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10 Easy and Effective Ways to Thank Your Donors

Posted: 10/4/2021

Click here to read on Nonprofit Learning Lab.

We all struggle to find new and interesting ways to thank our donors for everything they do to make our organization's mission possible. Whether you're looking to connect with donors who have recently engaged with your nonprofit, or need a new way to thank donors who have been with you for a long time, these tips will surely come in handy. Looking for new ways to reach out to donors? Check out our training on making better donor calls and practice better stewardship and donor management.

1. Send a Welcome Package

Sending welcome packages is a worthwhile way to show your donors your organization's mission while simultaneously illustrating your appreciation for their support. It is recommended you send donors welcome packages within the first few weeks after their first gift. These packages can include a variety of goodies like handwritten thank you notes, photographs or testimonials from people involved with your organization, a printed-out blurb about your organization's mission and purpose, or some memorabilia from your organization such as keychains, stickers, and t-shirts.

2. Send a Unique Gift from Your Organization

This option is perfect if your organization works with artisans or you have creative individuals on your team. It is important to note these gifts should be small in size and price so that the donors appreciate the keepsake and do not feel like you are using their donation frivolously.

3. Send a Thank You Video

Sending a thank you video can connect your donors to your organization in an impactful way since they have the opportunity to put a face to the organization they donated to. These videos can be as creative as you would like them to be. Try getting staff, volunteers, or clients served involved! These videos can simply include your organization's leader thanking them for their donation, or you can include additional staff members, volunteers, and benefactors. Videos are easily distributed, making this option more cost-effective and appealing.

4. Show Your Appreciation on Your Website

Since many people will go directly to your website in order to use your services and learn more about your organization, featuring your donors on your website is a great way to broaden their reach while also showing them your appreciation. It may be helpful to create a specific section or page on your website to showcase your donors, possibly including little sections about their missions as well as their logos.

5. Send an Anniversary Card

Donors appreciate recognition throughout their time with your organization. It is effective to send your donors an anniversary card one year after they made their donation. For an added touch: have the leader of your organization hand-write it out and sign it. If your donors have been around for more than one year, consider coming up with different ideas on how to recognize and thank them for their 5, 10, 20+ years of collaboration.

6. Host a Donor Appreciation Gathering

Whether it is virtual, in-person, or hybrid, organizing a donor appreciation gathering is an exciting way to thank your donors for their ongoing support. It should be noted that this is not an opportunity to ask for further donations, but rather a time to show your appreciation and gratitude for their patronage. An added bonus is that some donors may feel compelled to give additional donations after an appreciation event.

7. Send Handwritten Thank You Letters

It is important to recognize your donors after receiving their gift, and including a personalized, handwritten letter can add an intimate touch, making your 'thank you' additionally meaningful. Aspects to keep in mind regarding your handwritten letters are: timely sending and outlining the impact their donation will have on your organization or community. It adds an additional touch if you continue to send handwritten thank-you notes on occasions other than after their donation. It is beneficial to send handwritten notes on the anniversary of a donation, around the holidays, and after donors attend one of your events.

8. Call Your Donor

Even in the digital age, a phone call is still an extremely effective way to show you appreciate your donors. Phone calls from a member of your organization provide a level of authenticity to your donors and also provides them with an opportunity to ask you any questions they may have about your organization. Helpful tip: call all donors regardless of the size of their gift and call them within two months of making their donation.

9. Shout Out Your Donors on Social Media

Acknowledging your donors on your organization's social media platforms is a free way to thank them while promoting and introducing your mission and reach to users who may not already be familiar with your organization. Social media provides nonprofits a tool they can use to build stronger connections with their audiences as well as an opportunity to further expand their clientele.

10. Organize an Office Tour

Invite your donors to an in-person or virtual office tour. An office tour adds a personal touch by allowing the donor to meet members of your organization as well as giving them the opportunity to see the physical space in which your organization works. Office tours also provide the opportunity for additional rapport to be built among your organization's employees and your donors.

Whether it is your first time thanking a donor, or your 100th, letting our donors know how much we appreciate them is paramount. Studies show that donors who receive a thank you call are more likely to give going forward. Looking to take your thank yous to the next level? Register today for our training Make the Ask: How to Make Better Donor Calls Every Week to Achieve Your Goals and get started today. 

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