Top 3 Tips for Thanking Your Donors
WRITTEN BY COREY BLAKE
The holiday season provides nonprofits with the perfect reason to reach out to donors and constituents with a message of gratitude. Thank you communications are vitally important and, all too often, are one of the first to be dropped when an organization is stretched thin. While they may feel like a mere nicety, messages like these cultivate your relationship with donors and will stay with them long term.
In fact, seven out of ten people say they remember a thank you letter from an organization more than they remember an appeal or ask.
Thank you messages attached to automated email receipts can go a long way for immediate response, but don’t let it stop there. Why not use year’s end as a chance to reach back out to your donors and remind them of the difference they made. This creates goodwill and opens the door for them to consider making a future gift.
Here are 3 tips to craft the perfect thank you so you can create deeper connections with donors and inspire more giving.
1. The Donor Did It
Start by directly connecting your donor to the results of your organization’s efforts. After all, you couldn’t accomplish any of it without them.
For example: “Your gift helped provide 10 new students with a scholarship that sets them up for post-college success.”
Notice that your organization isn’t mentioned when describing their impact. The shorter the distance from the donor and the results, the more emotionally rewarding it is for them, and therefore more likely they’ll want to recreate that good feeling.
2. Storytelling is Key
We say this a lot because it’s true. Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to motivate people to give. But the story doesn’t end with their donation. Keep communicating your mission and impact in order to continue the donor’s journey toward their next chance to donate.
When thanking your donors, look for opportunities to feature a beneficiary with a success story. Donors want to hear the happy ending, especially if they know their individual contribution is going to help create more of them. This heartwarming approach is what helps your thank you stand out and keeps your organization in the forefront of a donor’s mind.
3. Share Your Thanks Everywhere
Every channel you use to communicate is up for grabs when it comes to gratitude. Sending thank you notes by direct mail and email should be only the beginning. Your donors are also on social media. So, post a thank you video, or spotlight a donor and tag them. If resources are thin, you can repurpose the content of the direct mail or email into a post on Facebook or Instagram, and include a moving picture.
Thanking on social media makes your message shareable, helping to further spread awareness of your organization and its work. This also shares the personality of your organization, drawing people in to join your cause and be recognized too.
Holding a Thank-A-Thon can be a fun, unique way to really lean into gratitude. Use your board and volunteers to make phone calls thanking your donors. Some recipients might even be so touched, they’ll want to make another gift. You can even create a virtual event by live streaming with a service like Facebook Live.
In-person events are another great way to show donors how much you appreciate them. Try inviting beneficiaries to attend. Allowing donors and beneficiaries to connect in-person will deepen the emotional impact of donating.
And of course, don’t forget text messages! Receiving a simple text message of thanks is an easy way to bring a smile to your donor’s face. You can link to content you’ve created on other channels, such as a thank you video on YouTube or a Facebook post, to make sure they see it. These small reminders of appreciation are the building blocks of meaningful donor relationships.
However you choose to thank your donors this year, keep it sincere and heartfelt, and be sure to save the ask for another day. Remember: Year-End Giving is right around the corner, so you’ll get plenty of chances to ask for gifts later. This time around, send a message that is purely meant to make your donors feel truly appreciated.
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