Nonprofit Corner

Ideas from an award-winning copywriter who’s worked with nonprofit organizations for years

5 Easy, Affordable Ways to Thank
Your Donors

By Bob Cargill

Raising funds isn’t easy. Ask any nonprofit organization. After all, there’s really not much you can offer donors in return for their financial support except the satisfaction of knowing they’re doing a good deed.

Or is there?

Of course, you should always offer your appreciation to anyone who makes a donation to your nonprofit. The importance of thanking your donors, each and every one of them, should not be overlooked. At the very least, they should expect to receive a nice thank you note from your organization as an expression of gratitude.

But there are so many other gestures of gratitude you can make that will go even further toward making a positive impression on those who have demonstrated their support for your cause.

1. Send them a gift of appreciation.
The good news is that people are generous because they care about those less fortunate than them and they want to make the world a better place, not because they want something in return for their money. But that doesn’t mean you can’t thank them with a small, inexpensive gift. Bookmarks, bumper stickers, calendars and notepads are just a few good options for you to consider.
2. Use social media to thank your donors.
People like to be recognized for their good deeds. You can show your appreciation by featuring their names in an “honor roll” in a newsletter, on your website or on a wall in your lobby. But another great way to recognize them is by thanking them for their support via social media. For instance, when I ran the Boston Marathon for charity in 2013, whenever one of my Facebook friends made a donation, I thanked them publicly in my timeline there.
3. Have those who have been helped most give thanks.
More often than not, when a nonprofit thanks its donors, the words of gratitude come from a senior executive at the organization. What would be far more personal and compelling is if those words were to come from those who were actually helped by the gifts. If you’re a hospital, ask a patient who has had a particular good experience there to write a thank you note to donors. If you’re a food bank, a family who might have otherwise gone hungry might reach out to your donors. And if you’re a university, your students could express their appreciation.
4. Record a video.
Another way to give the nod to your donors is to record a video. It could feature people who work for your organization or those who have been helped by it. Even you could be the star attraction. The point is to how some personality and passion in the message, and to demonstrate to your audience that you care enough to thank them in such a refreshingly unique way.
5. Pick up the phone.
People receive calls from nonprofits to ask them to give, but not enough of those organizations call their donors to express their appreciation. It may take a little more time and effort, but if you call your donors to thank them, they’ll not only be pleasantly surprised to hear from you, they may even want to make another donation to your cause right then and there.

About the Author: Bob Cargill is a professional Copywriter, Creative Director and Social Media Consultant who runs Cargill Creative and a popular blog. He’s won more than 40 copywriting and direct marketing awards, and was named "Direct Marketer of the Year" for 2009 by the New England Direct Marketing Association.