Ways to say ‘thank you’ to your donors
Thank you. Two words that make a world of difference. It sounds pretty obvious. But you would be surprised just how many organizations don’t say thank you often enough, or worse, don’t say it at all. More than just good manners, it’s an important part of the relationship-building process. No donor should only ever hear from you when you want money. A well-timed and appropriate thank you is the perfect way to touch base with your donors without the pressure of an ask. It shows you value them as people, that you recognize their support, and the generosity behind it.
Struggling to find the right way to say it? Don’t worry. Here are ways to help make sure your thank you message goes the distance.
A good old fashioned thank you letter
An automated response to an online donation is not a thank you, and it never will be. It’s too impersonal. Too slick. A good thank you letter should be just that, a letter. Of course, the content will vary depending on where your donor is on their journey with you, but as a standard, it’s always good to:
-Address people directly (please make sure their name is spelled correctly).
-Recognize the gift amount and any associated fundraising effort, event, or campaign.
-Share a short story or quote that reinforces the impact of their gift.
-Add thoughtful, personal details that talk to your donor directly.
-Let them know when you’ll be contacting them again.
-Add a postscript (P.S) – everyone always reads the postscript!
And remember, a good thank you is a sincere one. You are writing to a person, from a person. Don’t be too formal. Be you.
Picking up the phone
In today’s digital world, people forget just how easy it is to pick up the phone. No video call, no set meeting, no big agenda – just a phone call. This type of personal contact can be a great way to cut through the noise, get to know your donors, and build those all-important relationships. Try and avoid using a call center if you can. A scripted call is hardly sincere. If you’re stuck for time and resources, why not organize a team ‘thank you marathon’ and make a day of it? Or use your fundraising CRM to group donors into smaller, manageable segments (think donation levels, giving milestones, and anniversaries). Make sure you’ve planned what you want to say, but be prepared to improvise. In today’s COVID times, you will be surprised by how many people will welcome the chance to chat.
Small tokens and thoughtful gifts
Sometimes the smallest gestures travel the longest way. If you know your donors or volunteers, putting a sticky note with a smiley face on their next newsletter update, or adding a small, handwritten note or card can be a great way to show your gratitude.
Want to do something extra special? Lots of nonprofits create photo books, merchandise, and bespoke gifts to recognize donor support.
Events and engagements
Has your donor or volunteer hit an important milestone or anniversary? Now’s the time to go the extra mile. To show your thanks, if allowed and they are comfortable with it, why not invite them to the office to meet the team, on a behind-the-scenes tour or project visit? Fundraising is all about engagement and saying thank you is the perfect excuse to get to know your donors on a more personal level, and for them to find out more about you!
Newsletter and online features
Features and articles are a great way to showcase people’s stories and shine a light on their success. If you’re running a feature on an individual rather than a generic campaign, take the time to talk to them if you can. Find their story. Why did they get involved? How did they raise the funds? What challenges did they face? Are they looking to do more with you in the future? Take the time to get their story right, and make sure you have consent and sign-off on the version you publish. Not only is it good practice, but your donors and supporters will also love the chance to share their ‘why’ with you.
Who doesn’t love a social media shout-out? If you’ve got fundraisers fundraising on your behalf, follow them, share their fundraising page and celebrate their success (be sure to tag for added impact!). Not only is it a great motivator, but it will also make your supporters feel recognized and appreciated. Who knows? You might inspire someone else to join in too.
Social media is also a great way to deliver a ‘blanket’ thank you in response to campaign or event success. Photo messages, short videos, or even a simple shout-out. Keep it real, keep it authentic and you’ll keep your donors and supporters happy.
Plaques and recognition walls
Lots of nonprofits choose to recognize their high-value and legacy supporters with a donor wall. Plaques might be the traditional option, but more and more organizations are getting creative. We’ve seen everything from virtual donor walls to branded spaces and even installations! Whatever you choose, a well-placed and respectful recognition wall is a beautiful way for people to leave a lasting legacy.
All around us there are campaign communications that push the boundaries to get their message out there. Why not apply the same technique to your fundraising? To be reserved for special occasions only, a billboard here, some outdoor advertising there, and not only can you say a very public thank you, but you can also use this chance to report back on the impact of public support.
There you have it. From snail mail to mass communications, there is more to saying ‘thank you’ than first meets the eye. But remember, it isn’t a competition. You don’t need to blow the budget to show your appreciation. Whether it’s on a sticky note or billboard on a major highway, the key to a good thank you is to say it, and say it sincerely.
thankQ CRM can help you get the most out of your fundraising efforts. Contact us to see how. Set up your personalized demo today.