Donation Receipts: How to Engage Your Donors with Email

donation receipts

Our friends at Qgiv had some great insight on how to use your donation receipt emails as a way to further engage your donors.


Since nonprofits are legally required to provide donation receipts, these necessary documents can seem like little more than extra paperwork. But they’re so much more!

Donation receipts are opportunities to engage with your donors.

Creating impactful donation receipts is especially important for online donors who may not interact with your organization face-to-face. Great receipts will engage your donors while providing the information you’re legally obligated to provide after they make a gift.

That’s why in this post we’ll cover sending donation receipts as emails — with the donor in mind, of course.

Email’s format provides the opportunity for you to include all the necessary donation receipt information while giving you enough space to add valuable content and thank your donors.

How can you structure your emails to best engage your donors?

Let’s break it down:

  • Subject Line
  • Introduction
  • Donation Details
  • Email Body
  • Closing

Each of the bolded elements below are essential components of donation receipts.

Subject Line

Your subject line should be clear enough that a donor can easily recognize the purpose of the email. Something along the lines of “(Donor’s name), thank you for your donation!” can get the point across, quickly.

It’s also important to keep in mind that not all donors who opt for email receipts have given their donation online. Some donors, for example, may have used an on-site giving kiosk at your nonprofit’s event. In this case, referencing the event in question will give more context to the email and show your donor that you’re grateful for their attendance as well as their donation.

Remember, donors need receipts to confirm their donations — a crystal clear subject line can give them the reassurance that they need.

For more subject line strategies, check out this Klaviyo resource.


In your introduction, you’ll need to include:

  • The donor’s name
  • The organization’s name
  • A statement of gratitude

Begin your email by addressing the donor by their preferred name and title, and then immediately thank them for their contribution.

Donation Details

Your emails should include the following donation details:

  • The donation amount
  • The date of the donation
  • The specific campaign or cause that the donor supported

This section can be a box or chart that specifies the donation details. This section should be large and should be located near the top of the email.

That way, donors can immediately recognize the email as a receipt and can easily catalog their donation information for tax deductions.

Depending on the donation amount, you may want to vary your content by segmenting your donor base.

Email Body

In the email body, you can include other valuable content that will be of interest to your donors. This content can include:

  • Details of gratitude. Clearly explain how the donor has supported your nonprofit’s cause. For example, you can phrase this component as: “Thanks to you, children will receive the school supplies they need to succeed.”
  • Links to your website. These links should direct your donors to pages that offer other opportunities for engagement besides giving. After all, you don’t want to pressure your donors with more asks immediately. Instead, send them to a page for upcoming volunteer opportunities or a recent update on your fundraising campaign.
  • Picture or video. Visuals that showcase the recipients of your nonprofit’s aid can make a donation tangible for your supporters. If they see who their funds are helping, then they’ll be more likely to continue their relationship with your nonprofit.

Receipts for recurring donations or tithes should also be specific and thank donors for continued support. You’ll want to keep this in mind when choosing an online platform or tithing tool.


The email closing is the perfect place to put all of the necessary donation receipt information that isn’t necessarily relevant to your donor’s giving experience.

These details include:

  • Your nonprofit’s federal tax ID number
  • A statement of 501(c)(3) registration.
  • A statement saying whether goods or services were exchanged for the donation. If goods and services were exchanged (for donations of $75 or more), the nonprofit must provide a good-faith estimate of the value of those goods and services.
  • The name and signature of an authorized representative from your nonprofit.
  • A disclosure (which varies from state to state).

These details can be included in smaller font or italics if you choose.

You can also use the closing as an opportunity to promote social sharing. Including buttons for Facebook or Twitter allows donors to share their contributions to their own networks via their personal social media pages. This feature is especially useful in peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, which you can learn more about with this Double the Donation guide!

Though you’ll likely need to tweak your email structure to fit the needs of your organization, the goal is to include the necessary information in a way that your donors can easily understand.

Structuring your emails so that donation receipts are simple and digestible can improve your donors’ giving experience and encourage them to remain a part of your organization.

Now that you know how to structure your donation receipt emails to make the most of the space you have, you can use these required receipts to further your nonprofit’s overall mission.

For more comprehensive information on donation receipts and all that they require, check out this Qgiv guide.Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading <a href=”https://www.qgiv great”>online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.


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