Most emailed thank-yous are terrible. They are not much more than a receipt. And that's just not enough. The same rules that apply to mailed thank yous apply to emailed ones.
Here are some basic rules:
- Put your organization's name in the "From" line of your email. The donor wants to know who you are if she is going to consider even opening your thank-you.
- Be clear in the "Subject" line. Say exactly what this is about. Something like "A warm thank you!" works. Or, "Thank you for your donation." Don't use more than 45 characters so it will show up well.
- Get personal. Start your message with the donor's name. First names are powerful, so use them. "Dear Joanne" or Dear Fred and Louise." Use a comma rather than a colon. You want to be informal.
- Start with a warm "thank you" menioning the amount of the donation and the name of the campaign or fund to which the donation was made.
- Tell a story about how that donation will help someone or solve a problem. Be specific and descriptive.
- Add a photo. This is super easy in an email. Make it heart warming and a reminder of who your donor is helping.
- Tell the donor when he will hear from you next. Will you be able to report results of a particular campaign? When? Will you be sending a newsletter or a report?
- Give the donor specific contact information in case they have questions or want more information. Give a name, phone number and email address of a person.
- Use the signature of someone who is important. That could be your Executive Director, Development Director, or the chairman of this particular campaign.
- Do include a P.S. People are used to it. The beginning and the P.S. are the first things your donor will likely look at. The P.S. is a good place to invite more engagement. Invite the donor to visit your website, view a video, sign up for your newsletter, or follow your organization on Facebook or Twitter. Take advantage of the fact that you can include live links in an email.
- Include a disclosure such as "Please consider this letter a receipt for your contribution of $50 on 4/16/13. This confirms that no goods or services were received for this contribution, which is completely tax-deductible." (Read more about disclosures)
Here are some sample email thank-yous to jumpstart your own: