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How-To Guide for Graduate Students Writing a Thank-You Letter

Stewarding Donors
| 3 minutes to read
Last Updated: 08-27-2021


As part of receiving graduate or professional student funding, you will be expected to write a thank-you letter to your donor within a month of receiving funding. In order to make this process meaningful and consistent, we have created some guidelines and helpful hints on what makes a good thank-you letter.

Greeting (paragraph one)

Make certain to use the donor’s formal salutation. (Their name will be highlighted in your offer letter.)

Start with a Thank-You and Introduce Yourself (paragraph two)

Begin the letter by thanking the donor for your award. The fund name should be written out in full. Include in this paragraph your name, where you’re from, where you completed your undergraduate studies, and why you chose the UW for your graduate studies.

Tell Them about Your Studies and Goals (paragraph three)

Take this opportunity to discuss your field of study, keeping your audience in mind. Your donors, most likely, will not appreciate an overly technical description of your research, course work, etc. Share with them recent accomplishments (papers you’ve had published, conferences you’ve attended, etc.) and what you’re planning for the upcoming year. If you are graduating, be sure to discuss with them your future plans, job prospects, etc.

Thank Them Again (paragraph four)

In this closing paragraph, let them know how this fund has made a difference to you and your educational experience while at the UW. Then conclude by thanking them again for their generosity and support of graduate student education.


Use a formal sign-off with a handwritten signature, and type your name underneath.

In addition to the thank-you letter, feel free to attach any information about your studies, relevant photos, articles, papers, links, etc., that you would like to share with them. We will be sharing this information with the generous donor(s) of the funding you received, and additional items, such as these, provide a more meaningful and personal stewardship touch.

Please return the letter, and any other information, to the department’s administrator to be reviewed and edited if necessary. The department will mail your thank-you to the donor and send a copy to the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association to be filed.