Your donors are key to your success as a nonprofit. They help you work toward achieving your mission thanks to their giving. Now is the perfect time to thank them for all they’ve done to support you and those you serve. Read on for our tips on how to show some donor appreciation this holiday season.
Send donors a note of thanks
Most donors expect to be thanked when they give to your nonprofit. That’s why November is the perfect month for you to show your donors gratitude. With Thanksgiving at the forefront of people’s minds in November, your thank-you messages could be extra touching.
When we say your supporters should be thanked, we mean all of your supporters. Be sure to send a special thank-you letter to everyone who supported you this year. That includes donors, volunteers, board members, and your sponsors. They’ve all given something to advance your mission, and that’s worthy of acknowledgment.
How you choose to say thanks can vary. Here are some creative ways to thank your supporters.
You’ll want to pay extra special attention to your major donors. Not only should they be thanked, but their thanks should be personal and heartfelt to keep them giving. Pull a list of your major donors and instead of sending them a letter, encourage your board or CEO to write a handwritten thank-you note. If you have constituents who are willing to write thank-you notes outlining how donors gifts have helped change their lives, this is even better! Heartfelt messages like these can make a huge difference in your major gifts program.
Host a thank-a-thon
Want to take your gratitude a step further? Host a thank-a-thon! The month of November is a perfect timeline to send a series of messages to supporters expressing your gratitude. These messages of thanks shouldn’t come from just one person. Instead, plan your communications in advance and seek messages of thanks from multiple people involved with your nonprofit.
With a thank-a-thon, you’ll send a series of emails rather than one thank-you communication. Your CEO could send a heartfelt message of thanks as the first email in the series. This email could share their gratitude and what was accomplished thanks to your supporters.
Next, get someone who works directly on your mission to share a message of thanks as well. Their perspective as someone providing a service will be different from someone higher up in the organization. That experience as a direct service provider can tell a truly impactful story.
Another similar email idea is to send a message of thanks from someone who was directly impacted by your nonprofit. A beneficiary of the services you provide can tell their story and how donations helped them. These messages are great motivation for donors to continue giving— even though you’re not asking them to donate during your thank-a-thon!
Your thank-you messages can also be mirrored on social media to reach an even wider audience of supporters whose email addresses you don’t have.
Show your gratitude on social media
As previously mentioned, social media is a great way to reach people whose direct contact information you don’t have. If you want to thank your community, one of the best ways is to use your social media account. These accounts can have a significant reach and it costs nothing to express your gratitude with a graphic, video, or heartfelt message.
Social media platforms are largely supportive of video and graphics. In fact, those posts are the ones that get the most engagement. If your nonprofit wants to use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to thank your supporters in your community, create a graphic or video that your audience will gobble up (get it?).
Share your message of thanks on your social accounts and then encourage your social media ambassadors to share the post so more people involved with your nonprofit can see your message of thanks.
Celebrate your donors and what they’ve accomplished
Who doesn’t want to be rewarded for their good deeds? This last idea does exactly that.
Throw your supporters a party to celebrate them and what they accomplished by donating. We recommend livestreaming a virtual celebration that’s all about your donors. Why? A virtual event can cost you less to put together while still providing valuable recognition to your supporters.
During the event, you want to celebrate your donors as much as possible. You can even mention major gift donors and sponsors by name. Your goal is to honor everyone who made what you accomplished possible. During the event, share how much your nonprofit has raised so far this year and how you’ll use those funds. It also pays to share what you’ve already accomplished thanks to your donors’ support.
But bear in mind that this is a fun and upbeat event and not a board meeting. Have music on in the background and use a warm emcee who makes your donors feel appreciated. After all, that’s the goal of the event.
We hope you’ll use these donor appreciation tips to reach and thank your donors this holiday season. Make sure that your donors feel good about supporting you ahead of the end-of-year giving season to ensure they keep giving in support of your nonprofit.
Want some inspiration for making your supporters feel appreciated? Check out the following resources: