Gift acknowledgement letters are important for two reasons. First, they provide proof so donors can claim a U.S. tax exemption. Second, they let you thank donors for their generosity, helping you build a relationship for future support.

If a donor wants to claim a contribution of $250 or more, the IRS requires public charities to send written acknowledgements that must contain the following information:

  • Organization's name
  • Donation description. If it is cash, give the amount. If it is not cash, describe it.

Did the donor receive goods or services--such as a gala dinner or concert tickets--from you in return for their donation? If not, make sure you say so. If yes, was it worth more than $75? Give a good-faith estimate of the value. Learn more here about what the IRS requires.

As for thanking donors, here's your chance to address them personally and sincerely. Make the letter about them, not you. "Donor-centric" messages -- those that focus on the donor's role in achieving the mission, not the nonprofit's -- make donors more likely to give again in the future, 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." Other nonprofits' thank-you letters can give you ideas, but each organization is different so they might not be appropriate for your organization.

See also our related Knowledge Base articles:

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

More articles on fundraising

Topic(s) Individual Giving Donor Cultivation & Retention

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