The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

What Kind of Donor Gets a Thank You?

Pop quiz: Who should receive a thank you?
a. A recurring donor who gives $15 a month.
b. A major donor who gives a $10,000 gift.
c. A first-time donor who gives a $50 gift.
d. A regular donor who gives a gift to a special campaign like #GivingTuesday.
e. A new donor acquired through a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
f. All donors.
If you answered “f,” you’re right! Every donor should be thanked for their gift. The type of thank you will vary, but no matter the size of the gift or where it came from, every donor should get a thank you.

“Should I send multiple thank you messages to a recurring giver?”
Have you ever heard of anyone getting mad for receiving too much gratitude? Not very often. Recurring donors are a special group of supporters who love your cause enough to give you a financial commitment on a consistent basis. You should thank these donors as often as you see fit. If that’s an email every quarter, go for it. But listen to donors’ preferences. If a donor provides helpful feedback that the frequency of communication they are receiving is too much (or too little), take it to heart and respect their input.

“Is a thank you note enough for a major donor?” A thank you note is just the first step in your donor relations strategy. In addition to a thank you note, major donors should receive an appropriate level of recognition for CASS Emailtheir gift (or the option to remain anonymous), engagement with your organization, and updates on how their gift is used. Depending on who the donor is and what the funds will be used for, the thank you should come from your executive director or board director. We aren’t discussing the importance of a phone call as a thank you in this post, but this would be the perfect opportunity for the development director to pick up the phone and chat with a generous donor.

“Can the receipt serve as the thank you for a first-time donor? I doubt I’ll see them again.” It’s an unfortunate but true reality: Most first-time donors won’t return to make a second gift. But with a sound donor relations strategy that starts off with a stellar message of thanks, you could turn this one-time donor into a loyal supporter who gives year after year!

“Is it awkward to send another thank you to someone who gave to a specific campaign?” Most definitely not! In this case, your thank you message should focus on how the donor was part of the campaign’s success. If the campaign is ongoing, thank them soon after the gift was made, and then send a second note of thanks to update donors on the campaign’s success. Check out this great #GivingTuesday thank you from Collective Action for Safe Spaces. Did you notice how many times the word “you” was used in this thank you message? This is an excellent example of what a donor-centric, campaign-specific thank you message should look like.

“Shouldn’t it be the responsibility of the peer fundraiser to thank those who gave to their campaign?” Sure, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t too. These donors gave to you because a friend asked not necessarily because they are super educated about your nonprofit. How can you show your appreciation, encourage them to stay connected to your organization, and educate them on what your nonprofit does? The best way to keep these new donors engaged is to start off the relationship right with some gratitude.

Want more tips on donor thank yous? Download our newest eGuide: The Complete Donor Thank You Guide

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About This Blog
Caryn Stein hi res

Caryn Stein
Vice President, Communications and Content, Network for Good

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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