Thanks for Saying Thanks

Lisa Tarshis
December 15, 2020

Last week, one of my friends texted me after work to tell me she had a tough day. Things at her job were on the rocks and she had other challenges come up in her personal life that just made it all feel like too much to handle. Two hours later, I was at her door with a pint of ice cream.

The relief on her face was confirmation enough that I had absolutely done the right thing in going out of my way to be there for her. Later that night, she sent me a thank you text that nearly brought me to tears. I felt so appreciated.

The reality is that we all want to feel appreciated – especially your donors.

Like my ice cream drop off, the thank you is not the reason your donors give to your organization. They do it because they care about your mission and believe in the work that you do, but feeling appreciated is a factor that keeps them coming back year after year.

In addition to your typical acknowledgement letter (which is super important!), here are a few ways to think about how to thank your donors.

  1. Send thank-you centric communications. In today’s day and age, an acknowledgement letter is expected. But that’s just a starting place. Personalized notes, phone calls, video messages and more can take a thank-you from regular to something special.
  2. Have the thank you come from someone they’re not expecting. Think about who in your organization a donor may like to hear from. Can a thank you come from an Executive Director, program staff, board member, or peer? This personalized approach can feel more thoughtful and therefore more meaningful.
  3. A little gift goes a long way. Do you have extra swag sitting around your office or a budget to create something special for your key donors? A small care package with a handwritten note is a way to both thank you donor and to keep your organization front of mind.
  4. Everyone likes a little VIP treatment. Can your Executive Director host a zoom gathering with a group of donors to share inside information? Can you invite donors to a behind the scenes tour of one of your programs? Can you hold a briefing for donors where they hear from a program participant, medical professional, teacher, or other key stakeholder? Including your donors in something that feels exclusive is another way to make them feel special.

In today’s freebie, I’m sharing 10 creative ways to thank your donors. Click here to see my ideas.