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Mastering thank-you notes

(in 4 minutes)

Thank-you notes are one of those things that fall to the bottom of our to-do lists.

For one thing, they don’t feel as urgent as our million-and-one other tasks (because, well, the donation’s already come in).

For another, writing a good thank-you note feels hard for many of us. We’re not natural writers, and we’re not sure what to say to keep us from sounding hopelessly generic.


Many, many people’s experiences have shown that a great thank you note can turn a one-time donor into a lifelong giver.

So our thank-you notes could really do with a bit more focus.

That’s why I’m excited to share with you my simple four-step formula for crafting excellent personal thank-you notes in just about four minutes.

Well, at the beginning it might take more like ten minutes. But the extra six minutes might turn out to be the six most valuable fundraising minutes of your week. One Jewish leader who used this formula, working on his thank-you note for ten minutes, got the following feedback from his donor:

“I’ve been giving millions of dollars annually for decades. I have never received this kind of genuine, warm appreciation.”

Sounds like something worth checking out?

Here it is:

  1. First sentence: tell them you appreciate the gift.
  2. Second sentence: tell them you appreciate what their gift made possible.
  3. Third sentence: tell them how you appreciate THEM personally.
  4. Fourth sentence: demonstrate that you care about their personal success.

Let’s run through each step in more detail.

1. Appreciating the gift

Get in the words “thank you” right at the beginning. Here’s an example:

“Dear Josh,

Thank you for your generous gift. It’s greatly appreciated.”

Not to daunting, is it?

2. Appreciating the results the gift enabled

Be specific as to how exactly the donor’s money made, or will make, a difference.

“Your generosity will fund 4 student scholarships, which means four Jewish children will get a quality Jewish education they wouldn’t otherwise have gotten.”

3. Appreciating the donor personally

Mention some specific values, traits, or areas of strength in which this specific donor shines.

“Thank you for caring so deeply and personally about the kids in Klal Yisrael who don’t get the same opportunities as others. Your support shows how personally invested you are in our next generation.”

4. Demonstrating care for their success

This is your chance to give back to your donor. End with a warm bracha specific to them.

“May you see much continued hatzlacha and nachas from all the great projects you support in Klal Yisrael.”

That’s all, folks!

Use this four-step formula, and consistently generate thank-you notes that can maintain beautifully productive fundraising relationships.

I don’t even think it’ll take you that long to get the process down to four minutes.



© Avraham Lewis & Co.