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5 Ways to Thank Your Donors for Their Support

December 20, 2022

Thanking your donors for their support is one of the smaller yet more important things your organization can do. Not only is it polite, but it nurtures the relationship between you and your supporters, helping to stave off dreaded donor fatigue and nurture donor retention.

5 Ways to Thank Your Donors

The following are five meaningful ways to show gratitude to your supporters, ranked in terms of time and effort. Though some may not be possible to do every time someone gives, the important thing is that you express gratitude. There may be times when a written note is possible, and others when a shout-out on social media is best. However, it’s a good idea to mix up your medium to ensure your message feels authentic as intended.

1. A Phone Call

An actual conversation is extremely personal and tells the recipient that their help is important! It’s also a great way to really connect with your donors and ask them what inspires and motivates them to support your organization. By better understanding your donors, you’ll improve your organization’s ability to engage and build an even more positive donor experience. If you leave a thank-you voicemail, invite your donor to call back and share their opinion on what your nonprofit is doing, or inform them of other ways they can get involved that don’t have to do with their wallet, such as volunteer work.

2. A Handwritten Note

A lot of boring things arrive in the mail (we’re looking at you, circulars), which makes a handwritten thank you note feel like the best kind of surprise. So, imagine if you donated $25 to a local nonprofit or spent an afternoon helping out at a fundraising event and got an actual thank-you note in return. You’d be totally floored! As you craft your thank-you letters, include a specific instance or effort for which their donation was used. Another idea is to mention that they can visit your organization on social media for more stories on how contributions like theirs have made a difference. 

3. An E-Mail With a Personal Touch

While less tactile, email can come across as meaningful and heartfelt if you tailor the message to the individual. In other words, make it clear that you haven’t just cut and pasted boilerplate text. Instead, personalize the note by name, and add some specific details about the gift or volunteer action and its impact. In doing so, you’ll communicate that your donor’s contribution mattered enough that you took the time to send off a note. The helpful thing with an email is that it makes including a photo or video easy, and visuals are a powerful way to show what donations funding. While you’re at it, ask for feedback that will help you get to know your donors better.

4. Get Specific With Postcards

Like a handwritten note, mail always feels great. However, postcards don’t have to be as time-intensive or custom from top to bottom. Try using images that aren’t everywhere on social media—maybe a behind-the-scenes shot of your organization’s work or a capture illustrating an update on a specific project. The key here is to use photos that are real and convey that in-the-moment quality. The message printed on the postcard can be something simple, such as, “Thanks to your gift, we served x people in our community!” There are all kinds of services geared toward these types of “photo postcards,” such as TouchNote and Postagram.

5. Social Media Shoutouts

When volunteers come to help out with an event or project, try to snap some shots of the activity and collect social media handles. Later, post (and tag, when possible) everyone who came and helped out. Being recognized in such a way creates a personal connection, feels great, and increases the possibility of a little social sharing. As we know, peer-to-peer in any form is a powerful way to spread awareness of your organization and cause. If you don’t have action shots or specific people to tag, you can still give props to supporters on social media. Share images of the project donations have impacted and express your thanks to all that contributed their money or time.

Bonus Gratitude Idea:

We came across a great donor appreciation idea for a project photo book on Network for Good:

“A project photo book is another impactful idea for donors. This type of thank you can take the form of a scrapbook or a printed book like those that Shutterfly produces. Include images of the project as it developed and share photos of the people or animals who benefitted. Photo books inspire donors and encourage them to continue their partnership with your organization.”

A project photo book doesn’t have to be something you hold in your hands—it could be online. Simply upload images into a gallery or create a virtual photo book and send the link to everyone who contributed money, time, or both!

Thanks for reading!

We all know how important it is to show our appreciation to others, but sometimes it can be difficult to know how best to do it. The three ideas above are just a few of the many ways you can show your appreciation and make someone feel valued. So, next time you want to say thank you, don’t hesitate to go the extra mile and really make someone’s day.

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