10 Ways to say Thank you to your donors

Nonprofit organizations must find ways to say thank you to their donors. I am not talking about a simple thank you card donors receive once a year but doing things that show donors that they’re appreciated all year round.

If you have a nonprofit organization, you must find ways to say thank you to your donors because it keeps donors giving.

Ways to say Thank you

Humans are social beings and love to be seen. We love to be seen when we do things for others and when we do things for ourselves. When you see someone, you’re simply letting them know that they’re important to you and you care enough to notice them.

In order for you to see someone, you don’t have to say much. Actually, non-verbal communication is more than enough and more effective than verbal. This is so because sometimes verbal acknowledgment can be judgmental.

I learned this philosophy of being seen earlier on in life but the clarity of it was actually revealed to me by my 6-year-old daughter.

The first thing I want to say about my little princess is that she’s saved me from embarrassment so many times. You know am very bad at names and every time I meet someone I first wait for my daughter to say hi to them because she always greets them by their names and if she didn’t know the name, she’ll make one up.

Well, let’s get to the lessons I’ve learned from my little princess.

The first lesson is one I mentioned above. Someone only has to introduce him or herself once and she remembers the name. The next thing she says after the introduction is “ Wow what a great name.” I always look forward to that because you can’t help but smile when you see people light up to her.

The second lesson also has to do with taking an interest in people. My princess also memorizes people’s birthdays. She loves celebrating people’s birthdays by drawing birthday cards for them. Here’s an example of a card she did recently. I would like to say that I was shocked that she knew her auntie’s birthday and I didn’t.

Why am I talking about my daughter and what has she got to do with saying thank you to your donors?

The answer is simple. One, because I am proud of her and the biggest reason is that I have seen the effect she has on people. By doing simple yet difficult things for most of us. She lets people know that they’re important and that she sees them. And when it comes to their birthdays, just imagine receiving a handwritten birthday card from a 6-year-old.

These people are like donors. Let me actually say, they are the donors. Taking an interest in the little things such as their name and birthday and actually sending them something as simple as a card, shows them that they’re important and they matter. It shows them that you see them and appreciate their contribution to your cause.

Showing appreciation for your donors doesn’t have to be expensive

There are so many ways to say thank you to your donors. Some require some financial investment and others only require your time and creativity.

In this article am going to show you 10 different ways to say thank you to your donors.

The most important element in this exercise is knowing who your donors are. You want to be careful not to use appreciation methods that will turn some good donors away. Please read the article Getting to know your donors for tips on how to collect information about your donors.

Show your donors you appreciate them

There are several ways to say thank you to your donors but I will only talk about 10. They’re not in any order of some sort but I hope you can find one or two helpful tips.

Send them Annual Reports

I have never met a donor who did not have an interest in the cause they support. They may not have the interest in the day to day running of the organization but they always want to know how their gifts are impacting the cause.

It’s very important that you work out a specific period during the year when you produce these reports. It is also important that you let the donors know that you’ll be sending them the reports right when they become your donor. You want to do this right at the beginning so that the donors don’t ask for the reports first. You want to show them that you’re transparent.

The annual reports may include finance and impact for the current year and projections for the following year. You want to show them that you have the vision and the ability to follow through.

You also have to show consistency by sending these reports during the same period every year.

Engagement Opportunities – Feedback

Some donors want to know that you value their opinions and what better way to get their opinions than donor feedback? If you going to use this method, just remember that not everyone will participate.

Please read the article  Why you should be asking donors for feedback to get some tips on how to get feedback from donors.

Celebrating Donor Anniversaries

You can show donors that you appreciate them by taking note of when they joined your donor community and celebrating their anniversary. This is a very simple thing to do and one that doesn’t require much.

In this day n age, everyone has access to a computer or smartphone. Keeping these dates and setting up reminders is very simple.

You can use the software you already have access to. The most common is google calendar and any calendar app on your computer or phone will do the job just fine.

If you want something more streamlined and dedicated to reminders, you can also search for Anniversary Reminders on the App Store for IOS and Google Play for Android devices.

Celebrate Donor Birthdays

I already talked about the impact that a simple birthday card has on people. You want to make sure that you let your donors know that you’re thinking about them on their birthday.

Again the tools for the birthday reminders are the same as the Anniversary. You just have to choose which ones work better for you.

If you’re one that likes to put things on autopilot like me, then I have some great option for you. Here’s a great tutorial on how you can use Gmail and mail merge to send anniversary and birthday emails automatically. Check it out here.

Thank you Notes

Yes, you can still use the good old handwritten thank you note to say thank you to your donors. If your cause is working with people, It’ll be great if you have them write the thank you notes. This is a great way to show appreciation for your donors.

If handwritten notes are not your thing, then you can still use email to send well-crafted thank you notes. You may also use Gmail and Mail Merge to automate the process.

Public Recognition.

This is the most tricky way of saying thank you to your donors. I say tricky because you have to be very careful when thanking people in public.

If you gonna mention names, you have to make sure to mention every donor’s name. Leaving some out may have some negative effects on your organization.

You have to make sure that before you put your donors name out in public that you reach out to them and get permission to do so. This is so because other donors don’t want people to know that they donate to a nonprofit organization.

For those that are okay with public recognition, utilizing your website is a great way to show appreciation. You can create a page or section on your website specifically for donors.

Donor Appreciation Events

A great way to say thank you to your donors is organizing a donor appreciation event. These events can be costly but if you can afford it, I highly recommend it.

There’s just something magical that happens when people come together in place for a common cause. This event is about the donors but also a great time to show them what kind of impact their gifts are making. You may also present to them your projects for the following year and your challenges.

Remember that it takes a lot to organize such an event but if done right, you might end up raising more money for your organization.

Attend to Donor Concerns Quickly

One great thing about conducting donor surveys is that you open up the channels of communication between your organization and the donor community. It is through such an exercise that people express their opinions about your organization.

It’s always great to hear the good things from donors but it’s also ok to get bad reviews. Part of appreciating your donors requires that you take time to read all the reviews and if possible acknowledge receipt.

Once you receive a concern from a donor, it is your duty to attend to it in a timely manner. I am not saying that every concern needs to be solved but you have to acknowledge the concern and if you don’t agree with it, then you have to provide your reasoning.

The worst thing you can do is ignore a concern just because you feel that it’s not valid.

By attending to your donor’s concerns, you are saying I value your opinion because you’re so important to me and the organization. You are also saying ” Thank you for taking the time to give feedback.”

Donation Acknowledgment

It is very easy to thank donors once a year for their donations. I for one don’t like someone thanking me every month when I make my automated donation. But the truth is that the lack of an appreciation email or acknowledgment is more damaging than an annoying monthly thank-you email.

You want to set up an automated system that sends out personalized emails every time someone makes a donation.

Make Personal Calls

Making personal calls is only practical if you have a very small donor list. This can be time-consuming if you have a very long list of donors and may prove to be impractical. But, if you can, then go ahead and make personal calls.

One way to make calls is by sending recorded messages. There are not personal but may work. The aim here is to find ways to say thank you to your donors and I encourage you to use whatever means to put your message across.

The Conclusion

It is very easy to get discouraged by the amount of work or money you have to invest in saying thank you to your donors. My advice to you is; do whatever it takes to show appreciation to your donors because they’ll take care of you in return.

One of your jobs as the founder of a nonprofit is to find new donors and also work hard at keeping your existing donors.

The tips above are meant to help you keep your existing donors happy. The tips will also help your organization create a solid and conducive environment to cultivate and attract new donors.

You now have some tips and tricks to help you find ways to say thank you to your donors and now it’s time for you to take action.


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Nelson Musonda

Nelson Musonda

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