Management and Leadership in Nonprofits


Fundraising Blog: It’s all about joy!

Feb 07, 2019
By: Kate Atkins

Thanking donors is one of the most important parts of our job as nonprofit professionals. But what makes a great thank-you letter? It’s all about your JOY! What about a simple yet very important note of thanks? “I was finishing up my lunch when I saw that you sent us a new donation. My heart jumped — you made my day!”

Regardless of the amount, this person gave their time and treasure to send your organization this monetary gift. At that moment, they were passionate about your mission and the impact you are making in the community and wanted to be a part of it. Show them the joy you experienced learning about your new or continued partnership.

Is this a first-time donor? Send more JOY! This person might have been following you for a while or maybe just found your organization and fell in love. Make sure you show them the joy and gratitude you feel in adding them to your list of community ambassadors.

Maybe this particular donation put a donor over a new threshold. Have they been giving $10/month for years? Maybe this donation means they have now given $500 to your organization. Or maybe it means they have given to the organization for five straight years! What an accomplishment to be joyous about! Celebrate how their consistent care adds up and sustains your organization.

Did they move from being an occasional donor to a monthly donor? Send a quick note of thanks: “You’ve already given so much. We are so honored to now have you as a monthly donor!”

Let us know ways you show the joy you have for your donors!

Wishing you a warm February, and remember: If goats can climb trees, you can fundraise.


Kate Atkins has nearly 20 years of experience in fundraising and membership. She holds a master’s degree in philanthropy and loves working with Wipfli’s clients as they pursue and expand fundraising in their organizations. This blog intends to give ideas and support to Wipfli clients on their fundraising journey — especially those clients whose culture is focused primarily on administering federal grants. It seems daunting, but if goats can climb trees, federally funded organizations can fundraise. Kate uses her fundraising skills regularly and indulges her love of goats by serving as board chair of a farm sanctuary where people rescue animals and animals rescue people.
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Kate Atkins, MS
Client Development Advisor
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