Acknowledging gifts in LGL

In this article:

Overview of the LGL Acknowledgments process

In LGL, an acknowledgment is used to immediately acknowledge and thank a donor after they have made a gift to your organization.

Using the Acknowledgments functionality in Little Green Light allows you to create acknowledgment letters (printed or emailed) that you can send to constituents with valid physical or email addresses, as well as track that these communications were sent.

The key steps in the Acknowledgments process are:

  1. Enter a gift, or gifts, into LGL (there are a variety of ways this can be accomplished: Manual entry, bulk entry, import, LGL forms)
  2. Assign an acknowledgment template you’ve created
    1. It is key to create the template(s) you need before gift entry
    2. Only one acknowledgment is allowed per gift entered, so you’ll choose either a printed acknowledgment or an email acknowledgment for each gift
  3. Navigate to your Acknowledgments page and a) complete the printed letters (print and mail) or a) send the emails; then b) mark the set(s) of “Draft” acknowledgments as “Sent”
    1. LGL is built on the assumption that you will enter gifts periodically, meaning daily, weekly, etc. The idea is that each time you complete a “cycle” of gift entry, you will complete the acknowledgments you’ve assigned during that cycle

When should you use an LGL acknowledgment?

You should use an LGL acknowledgment ONLY to thank a donor immediately or soon after they have made a gift to your organization. 

It's important to also understand what an acknowledgment is not for. It cannot be used as:

  • A standard mailing (to send an appeal, for example)
  • An annual gift statement or year-end tax statement

LGL offers specific functionality for each of these types of mailings, as described in the following help articles:

Why acknowledge through LGL?

The Acknowledgments functionality built into LGL is designed to help you operate at maximum efficiency with the fewest possible errors.

Efficiency is gained in multiple ways:

  1. You don’t have to enter the gift information twice. Entering the gift data correctly will result in the correct gift data flowing through to the acknowledgment template you’ve designed. In other words, there is no need to manually edit the Microsoft Word letters to display the correct gift data.
  2. Constituent name information pulls directly from your LGL data. As long as you maintain the addressee, salutation, and address (mail or email) information, that updated information will get merged right into the acknowledgment template you design.
  3. Contemporaneous preparation. By assigning the acknowledgment template while you’re entering gifts, you do not have to backtrack through prior gifts entered to figure out which one gets which acknowledgment template later. You’ll do both at the same time, which is more efficient and improves accuracy. This is a wonderful benefit for situations relating to staff turnover and supervision of those building expertise in gift entry.
  4. Acknowledgment history is instantly stored alongside the gift. As soon as you assign the acknowledgment template to the gift, the full letter (email or printed) will be stored with that gift. If a donor contacts you looking for an acknowledgment they misplaced, you’ll quickly be able to give them a copy.
  5. LGL's Support Team is able to assist you with your acknowledgment process. If you use manual letters written outside of LGL, our Support Team can’t troubleshoot any issues you may experience. If you use the process built into LGL, our team is able to see what you’re doing and therefore help you succeed.

How acknowledgment templates work

In LGL, acknowledgment templates are made up of two main ingredients:

  1. The text you write thanking a donor for their donation
  2. The merge fields you insert into that text, which allow LGL to pull the data from the gift being acknowledged and the donor being acknowledged and add them to each instance of your acknowledgment

IMPORTANT: Make sure you are using the right merge fields for an acknowledgment mailing by copying them from the "Gift Ack. Information" section of the Merge Field Reference. For acknowledgment mailings, you will use ONLY merge fields beginning with "[[gifts.ack", as demonstrated in the example below.


A very simple acknowledgment template would look like this:

Dear [[salutation]],

Thank you very much for your gift of [[gifts.ack.amount]] on [[gifts.ack.date_phrase]]. We really appreciate your ongoing support of our critical mission.


Executive Director

In the above, the LGL merge fields are those words that appear inside double square brackets [[these are double square brackets]]. If your acknowledgment template does not have any LGL merge fields in it, no LGL data will be pulled into the text you write.

Creating an acknowledgment (mail or email) involves:

  1. Building an acknowledgment template
  2. Assigning that acknowledgment template to a gift

When you are ready to begin acknowledging gifts

  1. Create your acknowledgment template/s. You can choose to create letter templates or email templates. If you opt for letter templates, your options are to create a letter template in LGL using LGL’s simple text editor, or to create a template based on a Microsoft Word document. Whether you decide on an LGL template, an MS Word template, or an email template, you will use LGL merge fields to merge constituent and gift details into the content of your acknowledgment.

    Step-by-step instructions:
  2. Enter gifts and assign an acknowledgment template to each one. You can have multiple acknowledgment templates in your account, which makes it easy to quickly assign the appropriate template to a gift depending on whether it’s an annual fund donation, in-kind donation, or a tribute in honor or in memory of someone.

    Step-by-step instructions:
  3. Generate and send your acknowledgments. Instead of generating acknowledgments one by one, LGL’s Acknowledgments functionality allows you to work more efficiently by generating acknowledgments in batches. Once you’ve assigned templates to your gift records, navigate to Mailings > Acknowledgments to generate, download, and send your acknowledgments. Then mark your mailing as "Sent".

    Step-by-step instructions: