The Importance of Acknowledging and Showing and Gratitude Toward Donors

by J.B. Maverick

2 min read

Your nonprofit succeeds or fails based on your ability to continuously attract new donors and keep the support of your current donors. Just like keeping customers happy is essential for a for-profit business, acknowledging and showing gratitude to donors for their contributions is a critical part of successfully doing business as a nonprofit organization.

Why Giving Thanks Matters

Thanking donors for their gifts is important for a variety of reasons: it’s appropriate, it’s thoughtful, and it’s a reflection of your organization’s values. For tax purposes, you’re required to give donors a receipt for any donations they make to your organization, but don’t look at receipts as an adequate “thank you.” Offering donors a personalized “thank you” card, gift basket, or even a letter, enables you to more properly express sincere gratitude for their generosity. Make sure to let your donors know what kind of impact their donations have in terms of the work your organization is doing, and how their gifts substantially contributed to helping your nonprofit meet one or more of its goals. This makes your organization’s work more “real” and meaningful to them, and enables them to feel their giving is truly making a difference in the world, all of which gets them more inclined to continue their support.

Perks of Being Polite

Properly thanking donors offers tangible benefits for your organization. Donors remember organizations that appreciate them and treat them well, and are more likely to support those organizations. Showing donors effusive gratitude for their $100 gift may incline them to make a $500 gift next time. They may also be more motivated to recommend your nonprofit or even directly introduce you to colleagues, friends, and other networks of potential donors. This can be critically important in enabling your nonprofit to further its outreach, expand its mission, and develop new programs.

Creative Expressions of Gratitude

Try to be creative when thanking your donors. You can make your thanks public by offering thank you messages on your website under a “Stewardship” tab. Highlight major donors by mentioning them by name and detailing exactly how their donations are being used. Another creative thank you idea is to make a video. With the popularity of social media and viral video sites such as YouTube, making a video is a great way to create a personalized “thank you” for your donors. Expressing thanks in this way also offers positive news to publicize about your nonprofit, and creates a public relations opportunity to reach potential new donors. Throwing a party to say thank you to all your donors is another option for communicating how much you appreciate their support and to show them the kind of impact their donations are having through your organization’s work. These parties can also double as a fundraising opportunity, offering you the ability to connect with and engage future donors in a setting designed to foster a desire to be involved with your nonprofit. Making personal telephone calls from the director or a board member of your nonprofit is another way to have your organization stand out in the gratitude department while further engaging donors. Showing proper gratitude to your donors is an essential part of building good relationships with them, the relationships that ensure their continued support of your nonprofit. The better you are at saying “thank you,” the more reasons you’ll have to be grateful.

References & Resources

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