After meeting with a potential donor, is it customary to send a thank-you note?
Short answer: yes. Longer answer: absolutely—for a multitude of reasons. Writing a thank-you message is polite, deepens connections with potential donors, and increases your chances of maintaining a long-term donor relationship.
Even if a meeting doesn’t result in an immediate contribution or major gift, you should still thank the potential donor for their time and interest.
Below, we offer guidance on writing donor meeting thank-you messages. We’ll answer some frequently asked questions, offer several tips, and provide a few templates for writing your own thank-you letter.
Donor thank you FAQs: We answer those nagging questions
When did writing a thank-you note become so...complicated?
Let’s face it: It’s easy to overthink when writing a thank-you message. To help make the process a bit easier, we’re answering a few of your most commonly asked questions below.
Do I have to write a thank-you note if I didn’t receive a donation? 👀
The explanation for this answer is twofold. One, a potential donor’s time is valuable, and you should thank them for carving out space in their calendar to learn about your organization and its mission. Two, even if a donor didn’t physically write a check at the meeting, that doesn’t mean they won’t make an online donation later on.
Even though potential donor meetings can (and should) occur year-round, roughly one-third of all giving occurs in December. Your potential donor could be waiting for an opportune time—like Giving Tuesday or end-of-year tax breaks—to make their contribution.
When should I thank a donor after a meeting? ⏰
The best answer: as soon as humanly possible.
Research shows that first-time donors who receive a thank-you note within 48 hours of giving are four times more likely to give again. Follow up each donor meeting with a thank-you message, preferably within the next one or two days (or at the very least, by the end of the week) to increase donor retention.
Fire off a thank-you message the minute you return from your meeting. The meeting is still fresh in your mind, so it will be easier to remember personal details from your conversation. The longer you let your thank you sit on your to-do list, the harder it will be to write.
Pro tip: Always include a Note in a donor’s contact profile within your CRM system, Track, showing that you met with them. Make a separate Note to confirm that you sent a thank-you note.
Should every thank you include a handwritten note? ✍
This question is tough—and heavily debated online.
Some experts state that handwritten thank yous are a lost art and will be better received than a digital message. While handwritten notes always offer a nice, personal touch—particularly for recurring donors or major donors—don’t feel pressured to write a pen-and-paper letter following all donor meetings.
Here’s why: The best donor thank-you letter is the one that you will actually send. In other words, if you wait weeks (or months) to follow up with donors simply because you’re pressuring yourself to write each message by hand, that’s not a positive donor experience.
You will be better off sending a timely email or placing a phone call than letting new donors assume you didn’t appreciate their time, attention, or first donation.
Pro tip: To send personalized thank-you messages at scale, take advantage of Givebutter’s integration with ThankView. With ThankView, you create one thank-you video template, upload your donor list, and sit back as their software immediately customizes each one with the donor’s name, donation amount, or other details. It even delivers the videos via email or SMS!
What should you say in a donor thank-you note? 😰
In the next section, we’ll provide a few donor meeting thank-you-letter templates you can customize to fit your audience. However, there are a few actions you’ll always want to do:
- Address the donor by name. Avoid generic salutations like “Dear friend” or “To whom it may concern.”
- Include a personal detail about the donor. It may be how you met at a recent fundraising event. Maybe it’s something you have in common—you root for the same sports teams or went to the same high school—or a shared experience like volunteering for the same organizations.
- Get specific about what you’re thanking them for. Whether it’s their time, a generous donation, or even promoting your campaign on social media, it’s important to acknowledge how they contributed to your organization.
- Finally, invite them to an upcoming event or say how you could connect in the future.
2 customizable donor meeting thank-you templates
Sending a timely thank-you message after meeting a donor can strengthen your personal connection, improve the donor experience, and increase the potential for recurring gifts. So to get you started, here are two templates you can customize:
1. Donor meeting thank you when no donation was made
Hello [First name],
Thank you so much for your time yesterday. I still can’t believe we never crossed paths while attending the University of Iowa together—go Hawks!
I know your calendar space is valuable, so I appreciate you carving out time to learn about [nonprofit organization name] and its mission. I loved hearing about your past volunteer work at [organization name] and enjoyed discussing our shared passion for ensuring our community has access to clean water [or other mission or value].
I genuinely hope we can continue this relationship going forward. Our organization is hosting a charity 5k run in July—if you feel like dusting off the old running shoes, I would love for you to join us!
It was a pleasure meeting you and enjoy the rest of your week,
Executive Director [or other title]
2. Donor meeting thank you for first-time donors
Dear [First name],
It was wonderful meeting for lunch this afternoon. I’ll have to try that cafe you suggested in Columbia Heights—it sounds right up my alley!
It was great to connect over our shared interest in [mission and values], and I hope this is the start of a long-standing relationship. I cannot thank you enough for your generous contribution of [amount]. This will go toward ensuring each person within our community has safe, adequate housing.
Our team hosts a donor appreciation dinner in December, and I would like to extend an invitation for you to attend. It’s always a great evening, and I hope you can join us!
Once again, thank you for your time and generous gift. I hope you enjoy the rest of your week and have a relaxing time away at the beach this weekend!
All my best,
Executive Director [or other title]
Always send a thank-you note as part of your donor stewardship strategy
After every potential donor meeting, it’s always best practice to send a thank-you note. Donor meeting thank-you messages can improve donor relations, increase donor retention, and transform one-time donors into recurring supporters.
Fortunately, Givebutter makes sending thank-you notes to event attendees, potential supporters, and recurring donors easier than ever. Givebutter’s all-in-one fundraising software comes complete with 130+ fundraising campaign tools, marketing automation, and a built-in CRM system. Plus, Givebutter allows you to send thank-you messages through creative ways like ThankView, SMS, or Send with Video.
Ready to see how Givebutter makes it easy to thank your supporters? Take a tour to get started.
Kylie thrives on supporting others, making everyone’s jobs easier, and cinnamon in her coffee.