Jitasa Nonprofit Blog

Be Grateful for Your Donors, Say Thank You

Thanksgiving and the yearly focus on gratefulness are just around the corner, making this the perfect time to remind your donors how much you appreciate them.

You thank your waiter for bringing you water, your grandmother for sending you 20 bucks in birthday money, your doctor for their time, even though you’re paying for it…why wouldn’t you thank someone who has contributed to your organization? Yet, of the 500 dollars I’ve donated to varying organizations throughout 2014, I have not received a single personalized thank you. Not one. Personalized of course is the key word here, I have received a receipt that can be used for tax purposes, but that hardly inspires me to contribute in the future. As Laura from Parrish Consulting states “Many non-profits treat thank you letters as a quick close to a transaction that needs a receipt and some tax deduction info, rather than laying the groundwork for your next ask. And that’s exactly what you’re doing; because you’re most likely next gift is from whoever gave your last gift.”

Would I have been more likely to donate to an organization a second time if I had received a personalized thank you? You bet. I donated in the first place because your mission resonated with me, I cared about the outcome of it. However, never receiving a thank you or an update on how you’re doing, how my funds were used, or what else has happened within your organization, I quickly forgot about you and your mission…moving on to something else that inspired my giving.

Donors understand that organizations are strapped for time, money, and resources. However, a sincere thank you can go a long way. Kivi Leroux Miller states, “Donors want something quite simple: a prompt, meaningful thank you letter and additional communication that explains how the donation was used. That's it. Eighty percent of donors say that would convince them to make [a] second gift.” When you consider that a simple thank you could help you retain 80% of donors it’s a no brainer. Below are 9 quick tips and ideas to help get you started.

1.Send out your personalized thank you promptly (within 48 hours is recommended)

2.Begin the personalization straight away
a.Forget the boring introduction. Instead open with something along the lines of “you’re the best” or “welcome to the family” ingratiating a donor can have amazing effects.
3.Consider hand writing the note as it will be far more personal

4.Include a unique touch. For example if your organization works with kids you could include hand drawings, funny quotes, or pictures of events.

5.It doesn’t have to be a card—you could use the phone and thank someone like it’s 1999, or give them a shoutout on social media.

6.Thank them more than once, for example you could:
a.Send a yearly Thanksgiving card about what you are grateful for—your donors
b.Send a holiday greetings card
c.Record an end of year thank you featuring people you’ve helped (could be a video or audio recording)
d.Send a birthday card to donors with a personal touch
7.It’s okay to brag. Donors want to hear how well you’re doing! Keep them updated throughout the year and remind them of your existence by:
a.Making an end of year video detailing the accomplishments donor money helped you achieve and email the link
b.Sharing big news throughout the year via email or mail
8.Include Donors. Use this opportunity to make donors feel like part of your mission by inviting them to volunteer or visit you onsite.

9.Tell a story. However you thank or include your donors throughout the year, remember that they are passionate about your mission and success. So use this time to tell the story of your organization, your mission, and those you help.

Renata Poe Massie, Content Creator for Jitasa

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