9 Ways to Thank Donors Creatively and Quickly

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9 Ways to Thank Donors Creatively and Quickly


TLDR: Thank donors immediately and through multiple means.

Thank donors personally, quickly, often & you'll be thanking yourself in the end. Click To Tweet


Often times raising the money is the big priority. So all activities are focused on getting the funds “in.” And thanking donors gets a back seat. Since there is no tangible immediate feedback (or penalty) felt after sending thank you notes and making thank you call, it is easy to think that it is a priority but not urgent. Many organizations “batch” their activities for donor communications in general to make it easier on the communications team of the organization. This includes sending thank you notes after donations are received. Sometimes teams will wait till after a fundraising campaign is over before getting the “obligatory”notes out in the mail.  Some don’t do anything extra being the tax receipt.  But this is a major no-no!


By delaying your personalized thank you, it misses the opportunity to show genuine gratitude.

You also loose chance of a 2nd gift or referral during the campaign if you wait till the end. One way to remember this best practice? Always Thank Before You Bank!

If you think that this prescription is trivial, think again.


Here’s one example that shows in black and white how impactful a prompt thank you can be:

  • Donors received a phone call from a board member within 24 hours of their donation.
  • The same donors gave 39% more than the “non-thanked” donors who did not receive a thank you call within 24 hours of their original gift.
  • And then…After 14 months, that same thanked group were giving 42% more over the “non-thanked” group.

As you can see I am not talking about a trivial couple of percentage points of difference.

Personal thank you call for donations
Personal phone calls are the best option if you can arrange them. They can raise donor rates by 400%!

Personal calling seem intrusive to most people on the outbound calling side, but the truth is:

You can never thank a donor too much or too many times. Gratitude works. Click To Tweet

How else can you thank donors? There are so many ways!

9 ways to thank donors


  • Thank a donor a day on your social media channels. Make them the hero of your social streams!
  • Publish their name or someone they want to memorialize in your newsletter or better yet, website. Dedicate a page to listing all donors that have participated at any level. People love seeing their name listed as recognition of their decision to support you.
  • Record personal webcam or stand-up talking head videos mentioning donor names. Even if you have 20,000 donors, you can still do it.
  • Host a donor appreciation event locally and let everyone know, regardless of geography, that they are invited.
  • Hold an open house just for donors to let them meet the key leaders and teams that make the impact and transformation that your organization is dedicated to happen.
  • Take out an ad in the local paper or magazine and list all donors.
  • Send out a survey thanking donors and asking them for input on some key things you are willing to change up in your organization’s workflow, communications and programming. Take the suggestions to heart and make sure to announce any donor-suggested improvements you are putting into action.
  • Interview donors via Skype and publish each one to be a part of a YouTube playlist. Getting them to tell their story and publishing it will build stronger affinity, pride in being associated with your cause and publicly recognize their importance to your organization. Also – Having a list of on-going, never-ending playlist of video clips of donor interviews talking about why they give and what they love about the organizational mission is the perfect social proof to get others to donate during your next campaign.
  • Send first donation gift anniversary cards. Let them know you remember when their first gift was and how critical the gift no matter how large or small is to your mission.

What are some other ways to thank donors?

Kenny Jahng is a content marketing advisor and communications strategist who helps nonprofit, cause-driven and faith-based organizations / churches. You can connect with Kenny on Twitter @kennyjahng

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