How do I thank my donor?
excerpts from Scholarship America’s May 5, 2011 article “Say Thank You After
Receiving a Scholarship.” The full article is available here.
Just as you would thank someone who gave
you a birthday or graduation gift, you should thank the person or organization
who awarded your scholarship. Scholarship dollars should be treated as the gift
they are. Scholarship sponsors want to know that their gift to you is
Stuck on how to get started? Here is a
simple outline to help you out.
1. Get out your stationery. A hand-written note shows you were really touched by the gift, so touched
that you want to thank your benefactor in a personal way. While hand-written is
best, a typed letter signed by you is a good choice (especially if your
handwriting isn't the greatest). Stay away from E-mail if possible; if you
can't, make sure your E-mail is warm and appropriately personal (see number 4,
2. Properly address the letter. If you received a scholarship from your parents' place of business,
consider addressing the letter to the president of the company. The same holds
true if your scholarship was from another company in the community: Address
your thank you to the president. For scholarships awarded by community
foundations, alumni associations, or nonprofit groups address your letter to
the executive director, board chairman, or president (whichever is the top
title in that organization).
Once you've found the appropriate name and
address, a simple salutation is best: "Dear Ms. Jones" followed by a
comma. If you can't find the person's name, it is acceptable to substitute
"Dear [name of organization or scholarship] selection committee"
followed by a comma.
*Note: The UWSP Foundation will provide an addressee when you receive notice
of your scholarship.
3. Start simple. "Thank you for the [name of] scholarship" is the best possible
4. Be personal. In your thank you letter, tell the scholarship sponsor what the award
means to you. If it's enough to cover books for a semester, include that. If it
means you won't have to work a part-time job (so you'll be able to spend more
time on your studies), tell them. The scholarship sponsors want to see the
impact of their financial investment in your future.
5. Be more personal, if you have more to
say. If you are the first person in your family
to attend college, or if the gift will allow you to attend your first-choice
school, for example, include that information. The more you can illustrate the
importance of this scholarship award to you, the better.
6. Write legibly and spell everything
correctly. You might consider drafting your letter
before putting it on stationery, to ensure that you have enough room to write
what you want to say.
7. If you're comfortable, allow the
scholarship sponsor to share your letter.
Sharing your letter with others enables the sponsor to better demonstrate the
reasons why scholarship programs are important. Hearing from you why your
scholarship matters is much more compelling than hearing dry statistics and
Example: "Please feel free to share my
thanks and my story with others in your organization, including publications
and online. I would be honored to help you raise more funds for more
8. End with another simple thank you. Go ahead, repeat yourself. The person receiving your hand-written thank you
letter won't mind.
9. Sign it. Sign
your name after using the closing word or phrase that feels right to you (i.e.,
"Sincerely," "Best regards," "Most sincerely,"
Congratulations on earning your
scholarships, and good luck!