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3 creative ways nonprofits can show supporter appreciation

October 10, 2022
This nonprofit leader is showing his appreciation for supporters at an event.

Donors, volunteers, and supporters are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations. Whether they are donating their time, their voices, or their dollars, it’s essential to make sure your supporters know how much you value them—and fully grasp the impact of their generosity.

Showing this kind of supporter appreciation often means communicating the impact a supporter’s contribution has had. But when every nonprofit is trying to get supporters’ attention, how can you make your efforts stand out? Let’s look at three creative tactics nonprofits can use to demonstrate a supporter’s impact.

Highlight donor achievements

Supporters likely contribute to your organization because they believe in its purpose and want to power its work. Therefore, the most meaningful way nonprofits can thank supporters is by showing them what their contributions accomplished. Depending on your nonprofit’s work, you might highlight:

  • A beneficiary whose life was changed by supporters’ contributions, such as an unemployed person finding a job.
  • Legislation that recently passed as a result of supporters sending letters to Congress.
  • A community that is back on its feet after supporters contributed critical resources following a crisis.

Highlight supporters’ achievements in a thank-you email that shares all the important information about the accomplishments of their contributions. Include infographics and other visuals to illustrate their significant impact. Above all, emphasize that this win was made possible thanks to their support.

Share impact stories

Personal stories can be highly compelling and serve as engaging reminders of what your nonprofit can do, thanks to your supporters. You can share powerful stories from:

  • Beneficiaries. Ask how your nonprofit’s programs have positively affected their life. They may even share a direct interaction with a volunteer, which you can pass along to the supporter.
  • Volunteers. If any donations allowed your volunteers to complete a job, let them share that! Donors will feel especially appreciated when they know the practical ways their money is being used, such as for equipment to complete a project.
  • Board members or leaders. The people who lead your organization are among the most passionate about its purpose. Share stories of their involvement, motivations, and ambitions for the future of your nonprofit. Then, ask them what it means to have donor support and how these contributors have grown the nonprofit over time.
  • Donors. Share stories of donors to help prospective donors connect with their reasons for supporting your nonprofit. They might explain how they learned about your nonprofit, what motivates them to continue contributing, and what impact your organization has had on their lives.

Storytelling not only thanks and highlights your most dedicated supporters, but it’s a great way to motivate others to rally behind your cause, as well. Decide how you’ll tell your story. Photos and videos can be especially effective because they allow readers to visualize the impact. No matter how you tell it, be sure to follow best practices by protecting people’s anonymity and getting their consent to share.

Celebrate the holiday season with them

Highlighting the work within your organization is important, but one of the most impactful ways to show appreciation is by humanizing your supporters. Your donors are real people with lives outside of their involvement with your organization. Instead of following up only after they make a gift, show that you’re thinking of them throughout the year by reaching out around the holidays.

Get creative with your holiday outreach by sending the following messages to your supporters: 

  • Flowers (virtual or physical). Flowers are a classic Valentine’s gift, and would be especially meaningful coming from your nonprofit! Make this theme feel cohesive with a beautiful photo of roses or other imagery like it.
  • Greeting cards. You can also send cards digitally or physically in the mail. Send greeting cards that are themed to the holiday and write a personal message about how thankful you are for each supporter. Opening with the supporter’s name will make the card feel even more personal.
  • Holiday party invitations. Gather your supporters together to celebrate the holiday with snacks, drinks, and music! By leaving donation appeals or fundraising opportunities out of the event, you’ll show supporters that you really do care about getting to know them.

Most importantly, take each holiday as an opportunity to say “thank you” for your supporters’ commitment. Send a heartfelt and authentic reminder that you couldn’t do your work without them.

The necessity of supporter appreciation

Thanking your supporters is a crucial part of donor retention. Standardize it within your nonprofit and leverage the right tools, such as automation, to streamline the process. 

From nurturing new email sign-ups to celebrating important milestones, leveraging automation techniques—and personalizing your content for different segments of your audience—is a smart and easy way to highlight the impact of your supporters’ generosity.

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    Supporter Engagement
  • Nonprofits
  • Digital communications & marketing