Giving thanks is always in style and it’s helpful to plan in advance how you’re going to thank donors.
Expressing heartfelt gratitude on time – every time – fosters lifetime support, speaks well of your organization, and hey, it’s the right thing to do!
So here are just a few ways to say, “thanks” to your supporters:
1. Send Thanks from Your Clients
When someone donates, what they’re really doing is coming alongside you in serving your clients. What better way to thank a donor than to send them a personalized message (in any form) from those whom they’ve impacted most?
One nonprofit that I worked with sent handwritten thank you notes from impoverished children that they ran a campaign for. It was a great way to connect each donor’s act of generosity back to the lives they affected!
2. Create a Memorable Experience
You can make giving extra special by creating an experience out of it. Is your donor giving in honor of a loved one? Allow them to virtually light a candle, release a lantern or launch a shooting star. Does your organization help animals? Let donors choose an image of a paw print and write their name on it.
Then put together a collage that represents the collective contributions of your supporters! You could even print these out and proudly display them at your HQ.
3. Send Gifts to Top Donors
One of my favorite “thanks” from a nonprofit was a beautiful pen and bracelet made by skilled Honduran workers within the community that my donation helped to support.
Another way to give a gift is to ask a sponsor to help you purchase branded materials (that people will like and use!) or various items of your choosing as a gift basket. Always be sure that the gifts you send are a surprise and not an incentive to donate in case it falls through.
4. Call Your Donor a Hero
Make donors feel great about their gift by attributing your triumphs and accomplishments to them. Did your campaign hit 100% funding? Were you able to help more clients than last year? Maybe your last campaign enabled you to fund a whole new line of services?
Tell your donors that they did that! Giving donors the credit for your successes confirms to them that they play an irreplaceable role in supporting your mission.
5. Give Them a Ring
Over the phone, of course! 😉
Making personal thank you calls can be more fun than you think! And it really gives a personal touch to your “thanks” even if the donor doesn’t pick up the phone and you have to leave a message. During the call, you can mention how their contribution will support your cause, you can sing a song, you can tell a joke… Have fun with it!
Be sure to address the donor by name and remind them that even if they gave a small amount, it makes a difference and is greatly appreciated.
6. Public Praise
Give donors a random shout out on the internet via your email newsletter, social media or your website. Social media shout outs are especially great because they enable you to thank donors immediately throughout the entire campaign. Just be sure to be considerate by not including donation amounts.
You can even respectfully include anonymous donors by saying something like, “Wow! An anonymous donor just gave $200 to our Holiday Campaign 🙂 Thank you so much for helping a family in our community!”
7. Video Message
Recording a thank you video is a nice way to express gratitude to many supporters at once. People love to see you, your members, and your clients actually saying the words “thank you” and to hear how awesome you think they are from your own mouth.
Best of all, this option is very cost effective since it can usually be done for free! For tips on creating a quick and professional video, check out these articles:
8. Invite Them to an Event
Hosting a special event to honor your supporters is an excellent way to make them feel like superstars. This could be as simple as a guided tour through your facility or a meet-and-greet with your members and clients.
If you’d like to go bigger with it, plan a night of recognition for volunteers, board members and donors to acknowledge their contributions to your mission.
9. Get Creative
Your organization is unique and your story is important. Find creative ways to say thanks that reflect YOU as a nonprofit. Pick donor’s names from a hat and find small ways to surprise them with a random “thank you”!
Here’s a bonus: If you know your donors well enough to know why they choose to give to you, then you’ll be able to say “thanks” in a custom way that will really touch them and make them want to give again.
Whichever method you use to thank your donors, make sure that it’s prompt, sincere and that it doesn’t include an additional ask.