Without donors, our missions wouldn’t be possible. They breathe life into ideas that we once held to be a distant dream. And they deserve all the thanks in the world. After all, donors are the livelihood of our organizations, and they give willingly and selflessly to see our organizations succeed.

Despite all the thanks they deserve, life is a balancing act. Sometimes, those acts of ‘thanks’ get pushed to the backburner. Why? More donations means more room for you to get started toward achieving your mission, sometimes ahead of everything else. Fundraising dollars means that you can continue to grow, plan successful events, deliver valuable community programming and put money toward your bottom line: achieving your ultimate mission. With an impact like that, donors deserve our utmost gratitude.

Check out seven creative ways to thank your donors for all they give to your organization, both big and small.

1. Make a hand-written card.

It’s time for arts and crafts, so get out your glue sticks, glitter and construction paper! Well, maybe we’re talking a little more professionally made. Hand-written, genuine cards are a great way to show that you took the time to create something to show your appreciation. Make sure the message is personal and comes from the heart.

When it comes to the look and feel of your card, make sure to stick with your nonprofit’s specific brand guidelines to maintain a consistent identity. If you don’t have guidelines or a brand identity, have no fear! We can help.

You’ll want to make sure your executive director signs the card, as well as anybody who has a strong relationship with the donor. Simply put, this effort says “You are worth my time.” If you have the resources to consistently send hand-written thank yous for all donations, this will help create lasting relationships.

2. Build a welcome package for first-time donors.

First impressions are everything, which is why it’s important that you establish your feelings of gratitude from the get-go. Welcome packages share basic information about your organization with up-to-date data and pictures. This welcome package will help solidify your new donor’s feelings that they made the right choice to give to your organization. Use charts or statistics to truly drive home the impact your organization is making, coupled with pictures and stories that add emotion and personalization to the materials. A welcome package is one of the most creative ways to thank your donors.

3. Create a video.

It’s a digital world and we’re just living in it. These days, you don’t need an expensive camera to shoot a great-quality video. Plus, video is a great medium to capture emotion and feeling. Set up a smartphone and it’s lights, camera and action! Have members of your staff say thank you on screen or tell their “why” for working for your organization. The possibilities to extend a heartfelt thanks via video are endless. Send it in an email message with a personalized subject line.

4. Invite donors for a tour.

Even if the donors have been to your organization, this could be a great opportunity to give them a refresher and talk about new projects or initiatives. Make a fun day out of it by offering refreshments and giving your donors an opportunity to speak with others from the organization, hearing new stories and perspectives. Giving your constituents an open forum to ask questions will also help deepen your relationships by building a foundation of trust.

5. Plan an event to thank staff, donors and volunteers.

From glamorous galas to potlucks in the park, there are so many ways an event can express your thanks to donors. One large annual event could become your event of the year to say your thanks. Or, a small gathering where you can more intimately thank each person in attendance can also be a great way to show your appreciation. Whatever you decide, make a toast where you have a chance to sing the praises of the people who make your mission possible.

6. Publically thank them.

With your donors’ blessings, public recognition can be a great tool to express your thanks. Some donors may enjoy the recognition for their contributions and seeing their name shouted out from your social media handles or on a program at your next event. The key is to get permission for your organization to share the donors’ names, because some will love this tactic, but others may want to remain anonymous. Know your audience!

7. Pick up the phone.

In a world where texting reigns supreme, a phone call carries more weight than you can imagine. From the beginning, ask your donors for their communication style and preferences. That way, you’ll know who might appreciate a phone call versus other channels of communication. If your donor doesn’t answer, leave a message of heartfelt thanks and ask if there’s a time you could call back to chat.

Creative ways to thank your donors.

The best part about deciding how you want to thank your donors is that you don’t have to do it alone. Together, let’s build an amazing thank you package. Your organization is on its way to building lifelong relationships by showing your true and genuine gratitude. All you have to do is express your feelings of thanks!


Build your thank-you package