This post was written by Alice Pencaval, a member of the DonorsChoose.org Gratitude Operations team.
You wrote a stellar proposal and the funds rolled in. Your project came to fruition and your students reaped the benefits. Filled with gratitude, it’s time to put together those promised thank-you notes for your supporters. But what constitutes an appropriate expression of thanks? How long should the notes be? How detailed and involved? Perhaps your students are better artists than writers at this point; what should you do then?
Look no further. Here are some of the qualities that make for an A+ student thank-you package, no matter what your circumstances are.
Reflect With Your Students
For students, the DonorsChoose.org process might seem abstract. How did these materials appear in their classroom? Who are these supporters who are somehow responsible for providing what they needed? Talk with your students about how your project came to be, and ask them how their learning has improved or what they like about the resources. Compile a list of all the benefits your students have shared. This list will be a great resource when it’s time to write their thank-yous. Helping them understand how the process works and to put their feelings in words aloud is the perfect first step.
If your students are better able to draw than write, let them go as crazy as they’d like with colors!The best student thank yous often have lots of color or detail. Creativity need not be extravagant, but a little color goes a long way. It’ll brighten a donor’s day.
Be Specific, Make it Personal
If your students are able to write their notes independently, encourage your students to be really specific about how this project has helped them. What examples might they include? There’s a palpable difference between a rote “thanks for the Chromebooks,” and “I made my first stop-motion animation video on mitosis!” And that quick “thanks for the pencils” can stand out by adding something as simple as “I love how there’s always a pencil available when I need one!”
Put On Donor Shoes
More than anything, ask yourself: if I was a donor, what kind of thank-you notes would I be pleased to receive? Put yourself in a donor’s shoes, go with your gut, and read double check that your thank-yous adhere to the DonorsChoose.org guidelines. The only thing left to do is put them in the envelope and send them out into the world!
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