Go Beyond “Thank You” and Show Gratitude

Jun. 12, 2017 | Nikki Wiederaenders

The number one reason donors stop giving to an organization is because of the way they were (or weren’t) treated. Do you send thank you / acknowledgement letters that include various iterations of “thank you” multiple times? And do you send those letters within 72 hours? If so, good for you! But sometimes this just isn’t enough.

When someone chooses to give to your organization for the first time they have already shown an affinity toward your mission and are looking to engage on a deeper level. You are now taking this donor on a journey. No matter the size of the gift, donors want to know their contribution matters. The next time they hear from you shouldn’t be when you’re asking for another gift.

I know you’re busy. But remember, it takes far fewer resources to keep a donor than it does to obtain a new one. So, what can you do? Show gratitude.

Here are a few basic tips for making your donors feels special without breaking the bank or overloading staff.

1.      Stop talking about you and start talking about them. Craft correspondence that singles out your donor’s impact.

·        “Because of you 200 children won’t go to bed hungry.”

·        “An entire village now has fresh water thanks to you.”

·        “Your gift made it possible for young adults like Jane to focus on going to school rather than how to pay for it.”

2.      Report back. You’ve sent the acknowledgement letter and used the word “you” ten times! Good job! Now what? Send a follow up communication letting your donors know how their gift was used or its impact. Use visuals. Show happy faces. Recognize those who gave. People love to see their name in print.

3.      Invite donors to a “look-see.” Give them a behind the scenes tour of a project, program, or facility. This costs you nothing but time. Is your program half way around the world? How about a video tour? There are many affordable options out there like ThankView that let you bring your donors in and see their impact.

4.      Pick up the phone. Yes, we’ve already established that you are busy. Use your volunteers, board members, and program staff to help. Many nonprofits have established minimum giving levels that then trigger phone calls. Studies have shown that donors who receive phone call thank yous are not only more likely to donate again, they will on average donate 30% more the next time they give. Just think what might happen if you randomly selected an additional 10 people to call and thank.

Thanking donors and showing gratitude shouldn’t feel like a chore. Remember, they’ve already made a commitment to your organization and are interested in helping you succeed. This is your chance to create a more meaningful connection between your mission, your donor, and you!


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