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Gratitude Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

It is our honor and privilege here at Manatee Community Foundation to partner with a wonderful variety of community-minded people with passions for a cause (or many causes).

It fills us with hope for a better future and with gratitude for the results their philanthropy makes possible.

When nonprofit grantees send thank you messages for investments they receive from donor advised funds, we pass the gratitude along to our donor advisors. They are received with happiness, and not surprisingly, the acknowledgements can make the donor advisors more interested in continuing to give because they get affirmation that the gift was important and needed.

We have seen the benefits of practicing gratitude firsthand. People who practice gratitude tend to be more sensitive to others, have enhanced well-being, and stronger relationships. We believe gratitude positively impacts the giver and the receiver.

Showing your thanks with a simple note is about acknowledging kindness. You can focus on the contribution by using “you” and talking about what the kindness has made possible. Key phrases include: “With your help,” “Your gift,” “Thanks to your support,” and “You make xyz possible.”

After receiving hundreds of letters each year, I believe these 10 things will help to make the biggest difference in your correspondence:

  1. Use the donor’s name (please do not say “Dear Friend”).
  2. Send your note promptly – within 5 days–but sooner is best.
  3. Send it from one person or the whole “team” with original signatures.
  4. Talk about how the gift will help real people (or animals).
  5. Be warm and friendly, not mechanical.
  6. Share a special moment or feeling you think about with the donor, if you have one.
  7. Avoid another appeal for money in the thank you–the sole purpose is a heartfelt expression of gratitude.
  8. Reference the donor’s history with giving to your organization if it is not a first-time gift.
  9. Add personal touches if possible (but please stay away from exploding glitter).
  10. Offer more contact if the donor wants to get more involved.
Joan McCaw
Joan McCaw
Manager of Grants and Scholarships

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Joan McCaw is the Manager of Grants and Scholarships at Manatee Community Foundation. She has established trusted relationships with donors for more than 13 years. You can reach her at or (941) 747-7765.