4 donation follow-up emails you should be sending


Individual donations are vital to any nonprofit or higher education institution’s success. But fundraising and advancement professionals know that their work isn’t done after a gift is made. In fact, the opportunity may only be beginning.

Luckily, with digital communications and automation, many of the follow-up tasks can be made simple. Here, we look at four donation follow-up emails that should be scheduled and sent after an online gift is made:

An immediate acknowledgement

Once an online donation form is submitted, your supporters will expect to see an acknowledgment from your organization as soon as possible. This email should include the donor’s name and donation amount so that they know that it has processed correctly. To help your donor feel secure, you should ensure that this email follows your organization’s branding and design guidelines.

Of course, this acknowledgement should also show your donor how much you appreciate their gift - no matter the size or type. For some unique ways to say ‘thank you’ in your emails, click here.

A tax-compliant receipt

Some organizations will send receipts attached to their acknowledgement emails, while others will send it in a standalone message. Either way, it’s a crucial part of the donation follow-up.

Not only does the receipt summarize all the donation’s information for a supporter’s financial records, but it is also commonly used for income tax purposes.

Different countries and jurisdictions can have different standards for what data must be included in a donation receipt. This can be simplified with donation processing tools like Causeview, which automatically generates tax-compliant receipts for your region’s guidelines and sends them to your donors.

Share more ways to get involved

While the first two follow-up emails should be sent as soon as a donation is made, the third can wait a few days. However, it may be the step that has the biggest long-term impact for your cause.

In almost all cases, a supporter who has made a gift has demonstrated interest and passion in your organization. This often means that they would be willing to stay involved.

You can send a follow-up email in the aftermath of a donation sharing some additional ways the donor can contribute. Some things you may want to share are:

  • The impact they can have with a larger or recurring gift
  • Upcoming events in their area
  • Volunteer opportunities that they may be a fit for
  • How they can help spread your messages on social media

Explain how the gift is helping

A little bit further down the road, it can be very effective to show your donor the ways their gift is making a difference. Not only will this help your contributor avoid the chance for donor remorse, but it can also boost the likelihood that they give again.

There are several ways you can go about this. You can share an infographic with a breakdown of where funds have been distributed. You can share a letter from an organizational executive that explains some of the biggest projects the donation has gone towards. And you can also provide a testimonial or story from someone who has directly benefited from the gift.

Of course, this step can be more than just one email! You can certainly send a few different messages over time that make it clear their gift is having a long-term impact.

Free eBook: Turn your supporters into major donors!

Tips like these will help you grow your one-time gifts into recurring support and major donors for your cause! To learn more, download our free eBook with the fundraising intelligence experts at iWave.