Feeling Thank Yous

Thank You!I’m getting ready to lead a workshop on writing thank you notes today, so I’m trying to figure out what my real process is.

Sometimes, it is so easy to write a thank you, while other times, it’s a struggle.

What’s the difference? I think it’s hardest when I try to do it right. It’s easiest when I first get in touch with my feelings of gratitude. Here’s an example:

Yesterday, at the Nonprofit Public Relations Roundtable, a Gorge Action Programs staff member came in with a homemade coffee cake for us. I try to stay away from sugar or white flour, so… I wasn’t grateful for the thing itself. But I felt so much gratitude for her thoughtfulness, that I immediately made a commitment to myself to write her a thank you note.

Now I’m sitting here with a note card open, pen in hand, and I need to get back in touch with that feeling. I close my eyes, and remember the moment, and what I felt when I realized she had made the coffeecake especially for us. I write down the feeling words: cared for, nurtured, welcomed, loved, liked, surprised, scared of sugar, worried I’d offend her if I didn’t eat some, obligated.

Which words will she want to hear? What might she be hoping that her effort elicited? Those are the words I’ll use in my thank you note. I always use the pronoun “you” or the person’s name at least 3 times.

Dear Georgia,

Thank you so much for making your wonderful coffeecake for our meeting. It was such a surprise, and you made me feel so welcome. You are so thoughtful! Georgia, the effort you put into making us feel at home means a lot to me. Thanks again for being so warm and welcoming.


I’ve identified my process.
1. Be aware of opportunities to express gratitude.
2. Get in touch with my feelings of gratitude.
3. Reach out with empathy for the person I’m grateful to.
4. Make it personal and specific.

If you, too, struggle with the process of thanking your donors, I’d love to help you develop a strategy that works. Call (541-490-8689) to schedule a one hour complimentary consultation.