsors, we are well on our way to reaching our goal, but we still need help supporting the final 150 boys. Will you help us meet our goal to provide these wonderful boys with worthwhile activities by supporting a boy? Your donation will have a dramatic impact on the life of a young man.
Here is how your gift will impact them:
Send your gift directly to us using the included return envelop or, if you wish, you may use our online donation website – www.numberonenonprofit.com.
All donations to Number One Non-Profit go directly to the boys we have been helping since 1985. Your gift will have tremendous impact on the life of a boy and help him to have the skills, vision and motivation to change his life. Thank you for partnering with us to help our boys.
P.S. – Since activities start the first week in January, our deadline for raising funds is 12/15/2009.
Charitable Gift Annuity Sample Letter. Name Address Date. Dear XXXX,. Thanks so much for requesting information about how to make a gift and receive.
A donation acknowledgement letter is used by the receiver of the donation to assure the sender that they have already received either the amount of money given or any kind of help being extended by the person who gave the donation. There are many things that you can put in a donation acknowledgment letter, but the main point that you should not forget is to relay all the information of the donation and its specifications for a clear and transparent transaction.
We can provide you with samples of donation acknowledgement letters if you want to know more information about the content of this specific kind of letter and how it can be written properly. Moreover, we also have other Letter Template samples usable as references and guides for any written transactions that you may currently be involved in.
A donation acknowledgement letter is written for the following purposes:
Other done our samples of donation acknowledgment letters, we also have different kinds of Acknowledgement Letter Templates available for download.
A basic donation acknowledgement letter includes the following information:
This information is very essential to be written so that it can fully provide the different purposes of the donation acknowledgement letter stated at the earlier part of this article. The person who have written the donation acknowledgement letter should assure that all the information stated are accurate so that no misunderstandings may occur.
A few samples of donation acknowledgement letters are as follows:
These donation acknowledgement letters can all be downloaded in this page. Aside from our donation acknowledgement letter templates, you may also download our samples of Donation Letter Templates.
The IRS website provides a comprehensive section on gift substantiation. Sometimes a donor will ask a nonprofit to write a letter vouching for the dollar value.