The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Get Your Thank Yous on Track for Year-End

After the busy nonprofit year-end giving season comes the often overlooked nonprofit thank you season. Remember to give thanks for donations early and often. Showing constant, authentic appreciation for your donors (new and old) is crucial for retaining supporters.

Download our Complete Donor Thank You Guide and you’ll get thank you tips, a checklist, and a template to help you get started.

Getting your thank you strategy on track now will help you when January rolls around. To help breathe new life into your messages of gratitude, here are ten thank you ideas to inspire you:

  1. Always send a thank you (and tax deductible information) within 48 hours of receiving a donation. Many online giving tools such as Network for Good’s online donation pages automatically generate a donor receipt, but be sure to tailor or add a thank you message to the receipt. Then, follow up with a more personalized thank you as soon as you can. Build the process for this now so that when it comes time to thank December’s donors, you’re ready to roll. Start small, like Collective Action for Safe Spaces. They sent this postcard to me a week after I made my first donation:
    cass postcard
  2. Send a birthday card to donors and remind them that they are important to the work your organization accomplishes. If you aren’t collecting birthday information, consider adding this field to your donation process.
  3. Have your board members personally call donors to say thanks. I’ve done this as board member for my alma mater’s alumni association. Out of the 25 people I called, only one person had ever received a thank you phone call from an organization before.
  4. Ask those who directly benefit from donations to write a handwritten note of thanks. Animal organizations could try letting their clients express their thanks to donors with a special piece of artwork.
  5. Create a YouTube video to thank donors when you reach a campaign goal. An excellent opportunity for this would be a special thank you video after a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. A great example of this are charity: water’s 5th birthday thank you videos.
  6. Have some exciting news to share? Send a special announcement to donors with images and a big bold note to thank them for making the accomplishment possible.
  7. Invite donors to a thank you reception. You’ll not only show your appreciation, but you’ll get face time with your donors and have the opportunity to learn more about why they support your organization. Better yet, invite some of your clients to the reception so they can give a first-hand testimony so donors can see how their dollars make a difference.
  8. Many organizations send thank you cards and year-end appeals during the November/December holiday season. Don’t overlook other holidays as occasions to express your love and thanks. Grassroots Soccer showed their supporters love on Valentine’s Day with an upbeat video.
  9. Dedicate social media shout outs to thank and recognize donors. I love this example that my favorite donor relations expert Lynne Wester shared after she made a gift on #GivingTuesday.twitter-thank-you
  10. Send donors a top ten list of accomplishments for the year to demonstrate how donations make an impact (and then make it clear that without their support, you wouldn’t have a top ten list).

Donors are your organization’s superheroes. Saying thanks and reminding them of their VIP status should be at the top of your to do list this year-end.

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi

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

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