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5 Fresh Donor Acknowledgement Ideas to Thank Donors at Every Level

Thanks to Sandy Rees of Get Fully Funded for this fantastic guest post!

Thanking donors is more than just being nice. It completes the act of giving and prepares the donor to think about the next gift. Unfortunately, most donor ‘thank yous’ are stale and boring. The last thing you want is to put a donor to sleep while you’re trying to thank her! So, start with a power-packed thank-you letter. Then make your donor’s experience unforgettable with creative touches that warm your donor’s heart and soul.

Five Fresh Donor Acknowledgement Ideas to Thank Donors at Every Level

Here are 5 fresh ideas for thanking donors at every level that take donor acknowledgement to a whole new level.

  1. Hero call. Think of this as a thank-you call on steroids. This call can come from staff, but it’s way more powerful if it comes from a Board member. The purpose of the call is to thank they donor, then share with them how their donation is making a difference. In other words, make them the hero. Share how they’ve helped change lives. Make them feel really good about giving to your nonprofit. They’ll hang up feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, and that’s exactly what you want.
  2. Story update. In your appeals, you probably tell a story about someone your nonprofit has helped. Want to wow your donors? Send them an update 30 days later with the rest of the story. Tell them what has happened since they gave. Share any measurable change. Share photos or video. You’ll leave the donor feeling super good about giving to you, and that story update will give them a sense of completion with that donation, preparing the way for the next one.
  3. Thank-you video. Video is HOT right now and a powerful way to thank a donor. Shoot a simple video saying thank you to your donor. It could be you or one of your volunteers, or all of your team saying thanks to the donor. Because of the popularity of YouTube, this kind of video doesn’t have to be professionally done or highly produced. In fact, you can shoot it with your smart phone! Keep it short (literally a minute or two is fine) and concise so it keeps the donor’s attention. Add hot sauce by calling the donor by name in the video. They’ll know you shot the video just for them.
  4. In their own words. Nothing is more powerful than being thanked by the person who is benefiting from the nonprofit’s programs. So, ask program participants to write a thank-you note or capture them in a video, thanking the donor in their own words. Often, service recipients can express their gratitude in an authentic, profound way. Work with animals? Use large note cards next to the animal to express thanks. Serve kids? Crayon drawings will melt a donor’s heart.
  5. Meet & greet. Donors won’t usually come out for an acknowledgement event, but they might attend a gathering where they get to meet the ones you serve. This type of event has to be carefully planned and executed, but just imagine gathering some of your donors in the same room with those using your nonprofit’s services. Chances are good donors will leave feeling really proud that they support your good work.

What else? Get creative. Think about what might be meaningful to you if you were a donor. Give to other nonprofits and see what lights you up.

The better job you can do of thanking donors and making them feel good about giving to you, the more likely they are to give again and give bigger.


Sandy Rees Get Fully FundedSandy Rees is the Chief Encouragement Officer at Get Fully Funded, where she shows small nonprofits how to make fundraising easier and more predictable. Get more info at www.GetFullyFunded.com.