25 Ways to Thank Your Donors

If you are a nonprofit organization, chances are that at least some – and perhaps a considerable amount – of your operating budget each year comes from donations. Philanthropy is on the rise, In 2013, total giving in the United States added up to over $330 billion dollars, and 72% of that represented gifts from individual, as opposed to corporate or foundation donors.

So, what are you doing to let your donors know how grateful you are for their support? The philosopher William James said “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” This is something to keep in mind if you want to keep your supporters on your side, get more support from them in the future, and best of all enlist them in helping you attract others of like mind.

Here are 25 great – and simple, and relatively inexpensive ways to let your donors know how much you appreciate their support.

  1. Send a handwritten note.
  2. Be sure to spell their name right.
  3. Have an executive or board member call to say “thanks”.
  4. Tell a story so that the donor knows how their gift benefitted someone.
  5. Make your thanks personal and specific (“your gift of $100” not “your recent donation”).
  6. Invite donors to a luncheon or dinner to recognize their gifts.
  7. Give a personal tour of your operation.
  8. Invite them to sign up for your newsletter, or visit your website to learn more.
  9. Recognize donors in your newsletter.
  10. Highlight a specific donor in your newsletter, and talk about their accomplishments.
  11. Include a simple inexpensive gift with your acknowledgment, e.g. a drawing from a client.
  12. Tell them how many other people are in THEIR community (of donors).
  13. Respond quickly to any donation, no matter how large or small.
  14. Send a follow up 30 days after your first acknowledgement.
  15. Share progress reports throughout the year.
  16. Record a video thank you and direct donors to where it is posted.
  17. Use video or written testimonials from people who were helped by the gift.
  18. Use Twitter, Facebook or other social media platforms to thank and recognize supporters.
  19. Include a photograph with your thank you, relevant to your mission.
  20. Send an “end of year” statement for tax preparation.
  21. Mail a news story relating to the program the donation supported.
  22. Endorse donors on their LinkedIn profiles for “philanthropy”.
  23. Send a Thanksgiving card in November – “We’re thankful for YOU”.
  24. Post names on a donor wall in your public lobby.
  25. Send all donors an annual report and highlight the importance of donations to your group.

If you are already employing some of these ideas, good for you! Now, add a few more. If you have been searching for meaningful ways to say thank you to supporters, try a handful of these suggestions and just see how much of an impact they make.