As an essential part of your team, donors deserve meaningful thank yous. All nonprofits know the importance of saying thank you, but often this acknowledgment is limited to a letter or email sent at the time a gift is received. Then the contact stops until the next appeal. But periodic expressions of your gratitude can do so much to build the relationship between your organization and your donors; especially when they’re thoughtful and unexpected. Use these ten ideas to spark your creativity and generate new ways to say thank you to your donors.
1) A Welcome Packet
A welcome packet is a wonderful way to greet new donors. Along with your thank you letter, you can include photos of your team, projects, or the community you serve. Share an impact story that illustrates the good the donor’s gift will create. Or even add a small token of appreciation. Welcome packets say thank you in a memorable way and simultaneously provide more information about your work and mission.
2) Birthday Cards
Everyone enjoys receiving birthday cards. People like to be remembered, and birthday cards communicate that someone cared enough to send a cheerful note. Sending well-wishes for the upcoming year shows donors how much your organization appreciates them.
3) Donation Anniversary Cards
A card sent on the anniversary of a particularly large donation or on the anniversary of when the donor first joined your monthly giving program creates a sense of family and partnership. Anniversary cards make donors feel like a true part of your team.
4) Social Media Shout-Outs
Post a special message, photo, or video on your social channels and tag a donor. Shout-outs are fun, create a sense of excitement, and encourage others to join in. They also promote peer-to-peer sharing, vastly extending your outreach. Share what motivated the donor to give and highlight the program or project they’re supporting. This type of thank you is ideal for donors who like public recognition.
5) Donor Profiles in Newsletters
Donor profiles are a great way to tell your donors’ stories and share the journeys that led them to be passionate about your mission. Profiles make donors feel honored and valued. And other donors will be inspired by their fellow supporters .
6) Personal Thank You Videos
Record short videos right from your phone or computer to communicate with donors and volunteers. Authentic, personal video messages build strong donor relationships. In fact, we’ve found that thanking donors with our video messages leads to 50% more repeat donations compared with emails. It’s why built-in video capabilities are one of our favorite parts of our all-in-one fundraising software.
7) Handwritten Notes From Those You Serve
A handwritten note from someone in the community you serve will be appreciated like no other form of thank you. These thank yous create a lasting impact because of their personalization. It also gives those who benefit from your work a chance to show their appreciation directly to your donors. Many donors keep handwritten notes for years.
8) Thank You Party
While formal galas can be cost-prohibitive for smaller organizations, an informal thank you party can be just as significant. Get creative with your theme, plan coordinating activities, and purchase on-theme snacks. Or partner with a local coffee shop or restaurant to host a meet-and-greet happy hour. Many businesses will be happy to have the patronage and offer a discount on beverages or appetizers. Parties are the perfect way for donors to meet one another, share their enthusiasm for the work you’re doing together, and make new friends.
9) Meet-the-Team Event
Meeting your team in person will help create a strong bond between your donors and your organization. An informal coffee, picnic, or even something as simple as a tour of your office will give donors a valued opportunity to meet you face-to-face. Meet-the-team events are a perfect way to thank long-term regular donors or major donors.
10) Project Photo Book
A project photo book is another impactful idea for donors. This type of thank you can take the form of a scrapbook or a printed book like those that Shutterfly produces. Include images of the project as it developed and share photos of the people or animals who benefitted. Photo books inspire donors and encourage them to continue their partnership with your organization.
Expressing gratitude doesn’t have to cost a lot—even a simple handwritten thank you note will mean much to your donors. The key is to make your thank-yous meaningful and frequent enough so that donors know how valued they are.
Read our 10 Creative Ways to Thank Donors guide to learn what makes a thank you meaningful to a donor, what to avoid in a thank you, and when to say thank you.