30 Ways to Thank Your Donors
Any day is a great time to say thank you to your donors. But the season of Thanksgiving is an especially nice opportunity to show your appreciation for their support. Thanking your donors helps to strengthen relationships with them, and the bonus is that it encourages donor retention. Having a donor-centered culture establishes trust and encourages donors to continue to support your mission.
Here’s a list of 30 ways to show donors that you are grateful for their support.
1. Give a Framed Photo
Sharing a photo that helps the donor visualize how their money had an impact goes a long way toward expressing your gratitude and inspiring them to donate again.
2. Give Branded Merchandise
Giving your donor a gift that includes the brand or mission of your organization shows them how much you appreciate them. The right item will also serve as a reminder of your organization as they go about their daily lives.
3. Frame a Certificate of Appreciation
Sometimes it’s the simple acts of gratitude that the donor appreciates. Framing a Certificate of Appreciation acknowledges your thoughtfulness and gives them a memento that they can display.
4. Create a Custom GIF
Head over to Giphy.com and make an animated, personalized GIF for each of your donors. A GIF brings images to life, and it can have a profound emotional impact and a simple way to express your gratitude.
5. Invite them for a “Day in the Life”
A fantastic way to thank your benefactors is to show them how you and your team work together to create a difference in the lives of those you serve. Invite them to join you as you are actually helping others. Allow them to witness firsthand your accomplishments and challenges that you manage while demonstrating how their donations help you carry out your mission.
6. Host an Annual Donor Awards program
Organize an event solely for the aim of honoring and thanking your donors. This can be as formal or as informal as you like, and as large or as small as you like, but holding an event to thank your donors can do wonders for your relationship with them. You can present more traditional awards like “Donor of the Year” or you can come up with more unique names that relate to your nonprofit’s mission.
7. Create a Donor Appreciation Wall
A donor appreciation wall at your office honors donors that support your mission while also telling the story of your organization’s mission. The wall creates a meaningful acknowledgment of your donors while also causing supporters to feel deeply connected to your cause and organization.
8. Offer Discounts or Specials
Consider giving your donors discounts or other specials that you are gifted from other businesses. I once gave donors a free hotel night that was gifted by a hotel where I hosted most of our nonprofit’s events.
9. Plant a Tree in the Donors Honor
Host a tree-planting ceremony in dedication to all your donors. Document this lasting experience with pictures and video. Share with your donors, on your websites, and also across your social media platforms.
10. Commission Custom Art
Have an artist create a unique piece of artwork or print your logo and mission statement on a small canvas as a token of your gratitude.
11. Create a Special Newsletter Edition
Create a special edition or either a special section in your organization’s newsletter to honor your donors. Share their story, how they engage with your nonprofit, and the influence their contributions have on the organization and its mission.
12. Create a Handmade Gift
How well do you know your donors? Some people prefer handmade gift items. If so, get crafty and make small gifts you think they would appreciate. Not a creative? Call on volunteers or check out Etsy.com and pick a seller that creates handmade custom items.
13. Host a Special Donor Appreciation Event
Host an event or program specifically dedicated to acknowledging your appreciation of donors. Consider a virtual event that will save costs while allowing you to engage with the most donors at once.
14. Create a Song or Dance in the Donors Honor
With the popularity of TikTok and IG Reels, you would be surprised at just how many of your donors enjoy watching the dancing and singing antics that have become so popular. Join in the fun and create a song or special dance to thank your donors. Gather your staff, volunteers, or service recipients to join in, press record, and send it their way.
15. Send a Donorversary Card
Anniversaries are an excellent opportunity to express gratitude to your donors. It distinguishes them and makes them feel special by expressing your awareness and appreciation for their involvement and support of the organization.
One year after a contributor makes their initial donation, have the CEO or Board Chair send them a personalized anniversary card. Consider sending something additional to the card to commemorate other significant milestones in a donor’s lifetime connection with your nonprofit, such as their 5, 10, 15, and 20 year anniversaries.
16. Send a Thank you Letter
Sending a donor thank you note is one of the simplest ways to thank and recognize your donors for their contributions. It is critical that you send this letter no later than two days after receiving a donation. The longer you wait, the less genuine your gratitude may appear.
17. Send a Post Card
Taking pictures of your organization in action and turning them into a postcard is a great way to show your donor’s investment in action. Try digital photo apps like Postagram, Touchnote, or Canva to turn your pictures into personalized postcards.
18. Create a Photo Memory Book
Creating a memory book full of photos, notes, letters, and other related collateral items that illustrate the impact your donor has made on those you serve is a great way to help donors visualize where their money went. You can choose to have the book bound with companies like Shutterfly or Picaboo, or buy a photo album or scrapbook and customize it with your branding. Most importantly, this book will provide physical documentation of how their funds were used: it will be visible, tactile, and shareable.
19. Create a Gratitude Campaign
Gratitude campaigns can be an energizing way to recognize and appreciate your donors. Campaigns can last a week or a month, and they don’t have to be elaborate or complicated; they just have to be real and imaginative, without soliciting funds. The campaign should draw attention to both your donor and the work of your organization.
20. Give Donors a Phone Call
A one-on-one phone chat is a straightforward but effective way of donor acknowledgment. While a phone conversation is not the quickest mode of communication, the genuine connection that can be established through a phone call is well worth the additional time and effort.
21. Go LIVE on Social Media Platform
Show your appreciation on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or whatever medium your donors choose. Going LIVE is a terrific way to draw attention to your supporters while expressing gratitude for their support.
22. Post a Special Thank You on Social Media
Post a special message and tag your donor across your organization’s social media platforms. Include in your message a brief statement of the impact the donors are making in the lives of others. Sharing that post will promote your mission while also highlighting your dedicated supporters to those outside your donor network.
23. Host a Thank-a Thon
Pick a day and time and host a Thank-a-Thon for your donors. Invite board members and volunteers to make phone calls and personally thank them for their support. Because phone conversations are personal, they help foster trust between your nonprofit and a donor. The time spent on the phone also helps you to get to know the contributor better by asking them for their thoughts on various areas of your organization.
24. Host an Office Tour
Host an office tour for your donors. Many of your donors will appreciate the chance to meet your team, get to know them, spend some quality time together, and strengthen your donor/team relationship. Make it a day of enjoyment by providing refreshments and allowing donations to interact with other members of the organization, learning different viewpoints and stories.
25. Create a Thank You Video
Video has taken over our digital world. Create an appreciation video that is engaging and recognizes your donors. Acknowledge their generosity and illustrate a story that shares what their contribution means to both your organization and the work you do each day.
26. Share Thank You Notes from Recipients
Encourage those who use your nonprofit’s services to assist you with donor appreciation by writing messages, crafting homemade cards, or creating artwork. Present these to your donor in a basket or goodie bag.
27. Post a Thank You on your Website
Your website is an excellent place to showcase public appreciation about and for your donors. You can develop a section on your website that specifically acknowledges the commitment of all your donors and share why you value their support.
28. Recognize them in the Annual Report
Annual reports on budgeting, services, and impact are commonplace among organizations and charities. Show your appreciation to your donors by including a section of special recognition in this widely disseminated report.
29. Handwritten Notes
In this day and age, the one thing that will set your nonprofit apart is a handwritten note thanking a donor for a specific way they are supporting your organization. These notes express sincere gratitude and have an impact. A handwritten message is more likely to be kept by a donor, and reading about the impact of their contribution can inspire continuous support.
30. Send a Welcome Packet
Welcome packets are an excellent opportunity to express gratitude while also sharing further inspirational information about the work your organization accomplishes with the assistance of supporters. Send a welcome packet to your first-time donors. This packet is your unique way to say thank you and welcome them to your nonprofit. It should educate them about your company while also demonstrating that you care about their decision to invest in your mission.