We are answering MORE fabulous reader questions today!

During busy fundraising months we send out a lot of thank you letters but they are form letters that everyone gets the same one. How do you personalize all the thank you letters when you have 30 or more a day? We are very small and we wear different hats. My job is bookkeeper, collections, receptionist and fundraising developer all in one. -Lisa


Lisa thanks for asking! I hear you about being SO STRAPPED for time. Seriously.

Here’s one way to personalize your thank you letters without going insane.

Parse your thank you letters out into 3 types.

People who give under $20, get a form letter.

People who give $25-$50, get a different thank you letter with a personal note at the bottom.

People who give above $50, get a personalized thank you note.

You can also put together different thank you letters for different campaigns that you do.

For example, I was talking with John Lepp of Agents of Good a few weeks ago, and he said that with their campaign for Second Harvest, to help them get a new truck, they also wrote the thank you notes and emails to help people keep the continuity of the campaign. They wrote a letter that came from the truck, saying how much it wanted to be used to deliver food for Second Harvest, and it was wildly successful! And the thank you note came from the truck too!

If you want to make a winter, fall, spring or summer appeal thank you letter, just to start personalizing it more without going insane, check out some of the letters below.

Want new ideas for your thank you letters? Check this out!

Lynne Wester asked everyone she knew to submit their thank you/acknowledgement letters in 2011 and 2012, and WHOA did she get responses! She did! And here’s a list of them, parsed out by kind of nonprofit. So useful!

For 2011
Lynne Wester’s list of Donor Acknowledgement Letters 2011

For 2012
Lynne Wester’s list of Donor Acknowledgement Letters 2012

I’ve looked through some of these and some are pretty bland and plain, some of them are more interesting. They are big pdfs so you can just sort of scroll through and see if you find some good language that you’d like to repurpose for your nonprofit.

Did she think to do this for appeal letters as well?

As a matter of fact, she did! Appeal letter swipe file

However, we don’t have any data about how well these letters worked, so we really can’t emulate them and think everything will go according to plan. However, it might be a place to start your swipe file to start getting your stewardship in a stellar place.

Think about it this way. Worst case scenario, you can do 2 appeal letters a year (4 is better though) and make a different acknowledgement letter for each one.

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Do you have a link you’d like to add, or a resource I forgot to mention for Lisa? Please leave a comment.