One Gift Your Donors Need (that You Probably Haven’t Thought About)

Donor Acquisition and Retention

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When I was a kid, people always joked about how terrible it would be to get socks as a Christmas present. But, now that I am an adult, I would love to get socks for Christmas. They’re not glamorous, they’re not sparkly, they’re not something that will necessarily make me totally giddy. But they’re practical, useful, and make my life a little better.

At the end of the year, you’re probably thinking about what “gifts” you can give your donors. You can send them beautiful holiday cards or invite them to a New Year’s gala. You can share amazing stories of how they’ve made a difference over the past year or ideas for how to make an impact in the New Year. But you probably haven’t thought about sending them something practical… like a donor summary.

Donor summaries are like socks. They’re not glamorous or sparkly or particularly delightful. But they’re practical, useful, and can make your donors’ lives a little better.

Here’s why (and how) you can send them this special gift during the holiday season.

Wait, What’s a Donor Summary?

A donor summary is a record of all gifts a donor has given your nonprofit over a particular time period. They’re typically a no-frills kind of document. Donor summaries contain a list of the transaction amounts, type of donation, payment method, and date of each gift your donor made.

Usually, donor summaries are accompanied by a friendly email thanking them for their contributions. The email is a great opportunity to offset the transactional nature of the donor summary by showing donors how they’ve made a positive difference in your community.

Why Should I Send Donors a Summary of Their Gifts?

Two words: tax season.

Nobody’s thinking about tax season during the holidays, but it’s coming! As donors wrap up (get it? Ha!) their end-of-year giving, they’ll want to have the details of their gifts handy when they prepare their tax returns the following year. This is particularly important to people who itemize their tax returns and/or make large end-of-year gifts.

We Already Send Receipts — Why Should We Send Summaries, Too?

If your donors are anything like me, they’ve got a ton of receipts in their email inbox. Or they’ve got a pile of junk mail that’s been slowly accumulating on top of their microwave. Or they’ve got a bunch of wrinkled receipts gathering at the bottom of their purse.

However your donors collect their receipts, odds are that they’re not terribly easy to find. Sending a summary of all of a donor’s transactions saves them the hassle of trying to dig up months-old receipts from the recesses of their inboxes.

Plus, sending donor summaries is a subtle reminder to donors that you’re thinking of them and are taking steps to make their lives easier. You’re proactively providing information they’ll need in the future without being asked… that’s a lovely thing!

How Do I Make Donor Summaries a Little Less Transactional?

Let’s be honest: there’s nothing particularly romantic about sending donor summaries. They’re transaction lists.

That doesn’t mean your presentation can’t be special! Make the most of your donor summaries by spending a little time really polishing the email that will accompany them. Write a heartfelt, personal “thank you” message to your donors. Include a sweet photo. Add a holiday greeting and wish them a happy new year. Tell them they’ve made a difference. Show them how they’re helping. Get them excited about working with you in the new year.

Your donor summaries won’t be the most thrilling document your donors will receive this holiday season… but the email you send along with them can be!

Psst… Hey Qgiv Clients

Want to send donor summaries to your supporters this year? You can! Click here for an article in our Help Desk that provides step-by-step instructions on how to create and send your donor summaries. If you get stuck, our support team is always here to help.


Want to knock your donors’ socks off this year? Show them you’re thinking of them my proactively sending them a summary of the gifts they’ve made this year. Not only will it help them come tax season, it’s also an opportunity to get donors excited about partnering with you in the upcoming year. Donor summaries might sound too practical to seem like a “gift,” but they’ll make a big impression on the people who support you every day!

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