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How to write a Thanksgiving message from your nonprofit

November 08, 2021
A smiling farmer stands with crossed arms against blurred van prepared for delivery of products.

November is a key month for fundraising, but it’s still important to fit gratitude into your year-end communications strategy. It can be easy for nonprofit organizations to prioritize donation appeals over thank-you messages, especially at the end of the year. Fortunately, Thanksgiving reminds everyone to take a moment to appreciate the people who lift them up, give them hope, and inspire them. For nonprofits, this means thanking your supporters.

Writing a Thanksgiving message from your nonprofit to your supporters is an opportunity not only to show your gratitude but also to recognize and steward donors. Your donors will appreciate it if you reach out to them around the holidays just to say thanks.

How do you write an effective Thanksgiving message for your nonprofit? Start by following these simple steps.

Reflect on what you’re grateful for

The first step in writing a genuine Thanksgiving message is to reflect. When you take time to pause and think about it, you’ll likely find yourself overwhelmed by all the things you and others at your nonprofit are grateful for. Get together with your team to create a list of everything you’re grateful for, including things like:

  • Being surrounded by a team of dedicated individuals working to make the world a better place. 
  • Your loyal volunteers and advocates who give their time.
  • The purpose that drives your nonprofit.
  • Being able to improve the communities you serve. 
  • That donors trust you to use their resources to fund your work.
  • Your diverse community of supporters.

Many leaders in the nonprofit sector are fortunate enough to love their work, so taking this step should be easy. Once you’ve made your list, you can refer back to it to ensure your message comes from a place of true gratitude. 

Choose a format for your Thanksgiving message

Now that you’re ready to express your thanks, it’s time to determine how you’ll do so. You can choose from a variety of formats for your Thanksgiving message, such as:

  • Email: Email is a common thank-you format and is likely the format donors will expect your Thanksgiving message to come in. Appreciation emails allow you to easily personalize your thanks using a template. Use a compelling subject line to ensure they don’t get lost in supporters’ inboxes.
  • Direct mail: Letters are another traditional avenue for thank-you messages, and they’re also easy to personalize for each donor, especially if you have the time to handwrite your message. Compare your organization’s engagement metrics for email and direct mail to determine which would be a better option for you.
  • Video: Thank-you videos offer plenty of room for creativity and can feel more personal than written formats. Plus, you can post your Thanksgiving video on all of your organization’s social media accounts along with sending it out to individual donors via email.
  • eCards: If you want to create a visual Thanksgiving message but don’t have the time or resources to create a video, consider creating simple eCards to send out. You can send eCards through email or text, and you can even let supporters send their own thanks to loved ones using your nonprofit’s designs. 

Evaluate the benefits of each of these formats and consult any data or feedback you have about your supporters’ communication preferences to make your decision. 

Express your genuine gratitude

Now is the time to look back at your gratitude list and put all of your appreciation for your supporters into words. As you draft your message, remember to keep the focus on your donors and highlight all the ways they impact your nonprofit’s work. Make sure they know what a vital part of your organization they are. 

Whenever possible, tailor your emails and letters to different donor segments. Classify donors by giving level, engagement history, and communication preferences. Then, mention their specific donation amounts, volunteer service, and events they’ve attended. These details will make your Thanksgiving message more genuine and memorable for donors. 

Our Thanksgiving message to you

On this day of giving thanks, and all the days in between, we at Bonterra are extremely grateful for our community of nonprofits. We hope these tips help you craft the best Thanksgiving message for your own supporters. From all of us at Bonterra to all of you, Happy Thanksgiving!

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