How Nonprofits Can Make the Most of Donation Confirmation Emails

October 9, 2021
5 minutes
A neon-green mailbox with its insides glowing bright white and a red flag at full attention holds its own on a dark blue background with neon lines whizzing past. The mailbox is open and ready to receive mail (hopefully not bills, though).

How fun or exciting is it to receive a receipt in your inbox? If you're excited about the purchase and the email receipt reflects that excitement, it can be a great experience. Sometimes it can make you feel even better about your purchase. While making a donation isn’t exactly like making a consumer purchase, the email confirmation for the donation is one of your first opportunities to connect with donors and give them a feelgood moment after donating.

Receiving an email confirmation for a donation is standard, but you can take it beyond the expected. Here are a few ways you can make the most of email confirmations for donations.

Start with the subject line

The first thing donors see when you send them an email confirmation for their donation is the sender name and subject line of the email. In most cases, it makes sense to keep the sender name simple and use your organization’s name for quick recognition. The subject line, though, can be your moment to shine. Unfortunately, there are a lot of very expected (and sometimes uninspired) subject lines out there.

Here are some examples from my inbox:

  • Thank you for your recurring contribution!
  • Thank you for your generous donation to XYZ
  • Looking for your tax receipt?
  • Receipt for your donation to XYZ
  • (NAME), thank you for your donation!
  • Thank you for your gift
  • Official tax receipt for XYZ
  • Your 2020 tax receipt
  • Receipt for XYZ

One of my favorite subject lines for an email confirmation was, "Vanessa, you’ve made a difference!" It captures a spirit of gratitude and has a celebratory tone that’s perfect for donor stewardship.

Rethinking email content

Inside your email confirmation, you may need to include some standard information, like: date of gift, amount of gift, charitable tax number, organization’s contact information. For many organizations, this email confirmation also serves as a tax receipt, which is why it’s important to include this kind of information.

But there’s nothing stopping you from dressing up your thank you language in that receipt!

It says a lot that I made a donation to F Cancer back in 2014 and still remember that it was one of the better-written donation confirmations I’ve received.

screenshot of a donation confirmation email from Fuck Cancer

Get donors to take action

Donors are at peak engagement levels when they make a donation. Keep the momentum going by giving them more engagement opportunities right in the email confirmation. This can be as simple as a link to an impact video, a great social post, or even a recent petition. Choose content that will reinforce their donation's impact, the values behind their giving, and your organization’s gratitude.

Email confirmations will always be an expected part of the donation process, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring! Update your email confirmation to delight donors and take the first step toward a better donor experience.

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