When it's time to brainstorm ideas on how to increase revenue in a nonprofit, the focus is on the various fundraising methods at your disposal. But always remember this—if fundraising is the most important activity to the sustainability of your organization, then thanking donors is the second most important. Because as experience has indicated, gratitude is probably the best and easiest way to ensure the continued support of your donors.
The case for thanking donors isn't just about good manners—science supports it. Research has made it clear that most large gifts are made after five years of giving. Since thanking donors is crucial to retaining them, it means it's also the only way to get those large gifts.
And when asked why they stopped giving, not getting acknowledgement for the donation came up as one of the reasons. Also, you have to remember that retaining donors for the long term means you will increase their lifetime value.
In this article, you will discover the seven best ways to thank your donors, partners, and well-wishers. The best part with most of these is that they are cost-effective.
7 ways to thank your donors
1. Send personalized emails or handwritten notes
Almost every nonprofit sends thank you emails soon after a donation is made. However, the problem with such emails is they feel like a courtesy. So, personalizing them is a great way to ensure they stand out.
You need to go beyond just having their name or donation amount in the email. If you have good CRM software, you should be able to see every interaction you have had with the donor. Some information you can have in your donor database could include their interests, event attendances, participation in advocacy campaigns, major gifts they have made, recurring donations, volunteer involvement, etc. – all of which can help you craft a meaningful gratitude note.
And if you want to go the extra mile, you can turn the email into a handwritten note. Most people hold on to such notes because they are unique in a digital world.
2. Send social media shout-outs
One of the best ways to get your donors to give more, and to show them that you truly appreciate them, is to thank them publicly. This could even motivate community members and supporters to become donors. You can have a video or a written post mentioning the donor by name, and what they have done to deserve your appreciation.
Before doing this, ask for permission from the donor, and allow them to send you their photo or video. Also, it would be nice to include a testimonial about why they believe in your cause.