Posted by Lisa Thompson


A little gratitude can go a long way in securing loyal donors. How good is your organization at saying thank you? Especially with larger donors, a sincere show of appreciation can translate into a significant investment in your future fundraising efforts.

Here are 10 creative ways to say thanks to your most generous supporters.

  1. Skip the generic thank-you letter and send a card.

    The best thank-you is friendly, warm and personal, albeit short and succinct. No need to write a lengthy love letter, but a few handwritten words of appreciation will go far to show your best donors that you value them.

  2. Add an invitation to something that doesn’t involve another donation.

    Invite them to your next event, offer a behind-the-scenes tour or maybe plan a special “meet and greet” for your most loyal supporters—all without asking them to reach for their wallet.

  3. Record a video message.

    Create a video thank-you message and email it or post it on your website, YouTube, your blog, even your social media pages. Don’t worry about getting fancy. It’s actually most effective to use create something casual and personable, and you can easily do that with your phone’s camera.

  4. Send a picture postcard from your staff.

    Several digital photo apps let you turn your photos into instant postcards (see Postagram or Touchnote, for example). You could easily take some candid shots of your staff at work during the day and turn these into postcards with a short thank-you message written on the back.

  5. Send your largest donors a special gift.

    Their birthday, the holiday season, their anniversary with your organization—these are all perfect times to give back to your best donors with a small gift, like a book, a calendar or a framed picture of your organization in action. Don’t stress too much about what to give. It’s the gesture of appreciation that will matter the most.

  6. Invite them to a year-end party

    This could be as simple as a wine and cheese get-together at your board president’s house or coffee and dessert in a private room at a local restaurant. Developing this informal community will build a sense of loyalty and partnership between you and your donors, plus you can also use these opportunities to look for potential board members.

  7. Create a tier system of recognition.

    If you haven’t done so already, set up donation tiers and assign titles to donors at different levels. Think of these tiers as a social status of sorts. Then you can plan recognition events for donors at the higher levels. This will allow you to bring your most passionate and generous donors together to make new connections and build relationships.

  8. Create a donor spotlight.

    Highlight specific donors (weekly, monthly, etc.) on your website’s homepage, blog or e-newsletter. Share the story of their relationship with your organization, introduce them to your audience and talk about the impact they’ve had on your nonprofit and how they’ve helped you further your cause. Public recognition is a nice way to say thanks, plus it may inspire others to step up their support to the next level.

  9. Say thank you via social media.

    You can give a shout-out in a tweet, post a photo on Instagram, say thank you on your Facebook page or publically recognize someone on LinkedIn—if your donor is approving of the idea, social media is a great place to highlight their “above and beyond” efforts and publically express your appreciation.

  10. Offer a behind-the-scenes look at your nonprofit.

    Say thank you by inviting your biggest donors to get to know your organization on a more personal and intimate level by offering a behind-the-scenes look at your organization with a tour, lunch and learn program or something similar. You could invite them to a board meeting, a staff dinner or even to play a special role at one of your events. An up-close-and-personal experience is a great way to not only show appreciation, but deepen your relationships with these important donors.

Of course, one of your most important engagement tools for all your constituents, regardless of donor tier, is your website. It’s the place where you can communicate thanks, feature new projects, host your blog, tell your story and explain your mission to everyone interested in your cause. Learn more about how Firespring can help you enrich both your online presence and your donor relationships.


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