Seven Ways to Thank Your Donors


In the fast-paced world we live in today, technology and lack-of-time can interfere with how you interact with your donors. You worked really hard to get these donors invested, but what are you doing to keep them around?

Professional fundraiser, Dan Kimball, calls it “friendraising” instead of fundraising, simply because the act of getting donors is built upon a relationship. If you don’t have a relationship with your donors, the chances of them continuing to support your organization significantly decrease.

So what can you do? There are a number of things you can start right now that can drastically change the way donors feel about your organization. It all starts with how you thank them.

1. Be Personal

Handwritten letters go a long way. We write to customers weekly here at Aplos! Receiving handwritten – rather than typed – letters lets your donor know that you took the time out of your busy day to personally thank them. If you’re only sending typed letters, it signifies that your thank you is an automated response, which means your letter will likely be thrown in the trash.

2. Think Outside the Box – Be creative.

Pinterest has a million and one ways to creatively make a person feel special. If you want to try a new approach to handwriting letters, I recommend checking out our Saying Thank You board on Pinterest to see some of the ideas we’ve pinned. You can easily turn a small note into something creative.

3. Go the Extra Mile.

If a lot of your donors are local, take this opportunity to hand deliver your small gift to them personally. If this doesn’t scream personal, then we don’t know what does. For example: plant some seeds in tiny pots and when they start to sprout, attach a note to the side reading: “Thanks for helping our mission grow!” then gift it to a donor!

Not only is this personal, but it gives your donor a lasting memory of you. Down the road, this will encourage them to continue to support you.

4. Email Video Thank You.

All you need is a smart phone with a working video recorder and a computer. Simply film one of your volunteers/staff members thanking a donor for their support, with a brief description of how their support has directly benefited your mission. Here are a couple of examples:

5. Invite a Donor to Dinner.

Fire up the grill, load up the crock pot, and throw together a low-key BBQ for your staff and invite some of your local donors to attend. Thank them for all they’ve contributed. This is a great way to thank them while bumping elbows in a casual setting where you aren’t going to ask them for money.

6. Use Social Media to Publically Thank Donors.

This method is trickier to use since a lot of donors are private about their contributions. However, if you have donors that volunteer their time, you could snap a picture of them volunteering their time and write a meaningful post on Facebook or Instagram about how much you appreciate them for being such a supportive donor.

7. Pick Up The Phone And Call.

Calling donors gets a bad rap because we’re taught that you shouldn’t bother donors in their down time. But if you are calling just to say thank you, not to ask for money over the phone, studies have shown that donors appreciate the call!

Eric Burgess serves as Aplos’ Marketing Director and is passionate about all things digital media. When he’s not writing searchable content for churches and nonprofits to find online, he’s likely spending time with his family or out riding his downhill mountain bike in the Sierra Nevada mountains somewhere. Oh, and he's deathly allergic to tree nuts.

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