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How to thank monthly donors: 4 tips for nonprofits

February 15, 2021
A donor receives a digital thank-you from her favorite nonprofit. It's important to thank monthly donors so that they stay satisfied with your organization.

Although monthly donors have committed to supporting your nonprofit organization, you still need to cultivate and build relationships with them. While thanking monthly donors isn’t much different than thanking donors in general, there is one big difference: you have a lot more riding on monthly donors, as their lifetime value is likely to be much greater than your average one-time donor.

In this guide, we’ll explore how thanking monthly donors not only shows gratitude but also to lays the groundwork for long-term relationships. Let’s get started!

Why is it important to thank monthly donors? 

It's important to thank monthly donors because they are one of the most critical sources of funding for your nonprofit. By contributing recurring donations, monthly donors help you implement and maintain programs, initiatives, and campaigns. 

Expressing appreciation for the commitment that these donors show to your organization allows you to build stronger relationships with them. This, in turn, encourages their continued engagement and support, not only through monthly donations but also through other forms of giving and participation. Ultimately, by thanking monthly donors, you demonstrate that their contributions are valued and recognized, which fosters a sense of loyalty to your purpose.

4 tips for successfully thanking monthly donors

Whether you’re delivering a thank-you message through text message, direct mail, or email, be sure to: 

1. Be prompt.

In addition to an immediate confirmation that their gift was processed successfully, you should thank your sustainers within a few days of setting up their recurring donation. Create a policy to ensure this happens quickly and make it a priority. Your goal is to keep that warm, fuzzy feeling going as soon as the gift is initiated. 

You may wish to send an email, a written note, or follow up with a phone call. It wouldn’t hurt to do all three over the course of the first few months after someone joins your monthly giving program.

2. Be personal.

Rather than using an impersonal opener like “dear friend” or “dear supporter,” address the donor by name to show them they’re receiving a personalized note as opposed to a templated acknowledgment.  In addition to addressing the donor by name, sign your thank-you message from a real person at your organization, such as a board member, dedicated volunteer, or founder. 

3. Be genuine.

In order to effectively thank monthly donors, it's important to go beyond just expressing gratitude and actually show the tangible impact that their contributions are making. By telling a short, emotion-filled story from your own heart or sharing a testimonial from a beneficiary, you can connect the donor to the real-life impact of their gift. This helps to reinforce the decision to give and creates a deeper sense of meaning and purpose around the donation. 

For instance, you might mention that “thanks to your generosity, children like Jacob now have access to educational resources and a better chance of success, both in and out of school.”

Tugging at the heartstrings and bringing your purpose to life will help you build a strong foundation of ongoing support.

4. Be specific.

Reference specific information about a monthly donor's involvement with your organization by highlighting the direct impact of their ongoing contributions and keeping them informed about your work. For instance, you might say, “Dear Sandra, due in part to your monthly $20 gift, we were able to send 1,000 books to children in underserved communities.” Sending regular updates like this helps donors stay engaged and feel like they are a key part of your organization's community. 

A template to thank monthly donors

Use this short thank-you message as a reference for how to thank monthly donors going forward:

Dear [Donor Name],

I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for your ongoing support to [your nonprofit’s name]. Your monthly donations of [X amount] make an incredible impact on our ability to carry out our purpose, and we couldn't do it without you.

Thanks to your generosity, we have been able to [provide specific examples of your nonprofit's accomplishments or initiatives]. The impact of your contributions is truly transformative, and we are incredibly grateful for your commitment to our cause.

Thank you again for your continued support. It means the world to us and those we serve.

Best regards,
[Your Name / Nonprofit Team]

A final note on thanking monthly donors

With these tips and template in mind, your nonprofit can create a strong culture of gratitude and maintain strong relationships with your monthly donors, who are a critical source of support for your organization. For more information on thanking monthly donors, read our guide to recurring giving communications and nonprofit thank-yous

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    Donor Engagement
  • Nonprofits
  • Digital communications & marketing