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4 ways to show nonprofit donors your genuine gratitude

April 17, 2021
Two nonprofit professionals stand behind a glass screen and discuss ways to show donors genuine gratitude.

Gratitude strengthens relationships and it’s one of the most important feelings to convey in your donor communications. Demonstrating your appreciation shows that you value your donors and count them as an essential part of your team. By sending tailored thank-you messages, you can create goodwill and make donors more engaged with your nonprofit organization. Let’s look at four ways to show donors gratitude.

1. Get personal

There’s no better way to show you value your donors as individuals than tailoring your messages so that they’re relevant to donor interests. Here are a few ways you can do that:

  • Send a handwritten note from a board member or from someone in the community you serve.
  • Use conversational language so donors can relate more easily.
  • If the donor made a gift for a specific project, update them on the project’s progress.

You can implement other best practices to customize communications to monthly supporters and major donors, such as donor segmentation. As these donors are integral partners of your team, consider their interests carefully and make sure your communications appeal to the aspects of your nonprofit that they are passionate about.

2. Share individual stories

Share stories that feature beneficiaries and position donors as the hero. When donors can see precisely how their money was used to help someone, they’ll be more motivated to continue giving and engaging. Use the following storytelling formats to show donors gratitude:

  • Short videos
  • Feature stories in newsletters and on your website
  • Community member testimonials

Giving your donors a glimpse into the impact their gifts have had will show them that you appreciate them. This will have a positive impact on the donor, which will encourage them to donate again in the future.

3. Get creative

Expressing gratitude in a creative way shows donors that you are putting effort into strengthening your relationship. The possibilities for creative communications are endless, but here are a few suggestions:

  • Feature donor profiles in newsletters. This allows you to give recognition to your donors and is a great practice for showing major donors your gratitude.
  • Personalize your emails. Make sure to address emails to the donor’s first and last name. You can easily set this up with robust donor management software.
  • Create videos that showcase the work donors are helping to accomplish. These videos can be shot on a smartphone—donors will value them even if they aren’t professionally produced.
  • Invite donors to events. Whether the event is a staff meet-and-greet or a thank-you gala, donors will appreciate the invitation. You can even make these events virtual or hybrid by utilizing Google Hangouts or Zoom.

Including a quick video in your email blasts or sending an event invitation helps to both show donors gratitude and keep them engaged in your content.

4. Be donor-centric

Your donors are crucial to working towards your nonprofit’s purpose. Ensure that they understand just how much you value them by putting them front and center. You can do this by listing the accomplishments they’ve achieved and centering them as the heroes who make your work possible.

As you create your donor thank-you events and communications, focus on the difference you are making together. Let them know that you view them as true partners in the work by including the donor in “we” and “our” statements.

Gratitude increases engagement

Incorporating these four tips into your communications will help donors understand the depth of your appreciation and will make them feel like a true part of your team. Ensure that you show donors gratitude, as it makes them feel good and motivates them to take action, resulting in donors whose engagement grows over time.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to create personalized donor messages that increase engagement. Learn more by taking a look at Bonterra’s resource on multi-channel donor communication.

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    Donor Engagement
  • Nonprofits
  • Digital communications & marketing