Science tells us that helping other people or doing good deeds helps lessen stress hormones. This has been backed by numerous scientific studies across countries and demographics. You may have even experienced it yourself. Can you remember that feeling when you shared your sandwich with a classmate back in kindergarten? How about that time when you helped that old man cross the street? Or maybe that time when you saved your weekly allowance just so you can buy a silver necklace for your mom’s birthday?
One way or another, you may have experienced these situations and scenarios throughout your life. Tell us, how did it feel? You felt great, right? Doing random or intended acts of kindness does that—and this effect does not only occur in naive, young people. In fact, anyone can experience the positive high of knowing that they have done something good or beneficial for others.
In this article, we will talk about donor acknowledgment letters and we have included various downloadable examples below.
What are donor acknowledgement letters?
A donor acknowledgment letter is a piece of document (printed or in email form) that gives thanks to a person or a company for his or their contribution to an event or thing. These letters may both be written by the person or institution receiving the donation. These donations can come in the form of money, property, opportunities, time, or even skills.
Importance of donor acknowledgement letters
Do you really need donor acknowledgment letters? We answer this question and more below as we explore four benefits of using such forms.
- They serve as official proofs of donations. Whether the donor requests it or not, a donor acknowledgment letter will serve as the official receipt of their donations. These pieces of paper may then be stored and easily retrieved at a later date. And, if your organization is releasing them, there is no denying that the document is official.
- For charitable contribution deductions. Some countries like the United States allow tax deductions for donations to listed charitable organizations. By making sure that your organization provides donor acknowledgment letters, you are making it easier for individuals to make their contributions and also file their taxes.
- To create legitimacy for your organization or cause. As mentioned previously, donor acknowledgment letters may serve as official documents that donors may use to get tax deductions from their donations to charitable causes. This also helps cement your organization’s status as a reliable charity or organizer of fundraising events. Once your organization has been established as a charitable entity, it will become easier to attract other donors and philanthropists to work with you.
- To attract more donors. We have just mentioned that creating things like simple donor acknowledgment letters helps in attracting more givers. This bears repeating because it is often an overlooked effect of donor acknowledgment letters. Also, remember that if a donor feels satisfied with the transaction and he sees how your organization is putting his donation to good use, you may just get a lifelong supporter for your cause. A donor acknowledgment letter, therefore, can act as a printed marketing tool.
- To liquidate all sources of funds. Donor acknowledgment letters may also work for your organization directly since you may use them for record-keeping purposes. And even if non-profit organizations do not pay taxes, they are still required by law to submit financial information for government audits. In fact, some bigwig donors may even ask for audits to ensure that their money was spent wisely. If you are part of a charitable organization’s executive team, it pays to know that you have nothing to hide about your organization’s finances because you have transparent and well-kept records of the source of your funding.
Different kinds of donor acknowledgment letters
Embedded below are various examples of donor acknowledgment letters. Tips on what they are, how they are used, and how to create one for your organization are detailed after each example.
Acknowledgement Letter for Donors
The Acknowledgement Letter for Donors shown above is a simple example of an acknowledgment letter. Use this letter template for acknowledging individual contributions to a campaign drive in your community or district. This template may also be used by organizations that wish to express gratitude to their donors in a simple way.
Charity Donor Acknowledgement Letter Template
The Charity Donor Acknowledgement Letter Template featured above is a more formal version of a donor acknowledgment letter. It contains specific wording that may easily be tweaked to fit any purpose. And, if you are creating this letter template for your company or organization, do not forget to add your firm’s company logo design on the letterhead.
Donor Acknowledgement Letter Template
The Donor Acknowledgement Letter Template embedded above is an example of a donation acknowledgment letter that specifically includes wording for tax purposes. This is very helpful for organizations that want to cover all their bases and make sure that they are following the law.
This letter template also includes placeholders for names, amounts, dates, addresses, and nature of the donation. This makes it easier for accountants or legal personnel to determine the nature of the letter in case the donor or the charity is audited by the IRS.
Educational Donor Acknowledgement Letter Template
As its name implies, the Educational Donor Acknowledgement Letter Template embedded above will suit any school organization that wishes to ask their district constituents for donations to help improve the educational services in their area. With this letter template, you do not have to come up with a new one on your own. This letter may easily be edited to match the specific pieces of information about your organization.
Environmental Donor Acknowledgement Letter
Choose the Environmental Donor Acknowledgement Letter shown above as a donation receipt letter for an organization or fundraising event about the environment. The letter template’s wording has been created to fit most environment-focused endeavors.
Fund Donor Acknowledgement Letter
Some donors may require a more detailed donation receipt. Hence, to prepare for this scenario while planning a fundraising event, you may need to use a meticulously formatted letter template like the Fund Donor Acknowledgement Letter written above.
This donor acknowledgment letter includes a space provided for the specific amount of donation received. If preferred, some organizations may even include a breakdown of all received funds.
Gift Donor Acknowledgement Letter
The Gift Donor Acknowledgement Letter shown above is a simplified example of a donor acknowledgement letter. Use this letter template if your organization just wants to create a letter template for record-keeping or documentation purposes.
This letter template is also helpful for those who want an efficient way to create and fill out these letters. Donors may appreciate this letter format more because it is quick to prepare and easy to understand. And, if a donor wants his or her contributions to remain anonymous, this letter may be filled out without needing to use the donor’s real name.
What should you include in a donor acknowledgement letter?
There is no standard format for a donor acknowledgment letter. However, most of them will include the same key elements that will differentiate them from other kinds of acknowledgment letters.
Here is a list of the key elements that should be found in a donor letter:
- Name and/or associated company of the donor
- Title or position of the donor
- Amount and/or type of donation
- Name of charitable institution, organization, or event/cause
- Name of the head of the charitable institution and his or her position or title
- Name of the fundraising event
- Description and fair market value of donated property (if real estate is donated)
- Date the donation was made
- Company letterhead or logo design
- Contact information of the charitable institution
Non-cash Donor Acknowledgment Letter
As we may all know, donations may also come in other forms aside from cash or monetary forms. Use the Non-cash Donor Acknowledgment Letter featured above for any donation transaction that does not include cash. The letter format used above may also be easily adapted to match your organization’s purpose and image.
Property Donor Acknowledgement Letter Sample
One example of a non-cash donation is donating real estate—most specifically, land. If you are part of an organization that has received a generous donation like this, you may use the Property Donor Acknowledgement Letter Sample featured above.
This letter template allows organizations to accurately account for all their acquired assets within a given year. Donors may also find it easier and relatively cheaper to file their own taxes since they will no longer be paying for property taxes.
Charitable institutions and organizations may fill out this acknowledgment letter after receipt of the donation. However, the donor will still need to provide the fair market value of the property. The donor may also need to inform his or her lawyer or legal counsel to make sure that the transaction is legal and binding.
Sample Donor Acknowledgement Letter
The Sample Donor Acknowledgement Letter we have included below is another generic acknowledgment letter template that any organization may use for their donation record-keeping process. It may be further modified to fit the specific requirements and wording that you deem suitable. This template is available for free, but you will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer before you can successfully access and edit it.
How to write your own donor acknowledgment letter
Writing a donor acknowledgment letter is similar to writing a thank you card or note. However, the former needs to be written in a formal or official-sounding way. Read on for more tips on how to write a donor acknowledgment letter:
- Include the donor’s full name. When writing the salutation of an acknowledgment letter, make sure that you are using the correct salutation for the donor or the representative of the donor. Doing this correctly prevents issues with tax-deductible forms and other legal forms. And, even if a donor requested for anonymity, the letter should still reflect the name of the donor.
- Use your organization’s official letterhead. It is best to make your donor acknowledgment letter appear formal by using official company stationery with the company letterhead bearing the company logo design. Aside from the formality it brings, it makes the letter more easily acceptable as a proof of donation.
- Make sure that the letter is sealed and sent to the correct address. Donations should be treated just like any type of personal financial transaction. This means that any information related to the donation should be protected. Organizations and institutions organizing donation drives and fundraisers should make sure that these pieces of personal information do not fall into the wrong hands (i.e. identity thieves). One simple way that you can do this is by making sure that your donor acknowledgment letters are sent to the correct email or physical addresses. And, if a donor requested to not be sent an acknowledgment letter due to privacy issues, your organization should be able to accommodate this request.
- Do not forget to include what or where the donation is allotted for. One important trait that charitable institutions should practice is transparency. Donors will flock to your charity when they know that their donations are being spent well. In this vein, always make sure to include a brief paragraph or line about how their donations are helping other people. Also, it may help to include information about specific projects that are being helped by their donations.
- Make sure that the letter is signed. It is a letter-writing rule that letters should end with the sender’s closing salutation and signature. This is especially important for formal letters like a donor acknowledgment letter. It also gives the letter more credibility. Donors will also feel more appreciated when they see that a real person (and the head of the organization at that) writes them a thank you letter.
- Follow formal letter-writing rules. Since a donor acknowledgment letter is considered a formal (and legal) printed document, it is only right to use formal or business letter-writing etiquette when creating one. An important feature of a formal letter is its structure. You may follow a block or a hanging block format with all the necessary information in an acknowledgment letter we have mentioned earlier.
- Add pictures or messages to personalize the letter. No matter how formal or business-like an acknowledgment letter sounds like, it still is a letter in its very essence. That is why if you are creating one for your organization, you have the leeway to make it read like a casual letter of correspondence while still including the formal letter requirements. To make this possible, you may add various pictures of a completed project, the people who benefitted from the donations, or transcribed messages from these beneficiaries. This help personalize and humanize the entire donation-giving process as it gives a face or a name to the cause the donors are helping. Organizations also benefit from this approach since it allows them to be transparent while giving updates to their donors.
Are you ready to create your own donor acknowledgment letter?
Whether people give money, time, skills, or property to charity as a way to reduce taxes, to make them feel like better citizens, or to just take part in acts of kindness, charitable institutions and non-profit organizations will still need, in one form or another, to come up of with way to acknowledge these individuals’ contributions. And, a simple donor acknowledgment letter is one way to do that.
If your company or organization is not yet doing this, it is in your best interest to choose a donation acknowledgment approach as soon as possible. Using physical letters is not the only option available. You may even take advantage of the digital revolution and send these letters through an email template instead. Brainstorm with your team as to what approach will best fit your cause or organization. Once you have decided on that, donation gathering and acknowledging these donors will become a lot easier.
Use this article as your one-stop guide for creating the right acknowledgment letter for your organization. Do not forget to bookmark it for future reference! Also, remember the Gandhi quote, “The fragrance remains on the hand that gives the rose.”