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What information should be in a gift acknowledgement letter? Where can I find samples?

Gift acknowledgement letters serve two basic purposes. First, they substantiate donations if donors need their contributions documented. In fact, for contributions of $250 or more, the IRS requires public charities to send written acknowledgements that must contain the following information:

  • Organization's name
  • Amount of cash contribution
  • Description (but not value) of non-cash contribution
  • Statement that no goods or services were provided by the organization, if that is the case
  • Description and good faith estimate of the value of goods or services, if any, that the organization provided in return for the contribution
  • Statement that goods or services, if any, that the organization provided in return for the contribution consisted entirely of intangible benefits, if that was the case

Second, and perhaps more importantly, these letters are an opportunity to thank donors personally and sincerely, in hopes of building relationships with them so that they will continue supporting your organization. "Donor-centric" messages -- those that focus on the donor's role in achieving the mission, not the nonprofit's -- are more effective in retaining donors, according to many fundraising experts.

Samples of written acknowledgements

Some of the staff-selected websites below contain samples. Also, search the Internet for “sample nonprofit gift acknowledgement letter.” While reviewing other nonprofits' letters can be instructive, they are specific to the organization that wrote them and may not be appropriate for your nonprofit's situation. 

See also our related Knowledge Base articles:

- Where can I find examples of gift acceptance policies?
- How can I find corporate sponsorship? Where can I find examples of sponsorship levels?

More articles on fundraising»

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