Home Fundraising 7 Ways To Thank Your Donors

7 Ways To Thank Your Donors

by Eric Burgess

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? Most people want to feel appreciated after making a donation, and take note when someone comes up with unique ways to thank donors for their contribution.

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. Here are 7 easy ways that will mean a lot to your donors:

1. Be Personal

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

2. Think Outside The Box And Be Creative

Pinterest has a million 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. When they start to sprout, attach a note to the side that says, “Thanks for helping our mission grow!” Then deliver them to you donors. Not only is this personal, it also gives your donor a lasting memory of you. Down the road, this will encourage them to continue to support you.

4. Email A Video Thank You

All you need is a smartphone with a working camera. 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 and load up the crock pot. 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 Publicly Thank Donors

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

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 downtime. But if you are calling just to say thank you, not to ask for money over the phone, studies have shown donors appreciate the call.

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[…] your event concludes, you’ll need to thank those who attended. Just because your event is over doesn’t mean your work […]

Douglas Searle December 4, 2018 - 6:40 am

Does Aplos donor management make it easy for me to quickly respond to a donation by sending an email to the contributor? How?

Clay Harmon December 10, 2018 - 12:05 pm

Hi Douglas,

Whenever someone donates, Aplos will automatically send them a donation receipt. If you would like to send other emails, such as thank you emails, you’ll be able to use our List Builder feature to build a customized email (we provide templates, or you can build your own). After building the customized email, you will be able to fire it off whenever someone donates. Aplos will warn you when someone has donated too. We hope this answers your question!

Daniel Pontzer September 16, 2019 - 3:19 pm

What if I am taking my donations by check or cash and depositing it myself. So I am also entering the donation manually … is there any way to auto-acknowledge (and set the ack field appropriately) at the time the donation is entered?

Clay Harmon September 25, 2019 - 11:33 am

Hi, Daniel. Are you using Aplos to track your donations? If so, I would recommend emailing or calling our support team, or check our knowledge base at https://www.aplos.com/support/ for any questions you might have.


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