Anatomy of a successful thank you letter

February 24, 2012

The small community based nonprofit organization can learn from and emulate some of the best practices of larger charities.

Case in point, this marvelous thank you letter from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.  The letter arrived in an over-sized, windowed envelope proclaiming “IMPORTANT YEAR-END DOCUMENTS ENCLOSED.”

What’s right (click on photo to read letter):

  • Personalized
  • The letter highlights me, the donor, and the work made possible by my donation.
  • It paints a joyous visual with the photograph and story of “Rhubarb” (even the name makes you smile, no?)
  • It directs the reader to a special thank you video


What’s more, the PS, which mentions the enclosed reply envelope, creates further engagement by again directing the reader to the video, and soliciting comments, questions or suggestions by way of the envelope.  Oh, and let’s not forget the opportunity to use the envelope to “get a head start on your gifts for 2012.”

What do you think?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean Triner March 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Hi Pamela
Cerrtainly interesting, with a nice story. I wonder about the videos – I was taught at DM school that you never point a reader away from the letter or the response coupon if you want a response. So, of your purpose of this letter was to get them to the videos maybe you shouldn’t have included an ask. But if your purpose was to get a donation maybe you shouldn’t have included a link to video.
In the end it is all down to testing. Did you test the letter?

Pamela Grow March 13, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I didn’t personally work on this letter, Sean. I’m a Best Friends’ donor and thought that this was a well-crafted thank you. You raise an interesting point and I don’t know how much testing they did.

Mark January 12, 2013 at 8:08 am

The link doesn’t work for me (Firefox). It only shows the second page of the letter.

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