Here is a thank-you letter that I received from one of my favorite international aid organizations, Partners in Health (PIH). I responded to an email fundraising plea for additional help (I am a recurring regular donor) to aid Haitians in weathering an upcoming hurricane and dealing with a recent Cholera outbreak among the extensive camps housing earthquake survivors.
The letter is brief and a bit general, addressing the overall work of the organization, rather than the specific need to which I was responding. One problem with this letter is the formal and stiff language used to describe PIH's work. An example is this phrase, "...we work to disseminate our model to others..." Public health organizations often speak in the jargon that is used in professional public health circles. This language is not what will appeal to most donors. "Models" and "disseminate" are not words that resonate with the general public.
What is good about this email is that the "from" line specifies exactly who sent the email, and the "subject" line states what the email is about. How these fields are handled is very important to ensure that the donor actually opens the email. It's best to just be specific rather than coy or cryptic.
To: My Name
From: Partners In Health
Subject: Thank you for your donation to Partners in Health
Dear My Name,
On behalf of Partners In Health, I would like to thank you for your donation of $xx.xx. Every dollar that you contribute is deeply appreciated by the communities in which we work. Your gift will be designated to support our work in Haiti, or if you selected, to support our work worldwide.
Over twenty years ago, when Partners In Health was first founded in Haiti, we vowed to provide the very best medical care in places that had none, to accompany our patients through their care and treatment, and to address the root causes of their illness. Today, we work in twelve countries with a comprehensive approach to breaking the cycle of poverty and disease-- through direct health care delivery as well as community-based interventions in agriculture and nutrition, housing, clean water, and income generation.
Our work begins with the patient before us but extends far beyond to the transformation of communities, health systems, and global health policy. We have documented and disseminated the successes of our integrated approach in the midst of tragedies like the devastating earthquake in Haiti, in countries still scarred from war, like Rwanda, Guatemala, and Burundi, and even in inner-city Boston. Through collaboration with leading medical and academic institutions like Harvard Medical School and the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, we work to disseminate our model to others; through advocacy efforts aimed at global health funders and policymakers, we seek to raise the standard for what is possible in the delivery of health care in the poorest corners of the world.
It is your generosity and belief in our mission that enables us to perform this work, and we are deeply grateful for your partnership.
Partners In Health
You can login to view, download, and print your online donation history here: XXXXXXXXX
Partners In Health, a 501 (c)(3) not for profit organization, has not provided any goods or services, in whole or in part, to you in consideration for this voluntary cash contribution. If you wish to claim the tax deductibility of this gift in the U.S., please retain this acknowledgment letter for your files. Partners In Health's EIN number is xxxxx.