Posted by Kelsey Varisco

Everyone understands the value of a heartfelt thank you, yet expressing gratitude often falls to the backburner when life gets busy. The contributions donors make to your nonprofit are crucial for continuing growth, executing successful events and delivering valuable community programming. Creating a process for giving timely and meaningful thank-yous to all donors is vital to keeping them long-term and communicating the value of investing in your nonprofit. Personalize your thanks by stating directly what the donor has contributed and give concrete examples to show how you plan to use the donation. Celebrate the gift of giving and the seriously transformative power it has on your community.

Here are five ideas for kindly communicating your thanks to donors, small and large.

  1. Create a card. That’s right; time to get out your glue stick, glitter and construction paper. Okay, maybe not, but there is high value in creating a card, whether using a template on your computer or making one by hand. The important part is adding a personal note. Think simple in terms of aesthetics and communicate a clear message of gratitude. Stick with your nonprofit’s specific brand guidelines to maintain a consistent identity. If you feel your creativity withering, support or commission a local artist to create special notecards. Add your own handwritten note of thanks inside and have your team jot down their own personal messages. Make sure your executive director signs as well. Simply put, this effort says “You are worth my time.” Do this for every donor every time, and you will continue to strengthen your relationships.
  2. Put together a welcome package for first-time donors. A welcome package shares basic information about your organization with up-to-date data and pictures. Individuals have so much choice in where they give, so this is an opportunity to confirm they are in the right spot and their gift is making a difference. Pictures and individual stories personalize the transaction, while statistics and easily digestible charts/graphs quantify the great progress you are making. Also, make sure you track who is giving, how often and how much. It is critical to analyze donor retention so you can develop a unique “thank-you action plan” for different levels of giving.
  3. Create a video. Donors do not often have direct contact with staff or individuals your nonprofit serves. Compiling images and showcasing different perspectives illustrates all the positive change happening in your nonprofit. Even just a short video is a great visual way to share success stories, give a face to the people whose lives you touch and introduce donors to staff and community members.
  4. Invite donors in for a tour. Although donors may already know your nonprofit, extending an invitation to check out your recent projects and workspace will help them feel even more connected to your organization. Offer tea or snacks and let donors see firsthand all the hard work you’re doing at your nonprofit. Use this opportunity to invite donors to ask more questions and make connections with other team members.
  5. Plan an event to thank staff, donors and volunteers. You get to decide what this looks like for your nonprofit. Do you want to have a glamorous gala? Are you interested in having a delicious potluck at a local park? Would you all want to get together to volunteer at a community garden? Be vocal with your praise and appreciation at the event and take a moment to recognize this incredible group of people who are devoted to making the world a better place.

Forming relationships with donors and communicating the value of their gift is essential. Firespring creates beautiful websites that make it easy to accept online donations, plan fundraising events and communicate with donors. To learn more about our website tools, call 877.447.8941 or email