ISRT thank-you and welcome letter

ISRT’s welcome package on a single page


SOFII's view

ISRT (International Spinal Research Trust) produced this ‘first response’ welcome and thank-you letter at a time when complex welcome packages were becoming increasingly fashionable in the UK. As a small and not well-funded organisation, the charity wanted to produce something that was very low cost yet which thanked donors appropriately and introduced and explained the organisation. Plus, it set out to outline compellingly what support from donors means so that, hopefully, recipients would keep on supporting. In effect, ISRT produced a ‘welcome pack on a single page’. This low cost example of donor relationship development shows fundraising creativity at its simplest and best. Every fundraising organisation could and should aspire to have a thank-you programme and materials at least as good as this.

Medium of communication:
Direct mail.

Type of charity:
Healthcare, research & policy development.

Target audience:

Country of origin:


Burnett Associates Limited together with ISRT

Name of exhibitor:
Maxine Delahunty.

Date of first appearance:

ISRT’s objective was to create a format for highly personalised ‘thank you’ letters that could be easily used by the fundraising department staff and would incorporate all the important ingredients of a good welcome package on a single sheet of paper.


When this letter first appeared the process of thanking donors was widely considered to be an administrative chore. It wasn’t very usual for fundraising organisations in Britain (or anywhere else for that matter) to be very good or very prompt at the basic politeness of saying ‘thank you’ for a donation. Thanks to the work of researchers such as Penelope Burk and to the pioneering of organisations such as ISRT, we now know that, as Jo Habib puts it in her book Tiny Essentials of Raising Money from Foundations and Trusts, ‘any fundraiser who does not say thank you quickly and properly is an idiot as well as rude’.

This thank-you letter shows how simple, inexpensive, easy and effective the process can be.

Special Characteristics:

More than two thirds of the space on the front of the letter is blank. An individual letter can be laser printed and personalised onto this, for each recipient. The grey text gives essential background facts about ISRT and its work, explains who is supporting it and how, and shows how ISRT can help donors. A panel on the front by the signature asks ‘do you want a word with someone?’ and lists three individuals and their roles, inviting donors to contact them with any queries. On the reverse, the letter provides an opportunity for donors to introduce their friends to ISRT and also includes the forms that, at the time, donors had to complete to enable the charity to recover the tax they’d already paid on their donation, under the UK government’s tax recovery scheme.


This letter appears as an example of best practice in Ken Burnett’s 1992 book Relationship Fundraising.


Just design and printing, plus the cost of retaining a good agency.


It’s simple, effective, clear and very easy to copy.

spelling errors!

The thank you letter would be so much better without grammatical/spelling errors. ie. "I was delighted to receive you generous donation...." augh. Other than that, it's nice to see examples of successful communication.

You are right

There is a spelling error in the first line. I don't like it either, but there it is and it's the only example we have of this letter, from back in 1992.

But to be quite honest I think the small typo is perhaps the least important thing about it, hardly worth mentioning even. We all make the occasional typo, don't we? Hopefully readers will put that aside, and learn from the ingenuity of the letter.


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Thank you

SOFII gratefully acknowledges the generous and catalytic support of the Joffe Foundation, UK, which has made possible SOFII's growth and development to date.

'My Trust is delighted with its investment in SOFII. We are very pleased that we have been able to be of assistance in the launch of this important initiative.'
Lord Joel Joffe.


SOFII is supervised by The SOFII Foundation, a registered charity in the UK, No 1124743.

SOFII’s development director is Sue Kershaw. She can be reached at

'We love SOFII. Next year we hope to help again.' 
Lynne, HMA, Vancouver.

© The SOFII Foundation 2010.



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