Home Donor Management Are You Thanking Or Acknowledging Your Donors?

Are You Thanking Or Acknowledging Your Donors?

by Eric Burgess

Right about now many nonprofit organizations are busy with a variety of year-end campaign appeals, email blasts or giving opportunities. While reaching out to new donors, renewals, or lapsed donors is a great idea this time of year, you should also be thinking about how you are thanking your donors.

Thanking Donors Requires More Than A Donation Receipt

One common mistake nonprofit organizations make is acknowledging a new gift but not really thanking the donor. A receipt is not a thank you. Certainly, you’ll want to make sure your donors get donation receipts that include some information on tax deductibility. However, if you’re just telling people, “No goods or services were received by the donor as a result of this gift,” then you are missing out on an opportunity to engage those donors. Taking the time to tell donors about the impact of their gift engages them and increases potential gifts down the road.

Personalize Your Communication When Thanking Your Donors

A great way to make sure donors feel thanked is to personalize your gift acknowledgments as much as possible. If you are just pumping out a stack of form letters in large batches, with no personalized message (or even a handwritten note), it will be easy for donors to not feel cared about. But when they feel cared for, they develop a stronger connection with your nonprofit.

Is the person a new donor? Regular donor? Returning donor from a few years back? Personalize each type of donor thank you as a way to make a stronger connection with them. Another great way to thank donors is following the standard acknowledgment by reaching out with a phone call or a handwritten card from the director, board chair, or program staff person.

Focus On The Impact Of Their Gift

Finally, keep your donor thank you letters centered on the donor, and highlight the impact their gift is making for your organization. Don’t focus on how great your organization is. Rather, emphasize the partnership and work that can be done because of the gift that donor made. This is important whether you get a $25 donation or a $5,000 donation. Make your thank you process personal and memorable. Just a few extra steps can help your organization go from simply acknowledging gifts to creating lifelong partnerships with donors.

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1 comment

Donation Receipts: #1 Guide for Tax-Deductible Donations January 25, 2018 - 12:04 pm

[…] receipt is an acknowledgment letter that includes the IRS required fields, but also specifically thanks the donor and informs them of the impact of their gift. Best practices is a more personal acknowledgment […]


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