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Grazie. Merci. Obrigado. Gracias. Mahalo. Danke Sehr. Spasiba

Very simply, one of the most important thing you can do for your donors is thank them.

Stewardship should be the core of your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy, as it shows donors tnot only that you appreciate of the gift, but more importantly, that you’ve used it wisely to make an impact in your cause. It’s also a great way to build and cultivate relationships.

When done well, thanking donors can encourage future donations and even further involvement. Donors may want to volunteer their time, or encourage other people around them to donate. By telling their friends and family about your organization, they can influence their communities to get involved in your cause. All because you had a killer stewardship strategy!

You don’t have to spend major bucks or hire extra staff to come up with meaningful gifts, either. Something personal and thoughtful goes a much longer way than something over-the-top. To get started, we’ve come up with a few creative ways to help your organization make a big impact:



Make it Personal


This is probably the most impactful way you can thank your donors. Make it personal. Perhaps you can include a small, handwritten thank you card in your letter, or a personalized comment on your thank you email. Does your organization deal with kids or directly with people? Maybe you can get some of them to sign or draw pictures to include. If it’s personalized, it’s more likely they’ll not only read it, but also remember you.


Describe How their Gift is Being Used


If a donor is giving you funding, it’s because they believe in, and want to support your mission. One of the most effective ways to thank them is by including a brief description of how their donation is being used. You can include statistics or data, or you can make it more general by describing the program. For example, if your organization deals with animals, you can include the number of supplies or animals helped directly by their donation. Be creative, but be specific. Seeing results can encourage donors to continue to give, and prompt them to even share your organization with their friends.


Invite Them to an Event


Invite some of your donors (you can filter by members, or donors who give large amounts yearly, etc…) to attend, and see their donations at work. You can throw a yearly membership dinner or invite them to a fundraising event. Let them see first-hand your organization's impact via their support.


Make a Video


Creating an original video is a terrific way of expressing your gratitude! It’s interactive, and can be as long or short as you want it to be. You can even have multiple videos to share depending on the gift amount, or donation anniversary. You can include some behind-the-scenes footage of volunteers at work, beneficiaries, events, accomplishments and goals met, personal thank-you’s from members in the organization, etc… It’s really up to you!


Use the Phone


Before social media, computers, and email, we used phones to communicate, and it’s still considered one of the most personal ways to contact someone. Giving a donor a brief call just to say thank you can go far. Can you remember the last time someone called you just to say thank you, instead of posting to your Facebook wall? Imagine how you would feel. This simple, but effective gesture can fit any budget, and can be made from almost anywhere.


Tag Them on Social Media


With 78% of the population on some social media platform, you can bet there’s a good chance your donor is too! Tagging them in a Thank-You post not only shows them you appreciate it, it’s also a way of involving your community. You’ve just thanked them publically, and you didn’t need to throw an event in order to do it. It’s a happy bonus for your donor, because his or her friends and associates will now also see that:

1. Your donor is a generous person

2. They see your organization

So next time you call or write a card to thank your donor, ask them if you can share their generosity on social media. I doubt they’d turn you down!


Feature Them on Your Website


Going along with the social media option above, you can also thank donors via your website. You can include a Donors Page, where you can add donor’s names or highlight donors in a Donor Leaderboard. You can include their photos, and let them know how much the donation means to your organization. You can also have a more general option, where you create an automatic Thank You page that appears after a donation is made, and include a video on where the donation goes, who benefits from it, the impact, your accomplishments, etc.


Celebrate them Annually!


Send a hand-written anniversary card to recognize donor loyalty a year after they make their first donation. Have your director sign it, and include photos, impacts, and a brief description of how you’ve used their donation. It’s a great way to recognize them, show them you still remember their donation, and remind them of your organization. Don’t ask for more donations though! In addition, send personalized cards for every year, 5 year, 10 year, and 20 year anniversary! Include multi-platform approach, and thank them on your website or social media too!



Fundraising for your organization really boils down to two sources: new donors, and existing donors. Recognizing them, thanking them, and showing them you care, really goes a long way in continuing to grow your donor community, and retain your current donors. Remember, thanking your donors should highlight them as the hero, not you, and not your organization. Every single donor, regardless of the amount, should have a relationship with you, and know they are valued for their donation. If you continue to treat your donors with gratitude, they will keep coming back for years to come!


I hope you find this post useful!


All my love,