Giving Thanks to Your Donors

25 Nov 2015 By Miranda Hansen

This week, as everyone gives thanks for good food or family or a break from the grind, we wanted to share a couple of thoughts on the Thank You process for your auction. It’s an important piece, if not THE most important piece, of an auction that requires some attention and care. Because there are so many moving parts to a successful auction, it’s easy to forget that there wouldn’t even be an event without our guests! And not only does every human being on this planet love to feel appreciated, good etiquette can build your and your auctions reputation long term.

First, let’s address sponsor Thank-Yous. Cultivating donations from sponsorships can happen gradually over the course of a few months to up to a year before your event. Sending a brief email upon receipt of this donation let’s the sponsor know the gift was received while allowing you to follow up for extra information that could be missing from the sponsorship package, i.e. a logo for the event program, correct spelling of the company, mailing address, etc. These sponsors will also get a more formal thank you letter once the event is completed. The formal thank you (on letterhead) will be used for their tax records and is an additional opportunity to hand-write a specific thank you on the bottom of the letter.

When it comes to thanking guests, the more detail the better! Personalizing each letter to include the correct dollar amount they donated, what that money is going towards (the more specific the better) and most importantly the correct spelling of their name. Yes, it’s an obvious suggestion and typos happen but, speaking from experience, it’s a small but felt disappointment to see that lack of detail after spending time and money in support of the cause. Feel free to swipe the thank you template below for your use.


[Address of Donor]

Dear [name]:

On behalf of [name of school] I would like to thank you for your generous gift of [amount donated]. Your commitment to strengthening our community is sincerely appreciated. With your help we raised over [total dollar amount raised at event]!

Each year [name of school] continues to advance its mission of [school mission]. Through our programs [name of programs] we have seen many lives changed for the better.

In particular the [program] has enjoyed great success in the past year. [details about growth or goals achieved]. With the help of donations from supporters such as you we will continue to see improvements in [school mission].

Thanks again for your generous support.

Best wishes…

[Auction Chair]

As you may have guessed, cultivating donor relations is a significant part of fundraising. Putting a little extra time and that special touch into thanking donors has immediate and long term rewards. And while we’re on the subject. We want to send a huge THANKS to you, our clients and readers, for supporting our mission to provide useful tech tools and support for hard working auction chairs and their teams. We look forward to connecting with you soon!