Fundraising,  Nonprofits

The Art of the Thank You

wib-blog-theartthankyouTwo little words can create a bond between your non-profit organization and your donors. Those two words are THANK and YOU. We shared our “Interview with an Etiquette Coach” on why these words were so important on a previous post, so you know the value in expressing your gratitude to your donors.

Now that you KNOW these words are important, how do you express them? Thanking donors really is an art form. Take careful consideration as to not embarrass a donor while publicly recognizing them. Your efforts should not be costly. After all, you don’t want to spend the contributions received.

There are plenty of creative and cost effective ways to let your donors know you appreciate them. We’re sharing 8 of them with you today.

Immediate Email

A quick, simply written email sent within 48 hours of receiving a donation expressing your appreciation is by far the easiest method of saying “Thank you.” This is also a great opportunity to provide them with their tax receipt.

Handwritten Note

Yep, we’re suggesting you go old school. A handwritten note of thanks is meaningful and will undeniably make your donor feel valued. We’re not advocating that EVERY donor be sent one. Perhaps send to major donors, on a donor’s anniversary or after multiple donations are received.

The note should be signed by a notable member of your organization. Consider having each board member write one or two at the start of every meeting.

Social Media Shout-Out

If your organization is like most nonprofits, you are active on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and sometimes struggle for fresh content. Why not take the opportunity to thank you donors socially? Not only does it thank the donors, but it shows your following that you appreciate those that support your cause. You never know, this could inspire new donors!

Public Display

Sharing the names of donors publicly is a creative way to express your gratitude to your donors and emphasizes good stewardship. A donor wall will keep the names of your contributors on display continually and mark their association to a cause they believe in.  While there is some cost involved in doing this, the benefits outweigh it. Having a wall in a public location can inspire visitors to make donations of their own.

Be sure to get the approval of your donor before ordering their plaque. Some donors are happy to open their checkbooks but may prefer to do so anonymously.

Annual Report

You’re putting it together anyway, so why not compile  a list of donors and share it as part of your Annual Report?  Your annual report is sent to large number of people, including your donors, meaning that it will be viewed by many eyes including your donors. A public acknowledgement of appreciation like this is a great way to say thank you at relatively no cost.

Exclusive Event

Show your appreciation by inviting local donors to an exclusive event. We mentioned earlier the importance of not overspending on appreciation efforts, so keep it simple. Hosting a happy hour or a family picnic are simple, inexpensive ways to show your appreciation.  During the event take advantage of your captive audience and have a board member convey their appreciation to the group for their continued support.


Gather your board members, staff and volunteers and start dialing. Delight donors with a personal thank you. This is a cost free way to express your gratitude as your only investment is time.

This activity has an added benefit — it engages your team and every marketer knows that a happy team member is your best source of advertisement.


Capture the impact donations have made on your cause on film. Share that picture with your donors so that they can see first hand what their donation is being used for. Donors have plenty of organizations to choose from when they open their wallet. They chose you because their values aligned with your cause. Showing them exactly how you are using the funds will keep them engaged and potentially turn a one-time donor into a repeat one.

A Thank You goes a long way to building a lasting relationship with your donor. It not only conveys your appreciation, but keeps them engaged and your organization on their radar. Get creative and have fun with it.

Have suggestions for creative ways to say “Thank You” to donors? Share them with us and our readers!



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